1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Japanese
  4. >
  5. "They are students."

"They are students."

Translation:彼らは学生です。

June 19, 2017

51 Comments


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

Why is 'gakusei' and not 'gakuseitachi'?


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

Japanese hardly ever pluralizes things and instead refers to things as if they are material.

  • ねこがさんびきいます = "There are three animal-units of cat" = 'There are three cats'
  • かれらは学生です = "They are student." = They are students.

Pretty much anything is always singular like a material until plural is needed, but even then most of the sentence stays singular like a material since more pluralization would just sound weird.


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

This is the best explanation of counters ive seen yet, thank you


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/88sy2

In a faculty of Japanese language in University we were taught that gakuseitachi is also correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexEngels2

if im not mistake it would have to be the subject then.


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

I know this is old, but I will leave for reference

why not 学生たち?

It's not wrong to use 学生たち there, but is not needed, it will sound unnatural. This is because ~たち is not really a pluralizer, is more like a grouping suffix, and in Japanese there is not really a plural or a singular thing, so using 学生 to say something about a group is already understood as what you want to say.

However other sentences might need that same usage to express emphasis on the group.

This is a quick example from google「これが本当の私たちです」"this is the real us", if you don't add the たち there it would just mean "this is the real me".

But in this sentence you are already mentioning you are talking about a group「彼らは」and you are just saying something about that group「学生です」so it's understood that they are students, however a more literal translation would be "as for the group of they(male), is student".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mariboe99

Why not 学生 です that's also right


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

Was accepted now.


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

That would mean "I'm a student"


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

Or it could also mean "he's a student", "she's a student", or what have you. When the pronoun is omitted, it's understood from context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Will-J-Crawford

Yes, but no context is provided, so the only safe option is to include a pronoun. Omission without any context pretty much always refers to oneself unless it's a question.


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

Shouldn't need the pronoun at all


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raius1

Why the ら?


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

It's a pluralizing suffix according to my dictionary


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tperson5

It's referring to the group of boys we were supposed to visualize. Maybe pictures would help?


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

"Kare" is for males, right? I don't understand why it was used here for "they". Or was it treated as a non-gender sensitive pronoun?

Please enlighten me, thanks!


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

It was not kare, it was karera. When you add ra to kare it indicates plural which can be used for both male and female.


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

I think like french, when both gender is unknown or implied, the male gender is used.


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

Ok, but the word "they" in english doesn't have gender, so why is translating as かのじょたち wrong? Do I need to use かれら if the gender is not especified? Someone please help me I need to know


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

I guess it's like in English language where it's more sufficient to refer people as males collectively when we don't know their gender or when we're referring to the general masses. I heard that かれら also means "they" like in general whether the group is composed of both males and females or just composed of all males. However, when the group is composed of only females, かのじょたち is used.


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

I was confused because it could be a group of women,but makes sense, since we can`t really know.Thanks for aswering!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tperson5

Context based language. It was never implied who "they" were, let alone a male group. Use brackets for target pronouns or context. Otherwise "学生です" should be sufficient.


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

I'm wondering if the group identified as "they" is 5 men and 2 women, would we still use "かれら"? I know this is pretty common in languages with gendered words, but unsure of it's applicability here. I prefer to go with just "学生です" just to simplify.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Er.Clancy

You're right on both fronts. 「学生です」 is the most appropriate answer because most of the time any sentence will be understood even without a pronoun. And as for 「かれら」it applies to a group with men in it even if men are in the numerical minority.


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

Wouldn't "学生たち" (gakusei-tachi) count? I mean, it did say "students".


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

For reference~

It's not wrong to use 学生たち there, but is not needed, it will sound unnatural. This is because ~たち is not really a pluralizer, is more like a grouping suffix, and in Japanese there is not really a plural or a singular thing, so using 学生 to say something about a group is already understood as what you want to say.

However other sentences might need that same usage to express emphasis on the group.

This is a quick example from google「これが本当の私たちです」"this is the real us", if you don't add the たち there it would just mean "this is the real me".

But in this sentence you are already mentioning you are talking about a group「彼らは」and you are just saying something about that group「学生です」so it's understood that they are students, however a more literal translation would be "as for the group of they(male), is student".


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

I love that you've probably had to explain this like 15,000 times


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TwT.UwU.

Does this work as a gender neutral pronoun as well as plural? Like how we use they in English?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Will-J-Crawford

彼 is either male or a mixed group; it's not neutral.

The neutral form is あの人。


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

Is there a nutural form of "they"? In previous examples 彼ら refered to groups that mainly consist of men and 彼女たちは mainly women. But in this sentence we don't know the people.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Sicaras

Just out of curiosity, if the "they" it this situation where female 「かのじょら」would be used instead?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FardinKhan0

yes it would be technically correct but i would add the fact that the appropriate one when referring females is "かのじょたち” otherwise it may sound impolite. For guys, かれら is fine most of the time.


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

This is a particular situation herein. It seems in japanesse as well as in spanish, don't exist neutral pronouns. We have different translations for 'they', depending on the gender of the person you are adressing to (I speak native spanish). So that is the explanation I would give to everyone discussing this psrticular case.


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

「彼らは学生です」

【かれ -らは・がくせいです】


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaartenBon3

correct me if I'm wrong but shouldn't それら also be possible instead of 彼ら because それら is a group of people with mixed up gender, isn't it?


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

What about '生徒'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaSamu710073

Is the copula necessary here? I answered 彼らは学生。and it was marked wrong.


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

です is implied with your answer, and should be flagged if it's still marked wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/spKenny14

What? Why cant I use plural?? (たち)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/spKenny14

Why not plural? 学生たち


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PKX2mI

Why isn't -tachi 達 necessary for this translation? In a previous lesson "students" without 達 was marked incorrect.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/88sy2

Why not 'gakuseitachi'? When I studied Japanese in university, we were taught that this is correct


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

Why is かれら required?


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

It isn't (or at least shouldn't be), but it helps to specify that you're talking about "they" as opposed to "I", "you", or "Liberace".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/varkentje123

Just です? No verb? When is it needed, then?


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

でる is the copula. It's not really a verb, but in terms of English grammar you can think of it as the "is" in "A is B". It isn't used to describe existence — "I think, therefore I am" doesn't use です — but rather equivalence, description, or membership. A is B; A is one of B. It serves the predicate function, and true verbs are not used in a clause based on です.


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

彼等学生です


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaymelGarc1

why is it karechi instead of karetachi?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Orion-the-Red

It's actually karera, the plural of kare.

Learn Japanese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.