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  5. "大学生です。"

"大学生です。"

Translation:I am a university student.

June 11, 2017

59 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChisaiFirefly

There is no indication of who the subject is in this sentence. While a good assumption would be that it refers to oneself, it is weird to assume in the context of a language app.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drronbon

That's one thing we have to get used to in nihongo. Most of the context is assumed. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tabbyspeaks

That's just how Japanese is, it's a very contextual language. When Japanese people speak, they most often do not identify the subject of the sentence. Teaching sentences like this is how it's done in actual classes, as well.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/qEsK17

It's based on default interpretations. If a STATEMENT has no subject and there is no prior conversation topic to clear it out, then the subject (or topic) is "I" by default. If a QUESTION has no subject and there's no context to make you think otherwise, then the subject is "you" by default.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Crugland1

The TTS sounds like it's saying "dai-vaku" or even "dai-maku" with those kanji. Why is it the only "-gaku" word where I want hear a hard "g?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TessieGrif

I once tried to attend Japanese language course (hated it), teacher there (native speaker) explained that in Japan it's actually considered as beautiful or proper to pronounce ga-sound that way, as if they speaking through the nose.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mirocu1

May I ask why you hated taking that course?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnaLydiate

Yes, the "g" sound in Japanese is a very nasal sound. If you're thinking it will be like an English "g" sound then you'll be disappointed. This can really be applied to any language though - when we wrote another language in English often or letters are not adequate to convey the actual sound because we most likely don't have that sound in English so the sound is conveyed using the "nearest" sounding "equivalent" in English. To use another example of this - this time from Spanish. The v as in voy a escuela in Spanish is more somewhere in between an English b and a v, but we don't have a letter/character to convey that sound.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Apophis519

I was told to say g's almost like you're closing off your nasal passage to breathe through your mouth. Takes practice to do quickly but i think that was the explanation that made the concept click for me. Maybe that will help someone else.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aernidius

Yeah. I just noticed too that it reads Something+学生 as more of "nga-ku-sei" instead just "ga-ku-sei"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fghsgh

that is tokyo dialect


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yuuki-Yuki

College and University are almost the same isnt? For 大学, or do Japanese have different word for College and for University??


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alcedo-Atthis

Yes, they're pretty much the same. However, there are other options for College, depending on context. If you're talking about (e.g.) the "College of Physics" as a synonym for "faculty/department of ~" then you could say しぜんか学部 ( がくぶ) but if it's more like a vocational school, it would be a せんしゅう学校 (がっこう) or せんもん*学校: "specialization school".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chartsman

"It's a university student" should be accepted!! Reported.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flish32

Not really. "It" usually indicates something that isn't human, and I doubt aliens would be going to university.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TyrantRC

yeah, haha, stupid humans thinking aliens exists.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Greebsta

Underappreciated comment.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Amodeus_R.

So what would you say if you heard a weird noise coming from an alley and from out there came a university student? Wouldn't you say "oh, IT was just a university student!"? I'm pretty curious now...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SimeonDuwe

How do you do markup in Duolingo comments?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BlarghBlar

Well I think in that case the sound itself would be the main subject, so yeah it's the sound you're calling an "it", not the student. I think the student would be the adjective here?

You'll have to forgive me if I'm using the wrong grammar terms, it's probably been something like 15 years since I've properly studied anything language-related XD

But yeah, I think a contextually synonymous way to say that sentence in English would be something like "oh, the sound simply came from a university student!". So yeah, the OP's sentence should work here, if it still doesn't work. In an attempt to put my knowledge to the test along with the google translation of the word "sound", I think the full Japanese sentence would be something like this?

"あ~、音 (おと, meaning sound) は大学生でしたか..." with the か at the end being optional (I think here it'd just be the difference of "...?" vs "..." for the most part).

Quick edit: That sentence would be for something that already happened (I believe that's what でした is for)… So if the university student is still making sounds, I think you'd say です(か) instead, which would match "It's a university student" or "oh, it is (instead of was) just a university student!".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZakariaAri

Maybe he came from nation with laguage that's do make "it" for human and non human. It just my assumption, maybe he accidently mix them up with his English. Cmiiw.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shariban

In the previous one was "中学生 た ち" I said "They're middle school students" the duolingo said that I made a mistake. The correct one was only "middle school students" implying that I should ignore the subject and translate literally. Okay. Then came "大学生 で す" and I said "University stutend" that would be the translation to the letter, omitting the subject of the sentence, but the duolingo, seems to be angry with me, because I did not err and never started to contradict for me to make mistakes, because for him the correct answer NOW is "i am a university student"

Did I annoy someone?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/telemetry

Just to add to the answer pile ;)

です means "is something", as in describing a thing (it's called the copula if you want to look up the concept). So 大学生 です means "is university student". That's it!

Except in English we're not supposed to do that, you're meant to have a subject in the sentence. Who or what "is university student"? It's ambiguous in the Japanese sentence (and it can be in other languages too, like Spanish) but in English we're forced to be specific

You'll know who the speaker is talking about through context, and unless you know otherwise they're probably talking about themselves. So Duo wants you to assume that in these situations, and translate to "I am..." or whatever. If the sentence is clearly talking about another person, you'd change it

中学生たち doesn't have a です, or any other verb - it's literally just middle school student + plural suffix
ねこ - cat
ねこです - (I'm a) cat


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fghsgh

correct, except that desu is not actually a real verb and you can drop it and it will have the same meaning, just ruder


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mbunk1

If it ends with です then it is a sentence, with subject (even if it is an implied subject in Japanese, English requires a subject to consider it a sentence) if it is just a noun then it isn't a sentence and so you don't have to generate a sentence for it.

