Translation:Where is the restroom?
I put "where is the washroom" and it marked me wrong! Washroom is the most common term in Canada. Nobody here says restroom unless they want to mark themselves as from US.
I'm from America and I resemble that remark! :P actually I put washroom too because, while otearai is a bathroom, it leterally means 'hand washing' and I don't feel that restroom is quite right as far as translations goes. I would use W/C too but that's ny British in-laws influence :3
If you go full British you'd be okay. "Toilet" was accepted. I'm Kiwi. We and several Brits and Aussies reported answers that penalised non American English translations early in the beta so it should accept more of the Queen's English now.
do more native speakers use "atearai" vs "toire?" i met one Japanese person who found it really funny that foreigners are taught "toire," but i see it on language learning sites more than "atearai"
I'm not a native speaker, but I've heard トイレ used more frequently in casual settings and お手洗い when you want to sound a bit more "proper".
I think your Japanese friend was amused that have to learn トイレ, because to them, it's 外来語 (gairaigo) or a word that came from a foreign language. So, for a foreigner to have to learn a foreign word, it seems nonsensical; I mean, you're foreign, don't you already know it?
It's the same for me! I was immediately taught トイレ when I started Japanese class.
Washroom shouldn't be too much of a fanciful interpretation in order to be considered wrong in this case no?
I have a lot of nonsensical vocabulary words from watching anime. トイレ is one of them. At least now I'm learning proper Japanese instead of anime slang that would get me either beat up or laughed out of Japan. xD
I know the kind of nonsensical vocabulary words you're referring to, but トイレ is not one of them ;)
トイレ is actually fairly ubiquitously used nowadays, to the point where おてあらい sounds a bit formal/stuffy, and definitely not considered "anime slang".
When with 'lavatory' just to see if it would be accepted, and sure enough it was rejected. Considering that learning foreign languages is supposed to make you more openｰminded, Duolingo is surprisingly parochial.
If you feel your translation should be accepted, then you just need to report it. All accepted translations need to be added manually, so it's best to just stick to straightforward translations and report if the translation that came to your mind wasn't accepted (assuming it's correct of course) instead of wagging fingers at Duo for not accepting every synonym.
This is one of the many cases that shows why kanji would actually make learning easier. "お手洗い" is the place where you wash your hands, while "おてあらい" seems like a mere collection of random syllables.
Would it be more proper to ask the location of お手洗い rather than トイレ when your main intention is to wash your hands, such as before a meal? Or would an entirely different word (sink?) be more appropriate?
That's an excellent point. お手洗い would indeed be the best option in that situation, especially if you're not at a restaurant (which are likely to provide you with an おしぼり if you're in Japan).
Other words are far less natural:
- 流し台【ながしだい】("sink", "washstand") sounds archaic
- 洗面所【せんめんじょ】("washroom", "sink") sounds like your intention is to brush your teeth, wash your hair/face, do your make up or something.
Otearai is not commonly used now, it would be more appropriate if they used トイレ