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  5. "大学生ですか?"

"大学生ですか?"

Translation:Are you a university student?

June 13, 2017

64 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Julianne131965

I like the combinations for schools:

小 (small) + 学 (school) = elementary school

中 (middle) + 学 = middle school

大 (big) + がく = university/college


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

Wait, 大 (だい) means university, but also 大 (おお) means big. I'm confused.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/anonamoose52

TL;DR all kanji have multiple pronounciations depending on usage

NOVEL INCOMING:

This is perhaps the largest ommision of this app. All kanji (with very few exceptions) have multiple pronounciations, called readings. Some have a LOT of readings, but most only a couple. You can usually bank on two readings, called on'yomi and kun'yomi. Without getting too much into the history of Kanji, on'yomi is a Japanese approximation of a Chinese pronounciation of that character, and kun'yomi is the Japanese word for that character's meaning. On'yomi tend to be used in multi-kanji compound words (not unlike latin root compound words in english), Kun'yomi are generally used when the kanji is by itself, or has hiragana attached. 大 makes a great example. It's On'yomi, たい or だい, are used when combined with 学 to mean "big study" or College. By itself, we use it's Kun'yomi おお to mean big, or 大きさ (おあかさ) to mean size. Sorry for the novel, hope this clears things up!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrew-Lin

Actually I heard that there is a simple rule for "おお": If the thing is literally/ physically big, then use おお, like 大きい just mean big (large), use "だい" for abstract concept, like 大学 or 大統領 (president of a country): they're not literally "big". However I think there are many exceptions, so just for your reference.


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

Wait, how 大kisa becomes oakasa? I didn't get that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

That's just a typo; it should be おおきさ

(If you look at a regular Qwerty keyboard, you might be wondering how you make that kind of mistake, but on a 12-key flick input layout (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_input_methods#Flick_input) it's a common error.)


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

Also note that the characters for "elementary school" look like "little school"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlejandroV174588

Actually, both dai and ooki mean big and here it's dai gaku like you would say superior school


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roora295060

The word "大" alone plus the hiragana "き い" at the end, means "big" = "大 き い = お お き い". But in general, in all kanji, if you put on hiragana or kanji, the meaning of the word will change. For example: The word "日" means "day", but if you put this kanji with "本" meaning "Book", it will be "日本" meaning Japan ... I believe that because universities are usually big, they put the kanji "大" ...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/garid5

my english may not good but, shouldnt answer be "are you AN university student"???


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gregory293330

That's a good question. The short answer is 'no'. The long answer is that the use of a/an in English isn't strictly tied to whether a consonant or vowel follows. Rather it's the sound made when pronouncing it that's important. University is pronounced with a 'yoo' sound at the beginning, which is a consonant sound in English. Therefore it should be 'A university' not 'AN university'.

Words beginning with 'u' have cases on both sides, eg. 'an underground tunnel.' Another difficult one is 'h'. 'Hot' is always 'a', eg. 'a hot day'. Conversely 'hour' is 'an' - 'it takes an hour.' Then there's 'hotel' which can be both 'an hotel' or 'a hotel'.

The guide should always be how the word is pronounced.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jenn707

Really thank you! English is not my first language, I'm taking this course so I can practice English and Japanese at the same time and although I thought I had a very good level at English I was very flustered because of this sentence. You clarified everything! Thanks!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/andrew.kat

English is my first language and I found this description helpful. It's something that I feel like I know by instinct but never had it put to words. I hope I get to that point with Japanese at some point. Thanks!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/makichi4

Man that was a really good explanation. Thank you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lizardking1470

No because university begins with a consonant it's a. You only us an for words that begin with a vowel sound.

An orange An apple An ouphe It's A trap A university (you not oooo) no n

It's the switch between a consonant sound and a vowel sound that enforces this rule. It's really easy to go between a vowel and consonant sound and vice versa but it basically requires a pause without the switch. A... orange? An trip? Ughh deeply unsettling. The switch allows for the continued flow without that pause.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlfredoEsp13

"Are you a university school student?" Is wrong. But removing "school" seems awkward.


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

To copy my reply from above:

The reason we don't use "university school" is because the words elementary, middle and high are used as adjectives to differentiate the schools. If you say "I am going to school" it could be an elementary school, a middle school or high school that you're going to. However, university is never used as an adjective, so we can't use it here to differentiate a university and, say, a high school. That's why we use university and not university school. Hope this cleared things up for you :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Astaven333

I imagine it's because school is implied when university is used, making "university school" a redundant phrase in this circumstance.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bigdumdum3.14

Yes I am a big school student. XD


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

how would you ask "are you in university"?


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

「大学にいますか?」- "Are you at university?" It can also mean "Are you in university"


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

Am hearing the pronunciation right だいがくせですか?


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

Basically im pretty sure from previous study methids that it is だいがくせいですか, but thats just a minor difference ^-^


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

Is 生 せい or せん?


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

生 is pronounced as せい


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

No, sorry, Nogika is right.


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

And that's why I like Japanese: It's logical and structured. big student ですか ? is ridiculously easy compared to are you a uneversity student?.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cesargeney87

Question for english natives. Why "an university" is not a valid answer?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Please try to read the other comments before posting in future.

"An university student" is incorrect English. We generally use "an" before vowel sounds, which are not necessarily vowels.

The "u" in "university" makes a consonant "y" sound (you-niversity), so "a" is used.


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

I wrote "Are you a college student?" and Duo said it's wrong :(. In other cases, though, I can use college student. What gives? Is there another word for college that I should know?