です is used to say something is something else, in polite speech at least, so if it has です then there has to be another component to the statement. Especially since duo is basically equating です with to be/is/am/are.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sotnosen93

です basically means "[someone] is/are" here. No です for the first phrase means it's just "middle school students", no "they are" there. です being part of the second phrase means "is/are" needs to be part of the phrase, for example "He is a university student."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnaLydiate

You didn't translate です. In some of the other translations that I pursue your referring to there is no です present and so it is accurate to translate the word as is eg. 中学生たち - middle school students, 大学生たち - University students. In these instances there is no verb. These word are nouns. By themselves there is no sentence. But as soon as です is added it changes from a lone noun to a sentence. I think that is probably the issue here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlejandraA142609

... I am sorry, but shouldn´t it be - I am AN university student


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flish32

It all depends on the sound, not the actual letter. Let's look at the word "hour". We say "an hour" because we pronounce "hour" like "our" and so we use the "an" even though "hour" doesn't start with a vowel. It's the opposite reason for why we use "a" for "university" - it starts with a vowel but doesn't make a vowel sound, "you-nih-ver-sih-tee." I hope this cleared things up for you :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alcedo-Atthis

In this case, no. 'University' starts with a vowel, but since the pronunciation is like 'You-(niversity)' it's treated as starting with a consonant.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dasha488081

Can't I translate this sentence as "This is a college student"? Duo corrects me to "He", so I wonder why as gender isn't indicated?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flish32

"This is" is usually used as a kind of display indicator in English, if that makes any sense at all. If you go to a museum, the sign might say "This is an ancient sword" or something, and if there are college students being displayed at a museum, I don't think it's a very good museum.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rahnna

Can someone please explain 'たち' to me? I've spotted the pattern of when Duo does and doesn't want me to use it but I don't really understand what it means


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alcedo-Atthis

It's a plurality marker. You can add it as a suffix to a 'person' to make it a group of 'people'. E.g. 学生 = student, 学生たち = students.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lolo793407

I will ask an english question: why a university and not an university. I know my english is not at the best but the rule is not to write 'an' in front of 'a e i u o' ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fghsgh

The rule is not if the word starts with a vowel when written down, but if it starts with a vowel when pronouced. If you listen to "university", you can hear that it starts with a Y sound (as in yuversity). That is a palatal approximant and thus a consonant. (a Y is not always a consonant, just look at the last Y in university, which is actually an I (ee) sound)

It's the same thing with "hour", you actually pronounce it like "our", so you write "an hour".

flish32 has already answered this question multiple times below. The reason they are downvoted is because it's not related to Japanese. You should go to some English forum with questions like this.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Angel831279

No context. And the only answer is You're university students?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alcedo-Atthis

No, "I am a college student" is also correct, as would be (I assume) several other answers


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/khchoi95

I am a college student. He is a college student. She is a college student.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mike899735

It is assumed you are talking about yourself, if it ends in. "Ka" you are talking to someone in front of you,


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mike899735

The translation makes sense to me. If there was a ka after desu, then it would translate to "are you a college student?" The 私は is not necessary, With the ka added it infers あんたは。


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MacKinzieRob

The "correct" solution given was "He is a college student" So which is right? Both? Then why isn't "It is a college student" correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mike899735

It is for inanimate things, students are human. かれ is for he, かのじょう (hope I spelt that correctly) is for female As there is no indiction of he or she, then it is I am for yourself.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bwizdam

Would it be incorrect to add "Watashi wa" to the beginning or is it redundant or something?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Brtan6

大学 basically translates as The big Learn.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JenderD

offtopic guys

I am not native english speaker so can someone explain me why where is an "a" word before the university (shouldn't it be "an")?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TyrantRC

"an" is used before words that start with a phonetic vowel. For example, you can say "an elementary" because "e" it's the first sound of the next word, while you would say "a university" because while "u" it's a vowel, when you pronounce the word it comes out as "juniversiti", so in reality the first sound you make is "ju".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gio.carlo

This confuses me: From the previous lesson, i just learned that the kanji 大 from the word 大阪 (おおさか)(Osaka) is pronounced "O".

Then they all of a sudden change it to: 大学生です (dai gaku sei desu) ??? - so it's pronounced "dai" ???

Does 大 have any other pronunciation?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChristianA284981

I already answer "I am a university student" but i got wrong answer


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Leisy865495

An university student is wrong ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JayWong849053

Pretty petty of me, but it's kind of annoying when there's no differentiation between 'a' and 'an.'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/leonardomsg

Should be "aN university student" because the article "a" is before a vogal


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TyrantRC

it shouldn't, that rules only applies to pronunciation, university is pronounced with a soft /ju/ as in youth, so since isn't a a vowel sound you don't use "an", that said most people use it as you think, so it would be correct either way I believe.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/water_color

AN university student


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alcedo-Atthis

"A university student" is correct: the 'a' or 'an' rule about words starting with consonants or vowels is about which sound a word start with, rather than the actual letter.

see https://www.englishclub.com/pronunciation/a-an.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joe264823

Who would have thought. Pretty cool to learn Japanese and English at the same timr


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TyrantRC

yeah, I'm on the same boat, since I learnt english casually I never heard anything about how the US grades their students, so I'm like I know what is it saying in japanese and spanish but having trouble figuring out what's the answer in English, pretty hilarious.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VictoriaFl916634

I am an university student ***


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flish32

It all depends on the sound, not the actual letter. Let's look at the word "hour". We say "an hour" because we pronounce "hour" like "our" and so we use the "an" even though "hour" doesn't start with a vowel. It's the opposite reason for why we use "a" for "university" - it starts with a vowel but doesn't make a vowel sound, "you-nih-ver-sih-tee." I hope this cleared things up for you :)

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