1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Japanese
  4. >
  5. "Um, where is the hospital?"

"Um, where is the hospital?"


June 11, 2017



Why is "where" used, but dochira is the answer? Wouldn't it make more sense if it was "doko desu ka" ? Or if the english was "which way to the hospital?"


I think it's considered more polite. A more literal translation of the Japanese sentence might be "which way is the hospital", but I believe the point is that どたら is considered a more polite translation for both English phrases.


It feels similar to English. You ask "which way" to get a general direction so you're not as much of a bother rather then asking "where is it" to get more precise directions.


Thats true. Which makes it even more surprising thats not the default english translation here, since we also make that distinction.


*どちら, not どたら


No, どちら has a missed translation here. どちら means the same thing as どこ in this context, only difference is the level of formality.

[deactivated user]

    I disagree. I lived in Japan for two years, and just because Japanese people use どちらのほう all the time, does not mean that it means "where." It means "which way," and yes, it is more polite, but that doesn't change the fact that it literally means, "which way." Duolingo should translate more literally, so as not to confuse people.




    Note however that 何方/どちら is usually written with kana, not kanji.


    Difference between doko and dochira in this context pls?


    どちら/こちらetc. Is much more polite than どこ/ここis


    Doko - where, dochira - which way/direction.


    えっと is more of an umm. Should we really be translating verbal ticks anyways?


    あの in this case feels like it's being used to get attention. For example, you're lost and want to ask a random stranger where the hospital is, then you could get their attention by saying[あの…]or[すみません]. I'm not sure if えっと would be acceptable in this situation.


    Such so-called tics are very common in spoken Japanese, so I do think they're important to learn.


    'Verbal ticks' or non-lexical fillers are part of speech disfluency, and - ironically enough - if you want to be fluent in a language you have to be able to be disfluent in the language.

    If you speak Japanese but keep filling with 'erm', 'like' and 'yknow' it'll sound weird.

    Besides as pointed out before, these fillers, along with non-verbal cues are very important in Japanese language.

    For example; if you're on the phone with a Japanese person and you don't regularly respond with 'ん' or 'はい' etc. while they speak, they'll think you left and ask if you're still there.


    With respect to the phone example, I think it occurs the same in Spanish (mothertongue). Although not asked, you just have to say something like "yes" or something with a certain frequency to confirm that you are paying attention to the speaker.

    [deactivated user]

      I think I heard that えっと is the feminine umm, and あの is the masculine umm, but I could be wrong.




      I dont know if this happened to anyone else but this lesson was mainly focused on just the word "Bank"

      [deactivated user]

        If you are using your computer, you should always be able to switch between using the word bank, and using the keyboard.


        They really should make two start with the ano part. Its so easy to ignore the rest of those sentences


        I wonder if どこですか is ok...

        [deactivated user]

          I don't understand why Duolingo translates どちら as "where," when it really means "which." The correct word for "where" is どこ.

          [deactivated user]

            I like to use the keyboard sometimes, but if my answers aren't going to be accepted half the time, just because I did or didn't use kanji when Duolingo wanted me to, it would be much more efficient to just use the word bank.

            Learn Japanese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.