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  5. "Are you American?"

"Are you American?"


June 11, 2017



Im so confused. I dont know what Im learning. Maybe you can add more of "You're gonna learn this!" so I can understand how and the Japanese language uses it. For me, when I learn, I need more information to be able to get myself interested.


Sticking the か particle at the end of a sentence turns it into a question, think of it as the question mark and not a word and it should be easy to remember.


I agree, there is so little context on some of what is being dealt with that it's kind of hard to work out.


Don't worry, I came into this already knowing hiragana and some basics, which I feel is necessary to fully understand this.


Its annoying, but read the comments anytime you come across something you dont immediately understand. Theres usually a good explanation in the comments. Duolingo Japanese is still in beta I think, so its best used if you combine it with other resources. I'm going through a textbook called Genki at the same time.


Use the lightbulb button at the start of your lesson selection to help your understanding of a particular lesson. I was ignoring that button for quite a while and it helped clear up a good number of the questions I had myself. The community comment sections are helping with the rest so far.


Duolingo is a great tool for beginners to extend their knowledge. But it's terrible for those who don't know anything yet. My advice: look up basic grammar. Learn about the particles は (wa), か (ka), and a couple others.

I would also advice to learn hiragana and possibly a bit of katakana and maybe a handfull of kanji.

Duolingo is terribke for teaching grammar, but it is useful for learning new words and to learn some kanji.


That was the hardest lesson so far


It comes at us a little fast. If it was more gradual it might be better, but the course it young so im sure they will tweak it.


Do you have to have "jin" in the sentence? Or can you just say "America desu ka?" Why must you have "jin" in between America and desu?


Jin means person. If you just say "America desu ka?" it sounds like you're asking, "Are you America?"


Good to know. This'll help me alot haha.


And if you switch out "jin" for "shou shin" (don't know the exact pronunciation of that second one), it becomes, "are you from america?"


Is "アメリカ人ですか?" The only possible translation?


Yes, pretty much. Although explicitly stating the subject is also an acceptable translation (あなたはアメリカ人ですか), it's very unnatural to do so.


You could say 「アメリカしゅっしんですか?」if you want to say "Are you from the U.S.?".


I initially tried to use 「はい、アメリカ人です」 as the answer to this.


Mark down another, me too lol


I dont understand the purpose of 人


アメリカ is America as the country. カナダ is Canada as the country.

アメリカ人 is American. カナダ人 is Canadian.


人 (Jin) denotes that a person is a type of person. 人 in アメリカ人  means that the person is American, in one way or another.

出身 (shusshin) denotes that a person is from somewhere. 出身 in アメリカ出身 means that a person is FROM America, and possibly nothing more.


How to know if the question is referring to "you" , "he/she/it" ? I suppose if it was "I" (rhetorical) it'd have "watashi" in there..


It is assumed that most questions are asked directly to someone, so use “you” for English translations of Japanese questions and “I” for answers to questions which will start with “yes” or “no”.


If you were already talking about someone else, then you would have to say "watashi" but otherwise it's implied that you're talking about yourself. Strangely, some Japanese songs even leave out the word "desu" at the end of sentences because it's implied, and would make the song repetative.


Not quite. If you were already talking about someone else, it's implied that you're still talking about them. If you say 私, then you're basically shifting the conversation to be about you.

Also, it's not just songs that leave out です; it's commonly dropped in everyday speech, especially in casual situations.


Yeah, that's what I meant to say. Thanks for wording it in a more understandable way.


Could you say amerikajin wa desuka?


Only in the very specific situation where you want to clarify that something someone just said pertains to "the American" you have previously talked about (maybe if you had been talking about a few different people and wanted to check to whom they were referring).

Otherwise, no. です connects the indirect object to the subject. By specifying アメリカ人 as the subject by using は, です no longer has an object to connect to. Without specifying the subject, it can be assumed to be "you" which です connects アメリカ人 to.


Drop the wa, its not needed there. Amerikajin desu ka would be like just saying "American?" It works better than in english because japanese verbalises the question mark.


It's getting so easy for me right now. The sentences are so simply build! much easier than german (im from germany)


German puts the verb at the end of the sentence in some cases like Japanese does right? I took German in high school but don't remember much.


Why can't I say, "君はアメリカ人ですか? (Kimi wa AmerikaJin desu ka?)” Did I make a mistake with one of the Kanji, or?


No, you didn't make any mistakes; your sentence probably hasn't been added to the list of acceptable answers.

