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  5. "そこはどこですか?"


Translation:Where is that place?

June 14, 2017



For my answer, I put "where is there," and I got it wrong, and was corrected to "where is that." I though そこ was there and その was that.


This is an English issue I think. "Where is there" sounds grammatically incorrect to me (a native English speaker), probably because "there" is only used as a location pronoun for the subject, whereas the object pronoun would be "that (place)". I could be wrong, not a grammar expert.

You're probably better off thinking of そこ as meaning "that place" (and あそこ as "that place over there" and ここ as "this place") to avoid confusion in the future. It's also easier to generalize to the other KSAD words; これ = "this thing", それ = "that thing", あれ = "that thing over there"; こんな = "this kind of", そんな = "that kind of", あんな = "that (over there) kind of", etc.


I'm glad I'm not the only one! I agree though, we probably wouldn't say that as a native English sentence :) Guess this is just what happens when we're trying to translate little partial sentences without any real context.


Well, I would say "Where is there" sarcastically when someone says "I'm here" when I don't know where they are. Since そこ is used, I get the feeling of that situation here.


That's definitely a plausible situation to use the Japanese sentence in too, and in that case, it makes sense in English.

Context is important, and I think you're purposefully using incorrect (English) grammar to highlight the unhelpfulness of someone's declaration of "I'm here".


This is exactly how I read it.


I'm a non native speaker and sometimes it irks me that Duolingo seems to judge me for my grasp of English as much as for my grasp of the language I'm learning... but also, I do understand why they do that -_-


That then is why they offer the language using different bases, they needed to assume you are a fluent speaker of the base language. Doesn't help though if they don't offer it in your native tongue.

Though to be fair, your comment does seem fine, but can't gauge your fluency by a small comment.


Yeah, I had the same problem. I am a native English speaker. I would naturally say; "Where is that?" but I had a feeling that might be rejected so I said "where is there" I didn't think of wording it as "that place" I think I am going to test "Where is that" when it comes back around.


Same here, and I cannot accept "that" since "that" alone does not refer to a location, and even less "that place" because it wasn't その場所はどこですか I know it sounds terrible but "Where is there" is the closest translation I can think of without inventing things that were not said.


I can sympathize with your rationale, but if you're trying to translate Japanese to English without inventing things that were not said, you're going to have a bad time. Japanese is the king of saying things without actually saying them.


I rather want duolingo to recognize this and allow more answers as possible since there is no such thing as a literal translation. As long as I get the general meaning right, it should be accepted. Seems like me reporting my answer as it should be accepted did not help here.

You don't know if there was a place or some other kind of location. Maybe the speaker does not even know and asked because the listener talked about it without telling clearly...

So depending on the context, "there" could be a place, then you can translate it with "that place", but it could also be something entirely different. Or even something yet unknown to the speaker.

So the problem with "that place" is that dulingo would also have to accept "that street", "that corner", "that house", "that lake" and whatever, when you agree that "inventing things" is possible. Won't work, right? So better start accepting the translation that does not invent things.


Like I said, I agree with you in part; I, too, want Duo to recognize more possible answers, but be aware that the course is still in beta. I'm sure the course developers have a lot of suggestions to comb through, so it's not like your reporting of it did not help, it just hasn't yet.

That said, Duo is just a learning program for English speakers. You might say that "I go school" and "Are you student" convey the general meaning, but I hope we can all agree that native English speakers (whom this course is ostensibly made for) would instantly recognize those as incorrect sentences. For that matter, how does one know if you meant "I go to school" or "I go from school"? Or "Are you a student" or "Are you my student"? When it comes to learning, it's better to be absolutely sure that both sides mean the same thing, and all Duo has to judge your understanding of the Japanese with is what you input, so if you put in incorrect English, like "where is there", it can't say whether you interpreted the Japanese correctly or not.

The problem with "that place" you seem to have doesn't feel like a problem to me at all. I don't think I can come up with a "kind of location" that isn't also a place; place and location are synonymous.

And while I never said that Duo should accept "that place" (I said that "you're better off thinking of そこ as "that place"", as a learning tool rather than as a translation), accepting "that place" doesn't necessitate having to accept "that street", "that corner" or anything else. All the examples you gave are also "places", so "place" is a broad category that can apply to all the possible things そこ could be referring to.

