Translation:I am Japanese.
Ok this is not related to this question, but rather the beginning of this lesson. So I'm hoping can tell me what is going on here and if duolingo is just using the wrong audio.
At the first lesson they ask what does this "中" sound like. The voice is saying na-ka, but the correct option is "ちゅう" and that sounds nothing like it.
From what I understand sometimes they can be pronounced different, though I didn't read enough to know when that happens, at any case shouldn't duolingo be using a different pronunciation for it, since at the end of the lesson they do pronounce it ちゅう when it's combined with something else.
Well, it's not that Duo is using the wrong audio, per se, but the TTS program definitely needs to be refined. I agree that it's very unfair to new learners to hear なか in the audio, only to have Duo insist that it's ちゅう. Both are correct pronunciations of the kanji 中 though.
The problem is, なか is the correct pronunciation when the character is on its own (or combined with hiragana), and ちゅう the correct pronunciation when the character is combined with other kanji. When you click or tap on 中 for the pronunciation of 中国, Duo's TTS program doesn't recognize what is around it, and so gives you the correct pronunciation of 中 when it's on its own, i.e. なか. If you played audio for the whole sentence, the TTS has been configured to recognize phrases, and you get the correct pronunciation of ちゅうごく.
That's exactly right.
In this case the subject, I, is implied in the context.
Actually, this is a big reason why many people are confused by this sentence. There is no context provided by Duo, so we just assume that "I" is the subject, for the sake of making the English sentence a complete one.
It wouldn't let me use 'You' for some reason - probably because you'd be unlikely to answer that for someone else I guess, but grammatically it would still presumably work, e.g. in the context of a game or a play where you were given a character （’私の国籍はなんですか？’ ’にほんじんです’). Incidentally, if one were talking about an object, would one then use ’日本語’？
"You are Japanese" should be an acceptable answer; the only reason it might not be allowed is because the course developers haven't gotten around to adding it to the list.
If you were talking about a Japanese object, you would generally use 日本の～. You can use 和【わ】to denote "Japanese" for certain objects, e.g. 和食【わしょく】= "Japanese-style food", but it's better to consider these as exceptions/separate vocab words.
ご】refers specifically to the Japanese language.
Why does the masculine/male voiceover say 人 as "hitto" when it's on its own but more like "jin" when it's used in this sentence? And does anyone know why the feminine/female voiceover says it as "jin" when it's on its own, even though "hitto" (person) is not pronounced as "jin" when it's on its own..? I'm just confused.
人 on its own is pronounced as ひと (hito), and not ひっと (hitto). But that's a small detail. If you are curious about this specific kanji, I would advice checking out this website: https://jisho.org/search/%23kanji%20%E4%BA%BA
But I assume you are not aware that kanji can have different readings. 人 has the following kunyomi readings: ひと (hito), -り (-ri), and -と (-to). It also has the following onyomi readings: ジン (jin), and ニン (kon).
On'yomi 音読み: Readings derived from the Chinese pronunciations. Kun'yomi 訓読み: The original, indigenous Japanese readings.</pre>
But if you want a proper grasp of it all, then you should read this: https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/onyomi-kunyomi/ (Or you can google "onyomi and kunyomi difference" and find your own sources)
Also, I assume the Japanese voice uses "jin" when the kanji is on its own because in this exercise it can't be pronounced as "hito".
"U" (う / ウ) and "i" (い / イ) can be pronounced more weakly, that they are practically no longer heard: Between two unvoiced consonants and after an unvoiced consonant at the end of a word.
Hito 人 can be pronounced like h'to. Desu です can be pronounced like des'. Hajimemashite はじめまして can be pronounced like hajimemash'te. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu よろしくお願いします can be pronounced like yorosh'k' onegaishimas'. Ichi いち can be pronounced like ich'. Gakusei 学生 can be pronounced like gak'sei. Roku ろく can be pronounced like rok'. Sushi すし can be pronounced like s'sh'.
But as a beginner you realy should not practice it. Becaus the ≫ ' ≪ IS a vowel. It is a realy weakly pronounced vowel, that you hardly hear it anymore. But an "i" or an "u" is still pronounced.
That is why you should first practice with cleare and distinct vowels.
This ≫ ' ≪ is a peculiarity of the liquid spoken language. An it comes naturally with the practice of hearing, hearing, speaking, hearing, hearing, heraing, speaking, hearing hearing, ... ;D
That's right, the first three characters are kanji, but the last two are hiragana, not katakana.
If you're still not sure, I highly recommend that you at least memorize and get very accustomed to reading hiragana before going further into the course or trying to learn the more difficult aspects of Japanese.
The three writing systems don't always get used in every sentence, but depending on what you're reading, my guess is that on average you'll see about 50% kanji, 40% hiragana, and 10% katakana.
Yes, 日本 can also be pronounced にっぽん. To my understanding, this is a somewhat formal and/or archaic pronunciation though, and typically not used when saying 日本人.
In most cases, while にほん is the common pronunciation, they are largely interchangeable. The only exception I can think of is the Sapporo baseball team, the Nippon-Ham Fighters.