Translation:Middle school students
Duolingo actually confuses itself by not using kanji. 立ち(tachi) comes from 立つ(tatsu), meaning "to stand", but the "tachi" in 中学生たち is 達, which pluralizes the noun. If Duolingo used kanji, they would never tell you that 達 means "stand", because it doesn't. Without kanji, たち could have either meaning depending on syntax and context (two things Duo's tips don't recognize often enough).
Yes, and no. I agree with you that Duo's tips are often confusing and even misleading because they don't account for context, but 達 is very seldom written in kanji. So in this case, they've done the right thing. The confusion does stem from them not using kanji with 立つ though.
I disagree that the kana is confusing - you would not confuse the suffix ～達 with the verb 立ちます. One is a suffix attached to the end of certain nouns (humans and animals) and the other is a verb. Take this sentence for instance 学生たちは たちました - there's no way you'd confuse the tachi attached to the end of gakusei with the tachi of the verb tachimasu. What I do agree with however is how Duo tips mixes up homonyms and often tells you the wrong meaning - that is definitely annoying. Not sure what can be done about that. I'm thinking it would be difficult to create a program to instinctively know which homonym is supposed to mean what. Maybe it would be possible using the context of the sentence and whether it is attached to a noun or is a verb.
I agree, but I would like to clarify that they aren't homonyms, they're homophones.
homonym (same name) : words that are spelt the same but pronounced differently
homophone (same sound) : words that are pronounced the same but spelt differently
Not that it matters, I just like pointing stuff like this out :p [2019/03/22]
犬 isn't used because that is the kanji for いぬ, whereas ワンちゃん is a slang/informal term for dog based on the sound of the dog's bark. In Japan the sound of a dog's bark is ワン!ワン! (in English it is woof! woof! or arf!). Hence ワンちゃん is another, less formal way of saying dog, arguably like saying doggie in English.
That's an interesting question! I believe Japanese doesn't explicitly have clusivity, as in the inclusive and exclusive "we" doesn't have different forms, but it can sometimes be easily (and strongly) implied by word choice. For example: the exclusive and inclusive words for "our company" are 当社 (とうしゃ) and 我社 (わがしゃ), respectively.
It can also be implied through the use of keigo, with verb being changed to the kenjougo, or humble, form for the exclusive case and the sonkeigo, or respectful, form for the inclusive case.
Honestly though I find this quite difficult because where I'm from, elementary school is primary school and Middle school is secondary school. We have junior college and college (also known as university) but can't translate accurately sometimes because im not sure if 高学 means high school or university. And what is 大学? If that's university, why is it that duolingo had once said that 高学 meant that??
I think you're getting mixed up with 高校（こうこう) which means High school. That I have seen Duolingo has never had 高学 - even when I type it in with my Japanese keyboard it doesn't suggest these two kanji together which is probably a clue that they don't go together or that this is not a word. 大学（だいがく means university. I'm not sure where you live but I'm guessing that Japanese middle school is probably years 7-9. Here in NZ we have Primary school - this goes up to year 6 and then Intermediate years 7 and 8 (although sometimes Primary schools go up to year 8) and then High school is years 9-13.
Sorry. I don't understand. If the verbs don't give the person/persons, a suffix - indicating if we are speaking about one or more persons/things - could be useful (at least for foreign people as we are), is not "odd". . This outside the fact that the tachi be frequently or not used.
I'm not sure what you're trying to say. That I don't know Japanese? I'm not doing the lessons to learn the language - I decided to do the Japanese lessons for a laugh to see what they'd be like. Already fluent. Duolingo's approach is....interesting. The lessons seem to move at a fast pace and while it's good to familiarise people with kanji early on so they get used to it probably not so good when kanji and the Japanese writing systems are not explained at all. (I like to call them writing systems because I think this is a more accurate description - for me alphabet refers to the roman characters (a, b, c) and the Greek alphabet (α, β, γ) that the English alphabet is derived from. I think it's a good idea to learn kana first in the lines and order that they appear in a wa-ei jisho. Apparently, this is how Japanese children learn Japanese and it makes it easier when you learn more about verbs later on and especially for knowing how to quickly conjugate verbs - not just for tense but for different levels of speech - polite, informal, commands etc.