Unfortunately, inventing things is part and parcel when it comes to translating JP>EN, but that doesn't mean that you can add anything you like. It means understanding how Japanese is used and what is being conveyed through context. It's impossible to get through even the Introduction lessons in this course without "inventing things". Or are you saying Duo should only accept "Am John" for ジョンです and not "I am John" or "He is John"? "Context" isn't some magic thing that allows you to say そこ if you're not referring to a place; it helps you decide whether "I am John" or "He is John" is more appropriate.


Perhaps this hasn't always been true, but in English as it is spoken now, "place" is primarily a synonym for "location", rather than being a particular kind of setting comparable to a street or a house. So I think that translating "soko" as "that place" is fine.

"Where is there," just isn't a grammatically correct sentence in English, so it should be rejected for that reason alone.


If i remember right, そこ is used for places while その is used for things.


They are, but その cannot be used on its own, it can only be attached to a noun. You can say "I want that apple" and "that apple" translates to そのりんご, or you can point to the apple and say "I want that" and "that" would translate to それ.


21/08/20 - "Where is there" is accepted as an answer. Grammatically doesn't make sense unless someone says "I'm there!" and you reply sarcastically "Where is 'there'?". Still, it's accepted now!


21/08/20 - The official translation has also been updated to "that place" instead of just "that". (I noticed a little while back.)


Since we are talking about a place, why the particle used is 'wa' and not 'ni'?


It's not quite as simple as は for things, に for places. に is often used with places because it is a particle which indicates direction and location. You can kind of think of it as "to" or "at/in".

In another question, あそこにあります is literally "at over there, (it) exists" which becomes "It is over there".

Here, あそこはどこですか is literally "as for over there, where is ?" which becomes "Where is that (place)". Using に is strange here, because the verb です doesn't indicate movement, so the "to" translation of に doesn't work.

Using the "at/in" translation is weird too; "at/in over there, where is (it)?" In Japanese, you would have say あそこどこですか (literally "of over there, where is it?") to mean "where, in that area over there, is it?"


I think because you're asking about "there". What is over there? You'd use Ni if you were going there, not asking a question about there.


ここ= here (by me) そこ = there (away from me, close to you) あそこ = over there (away from both of us) This sentences tranlation doesnt make sense to me be cause "そこはどこですか?" Translates as "that place near you, where is it?" OR "where is there?"


The word そこ can also be "the place you mentioned", in which case the sentence makes complete sense.


In Brazilian portuguese: "Onde que eu tô, será que estou em Alagoinha?"


That's right, my friend certíssimo, amiguinho brasiliano!!


I believe the context for this sentence implies two possibilities. i.e,

  1. the person asking the question is doing so over the phone (where the receiver of the question is already at the location physically) - hence そこ。 or,
  2. This sentence is incorrect and it should be あそこ because that implies the location is by neither of the speakers, and why else would そこ be used in this context :)

let me know if I'm wrong please! (""(O.o)/"")




Note however that both 其処 (そこ) and 何処 (どこ) are usually written in kana only.


Since そこ refers to a place by the listener, why is "where are you" incorrect? Is "Where am I" for "ここはどこですか?" also incorrect?


I'm also curious about this since it makes the most sense for "Where are you?" to be the correct English translation here.


In a very similar sentence it all started with an お, anyone cares to explain? Thanks in advance!


Not sure about お but there is a sentance that reads "あそこはどこですか".

I'm pretty sure そこ means "that place there" while あそこ means "that place over there". It just differentiates the distance from the person to whom your speaking.

There is also the word ここ which means "this place here"


A similar pattern applies for pronouns as well (this, that). これ is this, あそれ is that and あれ is that over there.


There is no あそれ。 これ、それ、あれ、どれ。


Jeremy is correct. With all the phrases describing location, you will have 3 different choices. Each will depend on where the subject being talked about is in relation to the person you are speaking to and yourself. So for these, ここ is for something that is close to you. そこ would be for something that is not so close to you, but near the listener or in generally close proximity, and あそこ is for something that is not close to either. Think of them as "here", "there", and "over there" respectively.