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

I don't understand why that is marked wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ryo325203

my correction says that it was supposed to be "We are university students". But on here it says "you". Program error perhaps?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Well, it's supposed to be a question, since there is か and a question mark in the Japanese sentence.

But regardless, you should report it since, both "we" and "you" should be acceptable for this translation. It just depends on the context (which we don't get any information about) which one we choose.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sumos23

Seems like there's a bug? I responded are you a university school student but it tells me I'm wrong and that it should be are you a college student


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

"A university school student" is incorrect, or at least unnatural, English. The correct English should be "a university student" or "a college student", depending on which part of the world you're from.


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

I used "Are you a..." and duolingo say: "You used the wrong word" it wants me use "Are you IN..., but, when i opened the board the translation is correct, like my asnwer.

Has anyone else gone through this?


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

For me it says "Is he a university student?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Because the subject has been omitted in the Japanese sentence, it can be implied as any number of things (including "he") since we don't have any context here.


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

Shouldn't it be 'an' university student


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Nope, "an university student" is incorrect English. We generally use "an" before vowel sounds, which are not necessarily vowels.

The "u" in "university" makes a consonate "y" sound (you-niversity), so "a" is used.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Barry560088

Why is this marked wrong when I answer "Are you a university school student?" In the other questions regarding elementary, middle or high the answers accept "school". Hope this question makes sense.


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

The reason we don't use "university school" is because the words elementary, middle and high are used as adjectives to differentiate the schools. If you say "I am going to school" it could be an elementary school, a middle school or high school that you're going to. However, university is never used as an adjective, so we can't use it here to differentiate a university and, say, a high school. That's why we use university and not university school. Hope this cleared things up for you :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Janice823348

Here big means higher education so university (Thats what I feel)


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

Are you a postgraduate? should be accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

No, "postgraduate student" is 大学院生【だいがくいんせい】

大学生 refers specifically to undergraduate students.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MariosHadj2

If I want to ask "Are you university students?" I just add at the end of university student "たち"? Like: "大子生たちですか?" Is that how pural works?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Yes, and no. First of all, be careful with similar looking kanji: it's 大生, not 大生.

Adding たち is how definite plurals work. When you say 大学生たち, you are referring to a specific group of university students. For example: you are the marketing manager at a company expecting visits from several high schools and a university class. You see some older youths milling around the lobby, assume they are the university students and greet them with 「大学生たちですか?」

On the other hand, indefinite plurals in Japanese work exactly like "you" does in English, i.e. "you" can be singular or plural (unless y'all're from the South) and 大学生 can be singular or plural. To continue the previous example: some youths turn up late and you need to send high schools and university students to different rooms. Unfortunately, you were way off base with the first group so you've lost confidence your ability to tell if they're university students or not, but you go with your gut and ask them if they are university students with: 「大学生ですか?」(notice the lack of "the" and たち; they aren't the specific group of university students you were expecting at the beginning.)


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

Thank you! Very helpful.


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

What is the difference betwenn university and high school? (Not native english speaker) is there a difference in Japan? In the Uk? In the USA? I'm confused because the 2 japanese nouns are sometimes inversed in DL...


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

Is there a word for high school in Japanese? I've seen elementary, middle, and university, but it seems to skip high school


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Yes, the word is 高校【こうこう】

I don't know why Duo decided not to teach it. My only guess is that it's the odd one out (all the others are ~学校, but 高学校 isn't correct).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/7G3E
  • 177

not [a], but[an]


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mark487087

In the English language, one meaning of "student" is "learner enrolled at university", therefore not accepting "Are you a student" is a lexical mistake. Please correct


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jack970854

I hate this question. I get so used to writing, elementary school, high school and middle school that when this one comes up, university school gets typed by muscle memory. Whilst sounding dumb I don't think its entirely incorrect.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Carl811419

As I am learning these Japanese Kanji, I am thinking it might be nice to have them translated after I have guessed the right answer (green). Sometimes I am guessing correctly without knowing the full translation. Perhaps this is intentional, a way to make me face unclear word situations & keep going(?) - - - Usually there is just a blank in the green zone after I guess correctly.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LouisWu25

I guess its bit wrong here, First time i'm not going to use "a" because there is no "an" for University. but it's suddenly wrong so that mean I must use "a" even the next word is not an Active alphabet??


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

This is a frequently answered question on this page
JoshuaLore9

"An university student" is incorrect English. We generally use "an" before vowel sounds, which are not necessarily vowels.

The "u" in "university" makes a consonant "y" sound (you-niversity), so "a" is used.

RVJioWts

No, "a university" is correct.

Using a vs. an depends on what sound the next word starts with, not the literal letter it starts with. You only use an when it starts with a vowel sound. "University" does not start with a vowel sound ("yew"), so you use 'a', not 'an.'

For an example of the reverse, you would say "an hour," even though hour technically starts with an h, because "hour" begins with a vowel sound.

Gregory293330

That's a good question. The short answer is 'no'. The long answer is that the use of a/an in English isn't strictly tied to whether a consonant or vowel follows. Rather it's the sound made when pronouncing it that's important. University is pronounced with a 'yoo' sound at the beginning, which is a consonant sound in English. Therefore it should be 'A university' not 'AN university'.

Words beginning with 'u' have cases on both sides, eg. 'an underground tunnel.' Another difficult one is 'h'. 'Hot' is always 'a', eg. 'a hot day'. Conversely 'hour' is 'an' - 'it takes an hour.' >Then there's 'hotel' which can be both 'an hotel' or 'a hotel'.

The guide should always be how the word is pronounced.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andresvarg140747

an university student


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Xuu37

I thought student is always mature and the kids are pupils.


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

I wrote : " Are you a college student?" It's wrong why?

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