Berto - contest means a competition. I think you mean context. Context can mean things that are implied eg. when we can rightly presume that the subject of the sentence is the speaker and so the subject of the sentence is "I" or if asking someone else a question then the subject of the sentence is "you" - this even if it is not overtly clear - we can still make an accurate guess. Things left unsaid can be context too eg. if the sentence doesn't specify that the subject is s/he, they, a friend, your uncle, a cat then we can guess that the subject must be I (the speaker). Context can also be (as you stated) other information in the sentence.
You had written "Japanese is a language highly dependent on context", meaning - I suppose - that out of contest the sentence can be not clear or easily badly translated. I replied that in duolingo this happens very frequently in any language, so that is frustrating. Kanji means "Chinese characters" from which also the present syllabic double "alphabets" have derived. The fact that the first two thousand kanji are taught in the complete cycle of primary schools means that they can be "nice", but not so easy to learn!
When I said it was highly dependent on context I meant that Japanese doesn't bother stating something that is obvious, for example - if you are talking to someone and you don't specifiy a subject then the person you're talking to can safely assume that you're talking about yourself unless you specify otherwise or if you ask a question - if you ask a question then you're clearly asking the person that you're talking to : )
Yes - you can contest someone's claim for instance. You can also have a contest/competition to see who is the best at something. Different words with different meanings that sound the same probably taken from different languages like Latin and Italian but have the same root origin. English is a really bastardised language my friend.
I'm not one of those down-voters Gabe, but reading Ana's post, I can see why people might.
First of all, let me say that I agree with her opinion that it's odd to introduce たち at this stage of the course. I, like her, did not come here to learn but rather was simply curious about the approach Duo would take (and how far they could go), and have found it quite odd indeed.
However, at least in my experience, to say that the -たち suffix is rarely used is a bit of an exaggeration, which seems somewhat hypocritical for someone who is concerned with people getting the wrong idea about the word's frequency. Perhaps it is used more frequently in a school setting, which I am more familiar with, but it is by no means "rare" in my opinion.
I also don't understand what she means by "obsolete since verb endings don't indicate person". To my knowledge, "obsolete" means "serving no additional purpose". Clearly, たち does what verb endings do not and therefore it is definitionally not obsolete, though her argument seems to be that Japanese people tend not to specify person thus rendering たち obsolete? I would say that the utility of たち is independent of verb endings (and associated subject/person assumptions) since it is appended to nouns, which can behave as the object, complement, target, etc.
Like I said in my comment,
in my experience, to say that the -たち suffix is rarely used is a bit of an exaggeration
("In my experience", by the way, means two years living and working in Japan, six years dating and being married to a Japanese native speaker, and about five of those years being mistaken for a native Japanese speaker (because of my Asian heritage and Japanese ability) by every Japanese person I've met - they often don't realise until I've introduced myself by name or the topic of one's hometown comes up.)
But in case you don't believe me, I've found this definition which includes this note about its usage:
Which makes no mention of its supposed rarity. Rather, it says that it was used honorifically in the past, but nowadays it's just normal and something you don't use for people deserving of respect.
You're right that -たち is used when referring to a specific group, but that rarely happens, right? *sarcasm*
中学生たち is not incorrect, you we could say 中学生たち describing junior high school students and middle school students. You may also say 彼らは中学生when you say they are junior high school students. It is that you do not always have to say 中学生たち just because 中学生たち are plural in English. In Japanese there are many cases plural things and persons are not so strict to be plural forms as you can say "私たちは中学生" saying "We are students."
You're probably getting confused because the 'g' sound in Japanese is more like a nasal 'ng' sound. Lots of sounds from other languages don't look how they are spelt in English. It's usually because we don't have an equivalent sound in English and the person transcribing the language into English has done their best to convey the sound in the nearest sounding equivalent in English - does this make sense? Another example of this is the v sound in voy a comprar for instance (Spanish). It's more like a sound in between the English v and b sound but closer to b, but you can't really convey that with the English alphabet.
Thanks for your explanation...actually my native language (Cantonese) does have the consonant /ng/ so I can hear that in this context it sounds more like ng...so I am wondering if there are instances when the /g/ sound does sound more like /g/? (sorry if this sounds confusing)
I guess it depends where you're from and what flavo(u)r of English you use.
I'm Australian and to me, "secondary school" describes any schooling after primary/elementary school but before university, i.e. grades 8-12, while "middle school" are only the first three years after primary/elementary school, i.e. grades 7-9 in a K-12 school.