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  5. "お母さんはどこですか?"


Translation:Where is your mother?

June 9, 2017



Where is your mother, Potter? Is she dead?


came here for this, worth a lingot


Why is 母 pronounced haha ( はは ) when by itself, but not here?


It's pronounced はは if you're talking about your own mother, but not addressing her. So if you were saying "Where is my mother?", "母はどこですか" would be acceptable, but, as far as I understand, you can never use はは for someone else's mother.

That said I only had Japanese at college for 3 semesters, so if someone actual has some real life experience, it would be appreciated if they chime in.


I thought that because kanji have multiple readings it's はは by itself but in this word it's pronounced かさん


Its actually more like かあ (note the extra vowel) with the appropriate honorifics attached


Thanks for the tip


If お母さんはどこですか means "where is YOUR mother?" how do I say "where is MY mother?"

Thanks in advanced.





The mother that's being talked about is implied. If you wanted to be explicit you could have said "私のおかさん”.


Don't use おかあさん for your own mother when talking to others though! It's an "in-group/out-group" distinction: Just as you must not use honorifics to describe yourself, when speaking to someone outside of a certain "group" you belong to (like your family) about someone else from within that group, the "in-group" person is treated like an extension of yourself and therefore you must speak humbly about them also. Therefore in this situation おかあさん (honorific) becomes "your mother", while はは (humble) is "my mother". When speaking to your mother directly however, the in-group/out-group distinction changes; you now need to humble yourself, but treat her with respect and say おかあさん. I hope this makes sense!


Thank you - very clear!


What if I wanted to ask my father or my brother where my mother is? Would I use おかあさん since my father and brother are part of the in-group, my family?


When speaking to immediate family members (mom, dad, siblings), do Japanese refer to other family members as "my", "your" or "our"? With honorifics or without?


As I understand, you would call anyone older honorifically (お兄さん、お母さん、おばあさん) while elders would use plain address, usually with names (e.g. 太郎、ご飯が出来上がったよ、食べに来てね。or, in a more bossy way like, 愛子、ゲームする前、宿題しなさい。)


It can also mean "where is my mother", it all depends on the context. There's no reference in this case, so it can mean both.


Isn't this similar to the example with parents? When talking about my parents, I (mostly) do not include honorific prefix ご, I use it when talking about other's people's parents. There was such an excercise here in Duo, where Duo did not accept 「ごりょうしん」, it wanted 「りょうしん」。

Also, in this example, I see the honorific お, so it means "your mom", but not my mom.

Is this right way of thinking, or it cannot be generalized like this?


How is どこですか different from どこにいますか?? The question before this was asking about my father and it used どこにいますか to ask where is your father? And to ask where is your mother it was どこですか. What makes them different?


Why can I sometimes use ですか when asking for someone's location, but other times I have to use にいますか?

I know what both mean but are they completely interchangeable when asking for a person's location or is there some rule about when to use either of these?


Why can I sometimes use ですか when asking for someone's location, but other times I have to use にいますか?

1. どこですか?

「どこですか?」should only be used for asking direction to a location like "where is the restroom?"

Where is the restroom?

Where is the hotel?

Where is the entrance?

2. どこにいますか?and どこにありますか?

「どこにいますか?」is used to ask where a person or animal is. On the other hand,「どこにありますか?」should be used to ask where a non-animate thing is located.

Where are you?

Where is the umbrella?


Can also be translated "Where is mom ?" for example if you're asking someone of your family at home :)


What would change the answer from being the above to being あなたのお母さんはどこにいますか?

Each time I get the question "Where is your mother?" I have to check which pieces I have to know how to answer since there's no other context given


What's the difference between どこですか and どこにいますか?


It accepted "where is mother?" for me!


"Where is mom" for me


"Where is mother." is also accepted! And as for "whose" mother would she be, that depends on the context, right?


In Japanese if there is no context it means the speaker is referring to themself or something related to themself


How it's pronounced here ?!


おかあさんはどこですか= okaasan wa doku des(u is silent) ka. Hope this helps!




Wa, not ha (は is a topic marker particle)


o-kaa-san (long a)




While this is the correct answer for this question, on another type of question with the same answer, I put the same response but it told me "あなたの母はどこですか" was the correct answer. What is the difference between "あなたの母はどこですか?" and "お母さんはどこですか?"


not using honorifics when referring to another person's mother (in front of them) is considered rude most of the time.

So because you want to be humble to show that you are respectful to the listener, what usually happens is that you don't use honorifics for your own family.

「お母さんはどこですか?」will probably be understood "where is your mother?" most of the time because of that...

and「母はどこですか?」will almost always be understood as "where is (my) mother?".

Obviously, this also depends on context, and the relationship between you, the listener and the listener's mom.

The other sentence was probably「あなたのお母さんはどこですか」because of what I just mentioned.


Where is your mother, little boy? That's some very nice bread you have there. It would be a shame if something were to happen to it or the chubby little fingers holding it so tantalizingly low.