But more importantly, I think it's a good choice by the course developers to leave it out because, while 君 does mean "you", I strongly advise against using it until you have a very firm grasp of the politeness and social norms in Japan. Though it might seem rude to an English speaker to leave out the pronoun and essentially just say "American?", not using a pronoun is actually a safer option in Japanese than risking using 君 in an inappropriate context.


Friends, study Hiragana heavily before you jump into this. The kanji will come in soon so prepare


It's easier to explain japanese in english but not otherwise ;-;


What do you do if you don't have a Japanese keyboard?


Search for online ones if you're on a computer. If you're on your cell, there are some apps for that, they're usually pretty useful and easy to understand.


There are keyboards that come with windows that you can switch to and you can switch languages to type in on the phones as well. You can easily switch back as well.


I downloaded "Japanese Keyboard" and it is a fantastic app so far. It is extremely useful as it allows you to voice-to-text japanese as well as just typing in the phonetic spelling and instantly giving you multiple character options for it. Usually beginning with the hirigana character and expanding into a lot of characters i dont recognize yet.


so danm close, I FORGOT THE "人"!


i wish the course would explain grammar and structure before throwing me in the deep end like this! what's the 人 there for? agh! maybe i should find something else to build up my knowledge and then come back to duolingo later.


That changes America into America-person which is translated into “American”. If you click on each word or character, you should see hints. This is the kanji or Chinese character borrowed into Japanese for “person” or “people”


This makes no sense and it is getting really hard


Is the closed triangle symbol the same as the upside down V symbol?


No, your upside down V symbol is the Chinese character borrowed into Japanese, or kanji, for “person”, or “people” This is added after a country name to indicate a person of that country.


How dare you assume my ethnicity!


"American" isn't an ethnicity. What are you smoking, and can I have some?


You're right, "American" is a nationality. I am currently smoking some cocaine and you can have some.


What is the difference between arimasen, and de wa arimasen?


“dewa arimasen” is the correct negative form of the verb.


I am confusing please let me know if there is anything that can help me


So, if I'm not using あなた, how can I know that I'm talking about "You"? Only knowing the context?


Well, I'm assuming you should know what you're talking about before you even say it, but yes, the rest of us can only guess based on the context of the conversation.

(In this course, most of the time, it's safe to assume questions are talking about "you" and statements are talking about "me", unless it's stated otherwise.)


How come there are multimple answers for some phrases such as with アメリカ人です , you can answer with im american OR i am from america, but with アメリカ人ですか, you have to choose between are you american or are you from america?


人 (Jin) denotes that a person is a type of person. 人 in アメリカ人  means that the person is American, in one way or another.

出身 (shusshin) denotes that a person is from somewhere. 出身 in アメリカ出身 means that a person is FROM America, and possibly nothing more.

For anyone confused, this seems to be an important cultural thing in East Asian cultures. For instance, 中国人 (chuugoku) is also the same exact thing in Chinese, just pronounced differently, and this kind of shows how they value who you are and where you are from (to an extent), and also shows how similar the cultures over there can be. Hope this random info helps some people understand the concept more! Let me know if I'm wrong about any of this. c:


Why is the male (narrator?) using "しと" for the "人" character please?


The tts voices are each reading all sentences written by other people which are not about the tts voices.


says "kito" instead of "jin"


The 人 in the word bank triggers the wrong sound to be played. It will say ひと (hito).
This is due to limitations in the app since Duolingo wasn't intended to be used with languages like Japanse (which is a huge design flaw)


What is the difference between the characters "JI N" and "HI TO" qhen used a country?


Japanese has two types of readings for kanji "kunyomi" which are the native Japanese reading, and "onyomi" which are based off the Chinese reading of the character (since Kanji came from China). Hito is kunyomi and jin is onyomi, when attached to a country name it is pronounced jin. There's no trick to 100% know when to use kunyomi or onyomi, just learning the specific reading as you come across it.

A few things can help like onyomi never has hiragana attached to the end but kunyomi often does, like in taberu: 食べる, and if a word is multiple kanji characters combined together it is usually oniyomi.

Most single character words like tree: 木 are pronounced with kunyomi so 木 on it's own is pronounced "ki" but when it is used in the compound word Wednesday it is pronounced with the onyomi reading, "moku" and the full word is mokuyoubi: 木曜日 aka tree day. Of course there are exceptions to the rules but hopefully this is help a bit.


In spanish it is asked " ¿Eres tú americano? No "Son tu americano?" Why has change de language; from english to spanish?

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