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  5. "マリアは外国人です。"


Translation:Maria is a foreigner.

June 9, 2017



Maria is a gaijin. :( not true?


"Gaijin" has been used as something of a slur, historically. "Gaikokujin" just means "foreigner" (literally "other/outside country person").


I was just kidding :)


Still we got a more specific answer from that, so it's all good bossman


Gaijin seems like it might be a shortened form of Gaikokujin (and, of course, longer is more polite)


Yes. Gaijin is calling someone an outsider or being from outside, which can seem offensive or rude to some people ("Hey outsider!"). Gaikokujin means to be from an outside country, which is more polite ("Hey foreigner").


Oh, so it comes off as more offensive to call someone 'Gaijin'?


In the UK, calling someone a "foreigner" would be considered very impolite.


Gaijin seems like a shortened form of gaigokujin, but it is not. Its not like "Arigatogozaimasu" vs "Arigato". Where the shorter version has the same meaning just less formal/less casual. Gaijin and Gaigokujin carry different meanings and are not related to one another the same way other short/long forms are, and should not be thought of as short/long versions of one another.


It's kinda like the difference between "outsider" and "person from abroad" in connotation. The former has a negative connotation (like gaijin, literally "outside person") while the latter is more neutral (like gaikokujin, "outside country person"). Part of it is attributing the "outsideness" to the country of origin, not specifically the person.


Actually, even though grammatically I can see where you're coming from, in Japan it is often used as a shortened version and not meant to be rude by most Japanese but it highly depends on the context. I've noticed that young casual Japanese (teen-young adults) usually say gaijin san mostly but if you're doing something official in a government building or business they'll pretty much always say gaikokujin. Gaijin is not exclusively a slur but it certainly can be depending on tone and context.


Is it just me, or does がいこくじん sound more like "naikokujin" than "gaikokujin"?


Yes! It does to me too, and I think this gets at something deep.

This is a great illustration of the limitations on romanization. It's tempting to see that we romanize が as "ga" and wrongly think that it makes the same sound. If you pronouce it as "ga" as in English, Japanese will usually understand you, but the two sounds don't exactly correspond, and there is also a range of pronunciation of these sounds.

I've found that most of the time, が is much softer than the English hard "g" sound. In many cases it is pronounced a little more like an "ng" sound, like at the end of "sing". We don't use this sound in English as an initial consonant in words, so it can be hard for us to hear or understand it in this way, but with time, and exposure to enough examples of this, you'll get it.

It's important too, if you want to understand native speakers, as there are people who pronounce this consonant even softer than in this recording, especially in certain contexts or words.


Appreciate the context! I was going out of my mind trying to hear the "g", all I hear is "aikokujin" XD


This took so long to find!!! Here are three lingots, I don't have anything to spend them on anyway, I already have 250 and all the suits for Duo.


It's an example of a Japanese dialect difference, generally East-West and more recently young-old, called Bidakuon / 鼻濁音. Super interesting and in-depth link here: https://web.archive.org/web/20180628233419/http://ysjapanese.wp-x.jp/2015/10/bidakuon/


"Hey, you see that woman over there?"
"You mean the one with the blond hair?"
"Yeah, get this: she's a f o r e i g n e r."


The fact that they ditched the -san part for this particular sentence makes it seem extra rude lol


I said Maria is foreign and i got it wrong :/


外国人 is a noun, though, and you used an adjective. Especially given the cultural implications of words used for people from other countries, that can matter. It could be as big a difference as "Maria is foreign" vs. "Maria is an immigrant" in the US -- given how a lot of people feel about illegal immigration, that might completely change the tone of the statement.


Does this also apply for non Japanese ancestry people born in Japan?


Yes. Here, "foreigner" refers to the nationality.


Shouldn't that be Maria-san?


What happened to the さん part of this sentence? It was the same with an earlier sentence about John being a foreigner - no  さん. I certainly hope that following sentences with a Japanese name omit it too.


Sorry, i have noticed that koku is the same as China, so what's stand it for (country, maybe?) and gai (other?)


Yes, 国 means country and is used in the Japanese names of several countries. Also, 外 means outside, or more specifically in this case, foreign.


The western concept of 'China' doesn't really exist for Chinese people. 中国 literally means "middle country" and came into japanese from Chinese.


Yes, but 中国 still refers to the area called China in English.


Why are you calling China a "Western concept"?


(You're are probably making a joke, but I'll explain anyway.)
She's not referring to China the country itself as a western concept so much as the name given to it as western. The Chinese don't call their nation "china"; that name came from a Portugese word most likely referencing the Qin or "Ching" Dynasty of the country's history. Actual chinese folk themselves say 中国/"Zhōng-guó".


Yes, that is correct. 中= middle 国= country, the kun'yomi are, respectively, なか and くに, and on'yomi are ちゅう and こく. 外国人 means, literally, other(外) country(国) person/people(人). I know it answers a bit more than your question but it might help someone else.


This seems pretty disrespectful to leave off the "san" when referring to Maria.


I felt very rude just referring to her as 'Maria' without the 'san'. Wouldn't that sound a bit offensive?


Would I am a foreigner be (watashi ha gaikokujin desu)?


Yes, 「わたしは外国人です。」would be "I am a foreigner" but do remember that は is pronounced "wa" as a particle, not "ha".


You can leave out 私は in most cases, as it would be largely implied that you're talking about yourself.


Seems like such a Japanese thing say haha


Maybe it isn't impolite bit it sure feels like it. Don't really hear the word foreigner elsewhere. It's always "tourist" or "immigrant" or something. Foreign just seems to degrading of a term ☹️ less a status more a label.


Why the さん (san) is gone?


It seems a bit rude to me to just call someome a foreigner


I put " Maria is a foreign person " and was marked incorrect - any reason for that?


It's probably just looking specifically for 'foreigner. '


Hey, where are the honorifics in this unit? Duo, come on! The disrespect!


is it just me or is the word foreigner or foreign just rude....


Depends on how you use it, really. It's not inherently rude to call someone a foreigner.


Yes. In the UK, it would be, at least. I don't know why you are getting downvoted for saying so.


All I know is that I loved having my Gaijin card


maybe I'm off base on this but it appears the sound "gai" here appears to be kanji that looks like katakana characters...maybe helps to recognize a foreign connotation.


Speaking specifically about 外


That's an interesting mnemonic, and kana were derived from kanji, so be prepared for more similarly confusing kanji. 力, 夕... Yeah, those aren't the katakana カ and タ.


I said "Maria is from a foreign country" and it said I was wrong?




Is it "gaigokujin" or "gaikokujin"?


It's "gaikokujin."


'Maria is an expat' was marked wrong. I figured it might be, but sounds so much nicer than 'foreigner', at least imho.


If Maria is just a tourist, she would still be a foreigner but not an expat. 外国人 じjust means foreigner, 異郷人 means expatriate.



  1. ありがとうございます
  2. Your thanks were in reply to no one.


Is Maria not worthy of the "san" honorific?

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