"中国人です。"

Translation:I am Chinese.

1 year ago

40 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/3Rton

I'm the only one who finds it weird that "中国" is pronounced as "Naka" in the "What does this character sound like"-exercise even when the option given is ちゅうごく Is it a bug/glitch?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew-Lin
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This is a good question! First, I have to tell you, unfortunately many Kanjis have not only 1 pronunciation, and they are no easy rules for foreigners when to use which pronunciation. "中" is pronounced as "なか" when it means "inside" or "middle" in this sense this Kanji is used independently. That's why if you only give "中" most Japanese tell you that is "なか." But "中国" is a word consisting of two Kanjis and pronounced as "ちゅうごく" in which we use the pronunciation "ちゅう" for "中" and "ごく" for "国." Even Japanese may find Kanjis complicated sometimes, so don't worry, keep going :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

3Rton The way Duo is set up it will only allow one pronunciation for when you hover over a word, and will also allow only one audio clip for the full sentence reading. The volunteers are working hard to get around this best they can but for Japanese Kanji it is an unavoidable complication. Also, the lesson notes explain a bit about Kanji readings but not much sadly.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/crisFerrei262966

Maybe yes Maybe no

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DoctorWho01
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In fact, a Chinese version of this sentence "我是中国人 - wǒ shì zhōng guó rén - I be chinese person" is much closer to English than Japanese one.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew-Lin
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Yes, at least Chinese is of S-V-O (subject-verb-object) structure, while Japanese belongs to S-O-V languages. Such difference is one of the reason why it's hard for Japanese to learn English.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Melpyyy

Without context this translates into literally "Chinese" (jin meaning person so Chinese person as opposed to Chinese language). But "desu" does not tranlsate into "I am" because every sentence in Japanese ends with "desu" because its a verbal way of expressing a period in a sentence, not "I am". The "I am Chinese" is more of a sloppy/casual way of saying I am Chinese. It should be "watashi wa chyugoku jin desu" -- which translates into I am Chinese. Watashi meaning Yourself or I am.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MackHughes1
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I was led to understand that Japanese often drops the subject when it can be implied.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Grexian2
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Sorry, that's not correct, desu means "is/am". The sentence is literally "is Chinese (person)". Watashi is often omitted in Japanese.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Melpyyy

For example, someone could be asking someone else what nationality their friend or teacher or coworker or anyone other than themselves is, and their friend could be responding "Chyugoku jin desu." Which would not mean I am Chinese it just means Chinese (person).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lolfoollor

I am pretty sure ppl can understand that even if it is grammatically wrong.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Iwona870832

Oh thank you so much for this explanation! I'm just starting to learn Japanese but 'desu' always seemed like 'I am/am' to me. I thought it was the most logical for what it stands for. But I guess I need to turn off that thinking as it's a different language and some parts just don't have their equivalent in English.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EDSSyst

According to what I learned so far and also to one of the comments here, "desu" -can- be loosely translated to am/is/are. Japanese uses context a lot, so the subject of a sentence is often not mentioned.

Default context is the speaker him/herself, so "nihon jin desu" literally means "Japanese person (I) AM".

If you add a subject/topic the sentence becomes: "Tanaka san wa nihon jin desu" which means "Mr. Tanaka Japanese person IS". The "wa" acts as the subject/topic marker.

If the speakers have been talking about Mr Tanaka all along, the sentence can be shortened back to "nihon jin desu" and it will mean "He Japanese IS," with the He referring to Mr Tanaka, the topic of the conversation.

Hope this helps.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/IvanEb
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Very interesting stuff. Can someone break down the kanji for "Chinese" in this sentence? :)

Is the first one (naka) the symbol for "middle"? As in "middle kingdom"? (It kind of looks like something split down the "middle")

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/clnoy
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Sorry in advance if if I may confuse you adding Chinese to this post, but since you asked for a break down, I thought it fit. If you find yourself confused, just ignore the Chinese pinyin.

  1. According to Chinese etymology, the hànzi/kanji 中 [zhōng in Chinese; なか or ちゅう in Japanese], comes from the pictogram for a flagpole and a drum in the center of a field.

    Among other things, it indeed means middle, center.