Is the "o" part of okaasan the honorific?


Yes! お and さん make it the polite form, you'd usually use when speaking about other people's mothers. I don't think you have to use it when referring to your own mother, you can use 母 on it's own.


Is there a pronunciation rule for proximal sounds for 母 to change from haha -> ka?


Some of you guys are not thinking correctly about this.. kanji isn't really about how kanji is pronounced (1), it's about what the kanji means. As for 母, it means "mother", this is language independent. So you include 母 in any "word" which refers to "mother" in some way. In Japanese there are some variant words which all mean 'mother'. used in different contexts. 'haha' is what you use to talk about your mother (and that answers a couple of the questions in posts below), and 'okasan' is how you address your mother directly (and also how you talk about other people's mothers). In English and other languages you also have a number of words which all mean 'mother' (Mom, mother, mommy, etc), and for 'father' you have at least 'father', 'dad', 'daddy', and various regional and cultural variants. In Japanese you have similar variations for 'father', although in which exact context you use them may be more formalized. To indicate that these words all mean 'father' in some form you include 父 as part of that word. So it's not at all about how 母 and 父 are "pronounced", it's about how the words where you use them are pronounced. Although it so happens that just 'haha' and 'chichi' are written as the bare kanji.

[1]in this and many other cases


Thank you so much, THason. This was such an informative and necessary explanation. Everything makes much more sense now. Onward!


Why can't "Where are you mom?"


I feel like for direct questions (while looking for someone)どこにいますか is used (implies being alive) and どこですか for third parties. Of course, どこにいますか might be used in other situations as well, but in this case sounds more natural


short explanation: there is no "you" in the phrase. long explanation: the subject of the phrase is 'mom', not 'you', and the 'your' is hidden, it could also mean my or his/her, but that depends on context.


Is the ん actually pronounced?


If some dude asking you this with a candy in his hand and you're alone, don't run.


I "cheated" on this one, in that I couldn't remember what "okaasan" meant but recognised the kanji from "haha", so I worked it out from the written form.

I think that's the first time that has happened.


Zuko at the last episode of Avatar: 母はどこですか。


Why is this person so interested in where my mother is?


Well, let's see this situation: I found a child in Japan and asked him "where's your mother?" should I use honorific terms or should I just use plain speech? I guess informal speech would be normal since I'm older than him, right?


Why do you ask... (between this and asking if i have a family im starting to get worried for my family's and my safety...)


It's weird how in Duo and also a japanese learning book I have they say Haha and Chichi is for addressing your own but otosan and okasan is for other people. Yet, in many Jdramas and animes I've watched they said otosan and okasan for their own. I've heard Chichi and Haha but it was always with these posh, strict families so I thought it was like that? Can someone explain?


It's weird how in Duo and also a japanese learning book I have they say Haha and Chichi is for addressing your own but otosan and okasan is for other people. Yet, in many Jdramas and animes I've watched they said otosan and okasan for their own. I've heard Chichi and Haha but it was always with these posh, strict families so I thought it was like that? Can someone explain?


Not super familiar with the Japanese custom, but from what I've been hearing and reading, you mostly use "otoosan" and "okaasan" at home. You use "chichi" (or chichi-oya) and "haha" (or haha-oya) only when you're describing your own parents to others outside your family. This is part of the Japanese etiquette where lowering yourself (or elevating others) is considered a good manner. Likewise, when asking about others' parents, you use "otoosan" and "okaasan".


Both are correct. Another example of "context is everything". ちち and はは are used when speaking to others (outside out family). It puts emphasis on staying humble. お父さん and お母さん are used to show respect. You can show respect to parents of others, but also to your own parents while speaking directly to them or to other members of your own family


.... something my dad asked me SO much, growing up! "She's around here somewhere; where did she go off to now?" :)


Seeing as, from what I've learnt, people generally call their parents お父さん/お母さん when talking directly to them, could this sentence be understood as "mum, where are you?"


"Where is mother" also works


Could this sentence also be used as "where are my parents?" With context or would you always inside 私の or something similar at the start?


To say 'Where is my mother?' I think it would be: 私のお母さんはどこですか?'Where are my parents?' would be: 私の両親はどこですか? (両親=りょうしん) Hope this helps


I meant include not inside


I am sure this question was framed by Noriyaki Kakyoin


Your translation is wrong, please correct it. There are too many bugs in this program so far.


I've noticed that in general お母さん usually refers to someone else's mother as it is more polite with the お prefix and the さん suffix. On the other hand, 母 usually refers to one's on mother. Therefore, because お母さん usually refers to someone else's mother, the subject is usually not explicitly stated because it is already understood.


What exactly is wrong with it?


Nothing. That's exactly what you would say if you asked someone about their mother.


My problem is that there is no context. If I am talking to a friend and ask お母さんはどこですか, most likely I'm talking about their mom, but if I'm talking to my dad, I would be asking about his mom, because that is my grandma

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