Older English has it too. This, that, yon. Hither, thither, yonder.


Can someone please explain the difference between "where is the room" and "where is THAT room"


Usually none. It is just that in English, you always have to qualify “room” with an article that reflects its relation to the context of the conversation, whereas in Japanese (and in Russian, BTW) you don't have articles at all, and if you want to stress that relation, you need to use a demostrative pronoun. I.e., it would be perfectly all right to translate あのへや as “the room” given an appropriate context.


Why use は here instead of に like previous question?


The short answer is に signifies direction, while this is a stationary place we're asking about, we're not necessarily travelling towards said place. For a longer, better explanation, see JoshuaLore9's comment.


In the past 2 years (almost) of learning japanese at an university, this just sounds weird. If some context was included i can see it working...but just out of the blue is confusing


そこ refers to the area by the listener, right? So this question would be pretty silly unless you were talking to someone in the phone.


Not necessarily as silly as you might think. Words like ここ/そこ/あそこ, which are differentiated based on the distance from the speaker/listener, can be based on physical distance or cognitive distance.

Physical distance is pretty cut and dry; it's what everyone tends to think of first with these words.

On the other hand, cognitive distance is harder to pin down because it relies even more heavily on context. You can think of it as depending on the "distance" between the concept of the location and who introduced it into the conversation.

In the following examples, assume "you" are the speaker and "your friend" is the listener.

  • ここ ("near" the speaker): you are reading a magazine, and see a page advertising some luscious rainforest. It doesn't specify where "Daintree" is, so you ask your friend - ここは"Daintree"だって。ここはどこですか?= "It says this is "Daintree". Where is this place?"
  • そこ ("near" the listener): your friend tells you they found a really interesting place to go mountain biking and shows you a picture their friend sent them. You want to go too, so you ask - へぇ、そこはどこですか?= "Woah, where is that place?"
  • あそこ ("far" from both): you and your friend are watching a Japanese variety show and they show a segment with some beautiful beaches. You want to look up flights to get there, but you forgot the name of the place, so you ask your friend - さっきのビーチ、あそこはどこでしたっけ?= "Those beaches from before, where did they say they were again?"


Wait a minute...

Remember when we learned that それ meant "that" as in close to the listener but not the speaker, and あれ meant "that" as in not close to the listener or the speaker?

Is it a similar thing with そこ and あそこ?


Exactly! It's literally the same thing; the prefixes will be the same to describe the location of objects or places.

ここ - here

そこ - there

あそこ - over there

どこ - where

Check this out for more info, but it's awesome that you figured it out by yourself!



Yeah, especially since あそこ isn't just あこ. So very good you figured that out. I had read it in a comentaround then. Since you figured it out you will also figure it out but I will tell you. It is the same with この, その and あの, where it is again this, that and that ~の comes immediately before a very, e.g. この りんご being this apple (as opposed to just a general apple).




English is the worst intermediate language possible for translations, since it lacks a lot of features many other languages have. This is specially true if you're learning Japanese, which is why i think the japanese course should be available in more languages.

~ For portuguese speakers ~ Tudo o que precisamos saber é que: ここ = Aqui そこ = Aí あそこ = Ali No caso dos pronomes demonstrativos, temos traduções exatas também: これ = Isto それ = Isso あれ = Aquilo この = Este その = Esse あの = Aquele

And that's pretty much it, no need for complicated explanations.


How come "where is that" wasn't ok? Without context it's hard to tell if it's about a place or thing. Or i just have a misunderstanding about it and would be glad to be enlightened


While 'where is that?' could refer to a place in English, it's very ambiguous. そこ Specifically refers to a place (that place related/close to the listener) so the translation required it without further context.


What about "Where is there?"


'Where is that' was my answer and it's correct. Maybe, they have updated the list of acceptable answers


Would the sentence be still correct and retain the meaning after removing "asoko wa"; i.e. just saying どこですか (doko desu ka)?


It would still be grammatically correct, because you can omit just about anything in Japanese (with the exception of the verb or copula, which can only be omitted in casual speech); this is especially true of the topic, which is not in any grammatical relationship with anything else in the sentence.