  2. The hànzi/kanji 国 [guó in Chinese; ごく or くに in Japanese] has the character for jade or precious gem representing the emperor enclosed by the character proud, upright.

    It is very similar to the character 王 [wáng in Chinese; おう in Japanese] meaning king: horizontal strokes mean heaven, man and earth, the vertical stroke is the king himself; but they are actually unrelated characters. You can use that to remember the character, even though they're unrelated.

    Among other things, it means region, country, kingdom.

  3. The hànzi/kanji 人 [rén in Chinese; ひと、じん or にん in Japanese] depicts the side view of a standing man.

    It means man, person, people.

Finally, 中国人 [zhōngguòrén in Chinese; ちゅうごくじん in Japanese] mean Chinese when referring to a person.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/eittek
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How does this differ from "I am from China"?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MaxJiang3
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The same way that "I am from China" and "I am Chinese" differ in English, not much. It's just another way to say it.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/transonlohk
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"China-person I am" ;)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/T.J.Abubo
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中国人です。- I am Chinese (*Rough transliteration - China person)

-- An indirect way of saying that you naturally align your nationality/citizenship to China.

中国しゅっしんです。(Also can be written as 中国出身です。) - I am FROM China (*Rough transliteration - China, the origin.)

-- An indirect way of saying that you're from China, and that's it. Being someone who came from China, doesn't necessarily make them Chinese, don't you think?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/samuelianadams
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On the "What sound does this make" exercise, it presented me with "中" and pronounced it "なか", but that wasn't an option. The "correct" option was "ちゆう” (which is the pronunciation we learned in-lesson, and was available). Just think it is support misleading.

Bug reported but none of the bug reporting options seemed to fit, either...

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

It's not a bug. It's a limitation of The Incubator. (the part of Duo where volunteers make/edit courses) The way Duo is set up it will only allow one pronunciation for when you hover over a word, and will also allow only one audio clip for the full sentence reading. The volunteers are working hard to get around this limitation best they can but for Japanese Kanji which have multiple readings it is an unavoidable complication. Also, the lesson notes explain a bit about how Kanji have multiple readings but not much sadly.

Edit: Although in your case that seems a bit different I suppose. Next time save a screenshot/video and post it in the forums. The people who work on the course will see it.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JTofSpades01

How does the sentence imply that whoever is speaking it is talking about himself/herself? There isn't a first person pronoun in the sentence nor or there second or third person pronouns.

How is it "I am Chinese" instead of "He is Chinese" or "She is Chinese"?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Username19636

It's implied. It's like when in English you say something like: "Ever since being able to speak English, many opportunities and new doors were opened" The subject here is you, but see how it's never expressed. And as you could say "Me/he/she being able to speak English has opened me/him/her a lot of new doors" in English, in Japanese you can do the same by adding the subject (or topic) and making it explicit.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

It is common in Japanese to omit the subject if it's yourself, as it is the default assumption. They omit the subject even if it's not yourself and has been established. If you always marked yourself with watashi over and over for each sentence, such wording would seem excessive and perhaps a bit self-centered.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ohayo_Gosaimasu

I don't know how I'm supposed to answer a question that says, "~to be from" and write "I am Chinese." I haven’t memorized the symbols! I don't know anything!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

中国人です

中国 is China, and 中国人 is Chinese. This is the topic in this sentence.

です (literally "to be", or "is/am") shows that the subject is 中国人.

The subject is not established in this sentence, because it is omitted. In English, we have similar sentences such as "Want a drink?" where we leave out the "Do you want a drink?". In Japanese, it is perhaps more common to omit things than in English, as long as the context allows it.

Thus the sentence looks something like this in English: "Chinese, (I) am", which we can make more natural as "I am Chinese".

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ohayo_Gosaimasu

I know this is pretty off topic, but how do you write the kanjis? In comments?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

Well, you have a few options. More so if you're using the desktop version of Duolingo rather than the mobile one.

