Translation:I borrowed a pencil from Ms. Tanaka.
In Japanese the -san honorific means mr., mrs., or ms. As such you cannot tell the sex of the person by mentioning their name. Some Japanese names are exlusively female or male whereas some names can be both male and female (in some cases they may have different kanji in some, like in our case, they may have same kanji.)
The -san honorific can also have no translation in English when it is used among peers, especially students.
I was fairly certain Tanaka-san was either a man or a woman. I think (s)he goes both ways.
I was confused too, since Tanaka is a common last name. They really need to make such things clear. RIP score.
I have a question for native English speakers, especially Americans. I imagine that this sentence could be said by a student in a school. Someone had borrowed a pencil from a classmate. The thing I'm interested in is if natives address their fellow students as mister, miss etc. Could this perhaps be a thing when speaking about a third person (with the same social standing)?
If American and/or other natives don't practice such formality with each other, Duolingo should accept omitting mr., mrs. or ms. That's what I did. I lost a heart.
No: as a child i never called a peer mr or ms except as a joke. I imagine in this example's scenario, Ms. Tanaka is the speaker's teacher from whom they borrowed the pencil
I think, with not a huge amount of confidence, mind you, that if that were the case it would be 田中先生 (Tanaka-sensei), never 田中さん、hence 6thmonth's question. The Japanese sentence is probably supposed to refer to a fellow student.
Getting new people to learn さん is better than straight out calling them くん or ちゃん. Maybe even せんぱい.
Totally agree. I left off the Mr as well. Some things are just contextual and don't have a direct translation. What would we be expected to do if we see -さま later down the road?
Suffer in our desperate and fruitless attempts to please the relent- and remorseless owl...?
I don't think there is a direct equivalent in English. A shop assistant (or similar) might use "sir" or "madam" in English for increased respect/politeness but it would not be attached to a name the way "~sama" is in Japanese. But then "~san" can be appended to first names and you would never say "Mr John." in English (unless you used their first AND last names).
American students certainly don't refer to each other as "Mr.", "Ms", etc. Boys will often call each other by just their last names.
Yes, that is true. The need for titles only applies to the Japanese most of the time and the titles are odd in English but they are something that has to be covered in a Japanese course.
As someone who has spent half his life in Japan, I would suggest that -san not be translated but just left as is. Teachers are referred to as ~~Sensei, not ~~san. Principals are referred to as "~~Kochosensei". Girl students will probably refer to boy students as ~~san, or maybe ~~kun, while boys will refer to each other as ~~kun, or occasionally ~san. But American students would never call each other "Mr.", "Ms.", etc. It just sounds odd.
That's why I said "titles" instead of "-san." None of them are natural in English but they can't be ignored. Course designers can't give the impression that they don't matter.
I attended American and Canadian schools for about 20 years, and I have also been a student at a Japanese university. American and Canadian students don't address each other as "Mr." or Ms.", period. That would sound really odd. However, Japanese students address each other as "~san" or "~kun", and occasionally as "~chan" especially among lovers. Japanese apparently don't feel comfortable addressing non-family members without some kind of honorific title, while American and Canadian students don't need to use a title. In my dealings with Japanese, both as a student and as a "shakaijin", it ends up that people who know me address me as "~san", instead of "Mr.", even when we are communicating in English. So I suggest that "~san" not be translated but be left as is, with an explanation about its usages.
I'm from the US. When I was in school, we'd have parents helping our elementary teachers. In this scenario Mr. Tanaka is likely someone's dad who helps out with stuff like field trips since he's not a sensei.
I feel it's kind of cheeky of Duo to ask me to look out for the difference between from and form. I was looking at my answer for 5 minutes trying to see what's wrong.
Well i was planning on acing this course until tanaka denied me my satisfacation
Tanaka is a family name and Tanaka san could be either male or female. Unless there were some formal or polite reason for using the title, Americans would be unlikely to add one.
Wouldn't に also work here instead of から since the "from" is implied from かりる?
I'm only asking because other DL answers use this logic. I've put down から but it was に instead.
Good question. The answer should come from a native Japanese speaker. But I'll bet you are right. "Ni" generally indicates some indirect relation to the verb. The translation depends largely on the semantic value of the verb and can be any of several English prepositions.
Not really, the word order is not what a native English speaker would use.
I mistook "kari" (borrow) for "kai" (buy), due to the hasty pronunciation of the Japanese voice!
That's further from transliteration than necessary. Be as literal as possible and only as free as necessary when translating. (It says "from Tanaka" which works in English.)
Your right... it might not have been his pencil, in that case, my translation would have been misleading