However, it might or might not mean the same, depending on the context. The difference between including あそこは and omitting it is that between «Where is that [which we were talking about]?» and «Where is that [which is implicitly understood]?». That is, not much, but it's context-dependent.

Note that pronouns like あそか can (in Japanese as in English) refer to things both by their physical proximity and by their logical involvement in conversation (anaphora).


Why is it "Soko"? That means "There", doesn't it? Surely "That" would be "Sore", would it not?


"Sore" refers to objects, "soko" refers to locations.


"soko" also means there, and it even says it in Duolingo. That being said, why will it not let me say "where is there?" (even though I do believe it sounds a bit crude), and only lets me say "where is that?"? I understand that it also means "that place", but why is that one preferred then?


This has already been discussed a number of times on this thread. Please read the other comments before posting.

「This is an English issue I think. "Where is there" sounds grammatically incorrect to me (a native English speaker)」


Why is a native English speaker putting Japanese quotation marks around one of their English sentences?


I think I posted this before I discovered how to do quote blocks, and they look nicer than English quotation marks for quoting a block of text.


in what situation we could use a phrase like that?


Someone could be talking about their travels and they stopped over at an airport whose name you're unfamiliar with: そこはどこですか?

You could be getting in a taxi in Japan and mess up saying the name of your hotel: そこはどこですか?

Your friend could send you a picture out of the blue of a park or a beach they're currently visiting: そこはどこですか?

You could be lost in Japan, frantically trying to figure out where you are on the tiny guide map you got at the tourist information centre because your phone died from all the pictures you've been taking, when you see a big shrine down the road and decide to use it to get your bearings, but you can't find it on your map, so you ask someone standing by the entrance: そこはどこですか?

[deactivated user]

    Why not それはどこです, because それ means "that one'?


    That is asking a slightly different question. そこ means "that place", so the exercise here is asking where that place is located. それ, as you say, means "that one" or "that thing" so it's asking where some item/object is located.


    souldn't it be arimaska and not desuka ? and doesn't have to be a ni behind doko?


    I am interested in knowing why "Where is over there?" is not accepted because it is a literal translation. It's often that when I translate Japanese, I have a tendency to use the literal form.


    Is "そこはどこ?” an incorrect translation? I thought you could drop the ですか for casual speach?


    Duo though is not teaching casual speech. Sometimes casual speech is accepted in answers but I think that is from users flagging that they should be accepted, whereas in the lessons Duo teaches more formal speech.

    (I think it can be dropped for casual but not 100%.)


    This sentence is really bad in English. If you could indicate the place you wouldn't need to ask where it is. If you couldn't indicate it, wouldn't "ano tokoro" make more sense than "soko"?


    I'm still not sure what this sentence is supposed to mean in English. Are we talking: Fred's house? I get "where is (a specific place, i.e. Fred's house)? However, if someone was talking about Fred's house and you said "where is that place?" people would look at you and wonder if you needed to be rebooted or you missed the last OS update. This is maybe a literal translation, but not a practical translation. Now, maybe the English translation should be technically grammatically incorrect, but still socially acceptable, i.e. "Where?" With "is that place" in parentheses. Assuming that I'm understanding it. I'm just guessing. I'm also hoping it's not an English sentence Japanese native speakers are learning.


    What is wrong with "That place, where is it?" - wouldn't that be the literal translation? ... I mean besides that no one talks like that but master Yoda ...


    Does place mean both そこ and ここ ?


    Whoops, looks like you responded a couple times by mistake. (You can delete the others though.) ここ would be "this place" as in where you are, そこ would be "that place", where the person you are talking to is. So in this example you are likely talking to someone on the phone.


    Is it valid to say そこはどこにありますか?

    as you can translate Where is it? with どこですか? and どこにありますか?


    Does this not translate to "Where is it?"


    I think that might just be どこですか, whereas here you are specifying what the "it" you are talking about is.


    There's nothing that explains "that place"


    There's nothing that explains "that place"


    そこ would be "there" or "that place" indicating a location near the listener

    ここ - "here/this place" (near speaker)
    あそこ "there/that place (away from speaker and listener)


    Also accepts "where is there" lol.

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