  1. You can download a app/program that allows you to write out the Kanji shape and then copy/paste it, or perhaps name the first few letters for it and it list Kanji for you.
  2. If you know the word it translates to, you can go to Google Translate and plug the word in to have Google translate it into a Kanji, although you should look at the other options listed too to make sure you use the right version of the Kanji.
  3. If on Windows 10 desktop (and certain other platforms) you can set your computer to use a virtual Japanese keyboard in addition to your default one.
  4. Use this site if you know the beginning pronunciation for the Kanji (not sure how well it works on mobile, sorry) https://www.lexilogos.com/keyboard/japanese.php

For me personally I have my computer using Miscrosoft IME to do Japanese typing, although I sometimes use Lex when I forget I have IME.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rolosrevenge
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So do sentences not have spaces between the words?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

rolosrevenge There aren't any spaces in Japanese. (at least, not normally) There isn't a need for that due to the use of Kanji, but that's a bit advanced of a topic at this point in the course.

Also what does it mean to be a Duolingo Insider, if I may ask? Your profile picture indicates such status. Just curious as I've never seen it before in the comments.

EDIT: Never mind, got my answer here: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/27368695/Announcing-a-new-GA-branch-Duolingo-Insiders

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aniki108429

i don't see 私わ i can more likely use this sentence to tell someone he is chinese ’’中国人です’’ or i'm wrong ?

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

It is common in Japanese to omit the subject if it's yourself, as it is the default assumption. Even if the subject isn't yourself, once it's been established you can usually leave it out for future sentences until you need a new subject. If you always marked yourself with 私 over and over for each sentence, such wording would seem excessive and perhaps a bit self-centered. If you wanted to say, "You are Chinese" instead of yourself, use あなたは [anata wa - you]. This would change the context to allow an understanding that we are talking about you now, and the same rules apply. The full sentence would be あなたは中国人です [anata wa chūgokujin desu - You are Chinese]

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Plastic_SR

It's too close to じごく (or 地獄) which means hell. Maybe that's cause of tense relations in the past?

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Laura_P98

I'm sorry, I don't have Japanese keyboard :p

Duolingo says it is wrong if I enter "It is Japanese", when according to the translation "desu" may be either "it is" or "I am". I thought the correct answer would be "it is Japanese", since there is no a "watashi". Some help? :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

You asked for help. Sorry I'm late. The sentence is 中国人です, which translates to "I am Chinese". It is common in Japanese to omit the subject if it's understood in context. The default assumption would be you're talking about yourself. If you always marked yourself with 私 (watashi) over and over for each sentence though, such wording would seem excessive and perhaps a bit self-centered. So, watashi wa is omitted. The next part is 中国人, which literally translates to "China person". This would be made normal-sounding in English by saying "Chinese" instead. です means am/is, so we now have "[omitted self] am Chinese". In regular English, we say "I am Chinese".

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndyCardoso23
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is it wrong to translate this one as "you are chinese"?

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

Yes. It is common in Japanese to omit the subject if it's yourself, as it is the default assumption. If you always marked yourself with 私 (watashi) over and over for each sentence, such wording would seem excessive and perhaps a bit self-centered. If you wanted to say, "You are Chinese" instead of yourself, use あなたは [anata wa - you]. The full sentence would be あなたは中国人です [anata wa chūgokujin desu - You are Chinese]

EDIT: Actually, if you had established that the subject is the other person already in a prior sentence, it would be correct to just say 中国人です. Given that we only have the simple phrase to go off of though, the default assumption is still that you're referring to yourself.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Greg446687

Is there some legitimate reason why these lessons in "Introduction" (up through /19 - katakana - so far) are endlessly repeating the exact same lessons and material - china, japan, america, john, maria, tanaka, from, am, etc. etc. ad nauseum - that were introduced 25 or 30 lessons ago !? Really ! Can we get some other content ? maybe some watanabe, tokyo, osaka, Charlie, Sally, Russia, Germany, France, England ?? Oh, and how about some more / different katakana ?? Endless repetition of the same few has long gotten boring. Where are the rest of the kana ? The hiragana lessons had tons more variety...

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

Um... Two things:

First, repeated words are used because it means we will remember it, as plowing ahead learning only new stuff isn't as effective for memorizing.

Second, lots of other words are introduced over time, you just need to be patient.

As a side note, as of your post the course was in beta (or just came out of beta?) and now they're almost done with the second version of the skill tree. More information on that here: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/30544388

Improvements are always being made. To say that it is becoming boring is, well, kind of a small argument. This is language learning, not a game. (Contrary to what Duolingo's marketing would say) The course has gotten a lot better and is still growing.

1 month ago
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