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  5. "Can I get some tea?"

"Can I get some tea?"


June 9, 2017



を marks the direct object of a sentence. お茶 is the direct object. 下さい is a request for something.


So is おちゃを下さい, a reply to someone asking for example "would you like tea or coffee", it doesn't make sense as a standalone request to me.


Nah, requests in Japanese can be made using just kudasai. Literal translations kind of don't work very often, so just think of it as the way a toddler would ask for things "that please" or in this case, "tea please"


Well, your example works well too, but ~をください is used as a standalone request in Japanese.

This is because ください is actually a specific conjugation of the verb 下さる, I believe, which is why it requires a direct object おちゃ and the direct object particle を. The verb is a type of respectful language, sonkeigo, and it means "to give". Because of the directionality of the keigo, the conjugation ください implies "(please) give me".


Im a little bit confused about を here. i just got another sentence ごはんは食べません, where は is used even though ごはん is the direct object of the sentence (right?) because it's the topic of the sentence. so how do you know when to use は or を?


Its not perfect, but think of wa for description, and o for verbs. [neko wa akai desu] (the cat is red). [nani o shimasu ka] (what are you doing)


In ごはんは食べません, rice would be the subject, which for obvious reasons can't eat. The should be を used as the particle with the subject implied.


I think gohan in this sense is used for lunch even tho lunch is 昼ごはん.


Is お茶 "green tea" or just "tea"?


Just tea. The "お-" just makes things more polite. Like when you're offering/requesting to a guest or customer.


You can tend to assume ocha/cha means green tea usually, but the real meaning is any tea.


Why is をneeded here? Is "please" a verb in this context?


Someone else explained in another lesson that it's sort of a pointer to the subject. 【おちゃ】【を】【ください】 【Tea】【<-】【give it to me please】


Are there two sets of symbols in Japanese? For example, i observe some words having more than one alphabets or sounds. At some places one full word replaced by a single image. Can some body list the alphabets in Japanese...


There are actually three sets of symbols in Japanese; hiragana, katakana, and kanji.

The first two, hiragana and katakana, are syllabaries where each symbol generally represents a combination of a consonant followed by a vowel sound (obvious exceptions include the vowels themselves (あ/ア, い/イ,う/ウ, え/エ, お/オ) and ん/ン).

The main role of hiragana is to function as particles (like は, が, を, etc.) or to show verb/adjective conjugations (called okirugana). The most common role of katakana, on the other hand, is in vocabulary where it is used for loan words from other languages (called gairaigo).

In contrast, kanji are ideological symbols which were co-opted from Chinese characters. Since it's ideological, each symbol represents an idea or concept, for example, 人 means "person", 中 means "inside" or "middle", 鬱 means "depression", etc.

With kanji, the character itself doesn't tell you how it's pronounced, and they can be pronounced differently depending on the context they're used in. Sometimes (but not on Duo), kanji have hiragana written above them to tell you how it sounds. In a pinch, you can also just write the hiragana pronunciation instead of the kanji itself, and hope the reader can guess which kanji you meant to use (which is Duo's method for not scaring you with too much kanji), but this can lead to difficult to parse sentences and/or miscommunication.


にわにはにわにわとりがいます vs 庭にはニ羽鶏がいます


So what is the structure of a sentece like in in japanese, like in american it would be the action then target so like this one the action is getting something and the target is the tea


おちゃ more correctly translates to 'green tea' as other teas have different names


Not "more correctly", "more commonly".

Green tea is so ubiquitous in Japan that "tea" usually ends up referring to "green tea", and you use other tea names to differentiate them from "green tea", but おちゃ can still refer to other types of tea.


like in the American South, if you say "tea" and you don't mean specifically black tea, you're in the minority


So, obviously, this translation isn't wrong; but I feel something like "could I have some tea?" would be a closer fit to the register of politeness in the Japanese version.


Can I put a question mark at the end or do I have to end with a full stop ?


i just want some tea, please.


Would anyone happen to know the difference between "ください" and "おねがい"? I used the second one, it was incorrect but I'm uncertain as to why


You should report that because it should be a valid translation.

I'm not a native speaker, so I may be wrong about some of the nuance here, but I think おねがい is more casual than ください which in turn is more casual than おねがいします.

Typically though, おねがい/おねがいします are less direct, in that the thing or action you are requesting is not necessarily for you; it's just something you hope they will do or get. On the other hand, ください is more specifically you want them do to or get for you/your benefit.

For example, if you went to a fast food restaurant in Japan, and ordered a cheeseburger, you could say チーズバーガーをください, but using おねがいします instead might not be wrong, but it isn't as natural. In this situation, you are telling them (politely) to get you a burger, not simply hoping that they can get you a burger.

In the same setting, you also want them to change your ¥10,000 note into 10 ¥1,000 notes. In this case, using ください may still work, but it'll sound a bit blunt or even rude, since this isn't something they necessarily have to do; you're hoping they are kind enough to do it for you.


why does duolingo say my や is wrong? I write おちやをください and it says I'm wrong


Because yours is a big one. With a big や, おちや is pronounced o-chi-ya, which is three syllables.

The word for "tea" in Japanese is おちゃ with a small ゃ, which is pronounced in two syllables o-cha.

The classic example of this is comparing びょういん (with a small ょ) and びよういん (with a big よ). byou-in (small ょ) means "hospital", whereas bi-you-in (big よ) means "hair salon". It probably doesn't make much sense just reading it, so see if you can find some recordings of these two words and compare the difference ;)


I'm using google IME to type the characters, and Duo marked me as wrong when I wrote おちや because when I wrote the や it wasn't the tiny version. Does anyone know how I get my keyboard to make that?

Also, I'd love to know WHY we use the mini versions of some of these characters, like や in tea.


Because, with a big や, おちや is pronounced o-chi-ya, which is three syllables. The word for "tea" in Japanese is おちゃ with a small ゃ, which is pronounced in two syllables o-cha.

The classic example of this is comparing びょういん (with a small ょ) and びよういん (with a big よ). byou-in (small ょ) means "hospital", whereas bi-you-in (big よ) means "hair salon". It probably doesn't make much sense just reading it, so see if you can find some recordings of these two words and compare the difference ;)

As for how to type it, if you need to type it on its own, you can type "xya" or "lya" (same for other small characters, just put "x" or "l" in front of it). Alternatively, if you type "cha", IME should give you ちゃ (same with other combined hiragana, e.g. "sha" -> しゃ, "kyu" -> きゅ, "fe" -> ふぇ).

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