"I am busy for a little while."
No wonder people are confused, because this sentence sounds totally unnatural in Japanese and is never used in Japan. Duo should stop teaching it. If you want to express that you're busy and don't have time for someone (or something), a very common expression would be 今はちょっと忙しいです, "this time is a bit inconvenient". All the info you need about the word ちょっと you can find here https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/chotto/ . Enjoy!
Gehaktmolen is not only incorrect, but the link he provides as proof (https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/chotto/ ) shows the exact expression in a semantically different example:
地元の町は、ちょっとの間でだいぶ変わりました。 My hometown has changed a great deal in a short amount of time.
Gehaktmolen is incorrect, yet helpful (dank je wel...)
The "very common expression" cited is true (and helpful), but it does not express the English cue.
Would the correct literal intention of indicating the short "time span" here be expressed by using something like しばらく or しばらくの間 ?
The cited common expression 今は does not indicate a specific length of time. It may simply be a polite way of expressing many different meanings, including "today's not good", "i'm not interested" (at all), "don't bother me", etc., whereas the English cue may have intended the equivalent of "i'll be free in just a few minutes" or "i'll be with you in 10 minutes" or "is 20 minutes okay?" or even "i'm almost done"
The cited common expression can indicate anything from the vague 幾らかの時間 to 少しの間
I would suggest that Duolingo used ちょっとの間 in the sense of the latter 少しの間 (sukoshi no ), i.e. shorter time period strategically to distinguish between
(a) "a little busy" and "busy for a little while" (as Jeremy112048 correctly points out);
(b) the use of の in different ways;
(c) the use of 間 in different ways (combinations).
(6) At this level, people will neither be confused for the 1st reason cited: "because this sentence sounds totally unnatural in Japanese", nor the 2nd reason "[because it] is never used in Japan."
(7) this was a friendly, yet polemical post
Bit unrelated but why did you use German ("Einleitung" [introduction] and "Inhaltsverzeichnis" [table of contents])? Setting aside that this comment section is most helpful when kept in English and Japanese respectively, that second German word doesn't even make sense in your message. I understand and agree with your reply, I was just surprised to see two random German words in there.
Since I can't reply to yours, marti_MG, I'll just reply to my own:
Well I do see now what you mean with that whole polyglot speech occasionally using various words from different languages, but you might be interested in having some corrections, if you don't mind. Your use of "Einleitung" was absolutely fine, it's just that "Inhaltsverzeichnis" only refers to the table of contents of a multi-page document, presentation, etc. and not for a short bullet list.
I'm not sure what you mean with "seven points found in medieval Latin texts". I studied Latin for seven years, but that's quite some while ago.
marti_MG and duolingo's phrase "ちょっとの間忙しいです" shows up on 1 time on a ".jp" site using a google search. (It shows up more times on .ru sites lol) Gehaktmolen's phrase "今はちょっと忙しいです" shows up 20 times on a ".jp" per google search. Thank you Gehaktmolen. It's good to know what is actually used in Japan rather than hypothetical translations.
@CraigRenn thanks for the impetus to review! it was fun to verify my initial reaction upon reading your post, i.e., that you ignore the intended meaning and side with a more common phrase that doesn't convey it (please reread my post, in particular see (1) and (4).)
ちょっとの間 忙しい expresses something different than ちょっと忙しい. How would one translate each to reflect this difference?
[good work! interesting statistics, despite the veracity of methodology] 頑張ってね！
I think this sentence is saying specifically "I am busy for a little while" not just saying"I'm busy right now." It's subtle but different. Like in English id probably say "Im busy right now" without specifying but if someone asked me how long id be busy and I was almost done id say "I wont be busy much longer" or "Ill just be busy for a little bit longer." Which i think this sentence satisfies that same idea with its use of 間.
I agree, except that I'd just say "not much." to the question of how much longer I'll be, but since Duo has to set up context with just one sentence for the learners, it makes sense that you'd have to add more information. (Whereas if someone asked how much longer I'll be busy, the context of what is being measured by "much" has already been set.)
I just went on Twitter and weblio. It's used A LOT in twitter with a few different translations in weblio for the same ちょっとの間 phrase.
Weblio: https://ejje.weblio.jp/sentence/content/%22%E3%81%A1%E3%82%87%E3%81%A3%E3%81%A8%E3%81%AE%E9%96%93%22 Twitter: https://twitter.com/search?q=%22%E3%81%A1%E3%82%87%E3%81%A3%E3%81%A8%E3%81%AE%E9%96%93%22&src=typed_query&f=live
Yes, literally it does mean "busy", but what the expression actually means is "the time is inconvenient". ちょっと in Japanese cannot be used to express the quantity of how busy you are, therefore the expression ちょっとの間 (that does try to express the quantity due to の間) does not exist. No Japanese person will ever say that. They will say 今はちょっと忙しいです to express that they have no time for something. More info on that is in the link that I added in my previous post.
@comments saying: "this Japanese seem unnatural" and/or "It sounds weird to me." and even "I don't think it belongs in a Duolingo course""
Koichi (Japanese native + Japanese language teacher) https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/chotto/ shows this expression:
地元の町は、ちょっとの間でだいぶ変わりました。 My hometown has changed a great deal in a short amount of time.
Japanese natives use it abundantly: Twitter: https://twitter.com/search?q=%22%E3%81%A1%E3%82%87%E3%81%A3%E3%81%A8%E3%81%AE%E9%96%93%22&src=typed_query&f=live
In this context, standing alone without another kanji, 間 is pronounced "aida" and means "interval (space of time)." In a different context, it can be "ma," but that meaning is "space, room; pause, a rest (in music); a room; time, leisure; luck, the situation." In the above sentence, 間 is further defined by the particle の, which connects "ちょっと(little) to 間 (while/interval), so the first part of the sentence means "for a little while."
ikr. i think its because we use 's to link two nouns. but seems like japanese dont count "a little" as an adj. if it was adjective it would be translated like "長い間忙しいです" (im busy for a long time). there are two types of adjectives in japanese. い adjs(高い) and な adjs(元気(healthy)). google adjective types in japanese and study a random wiki page for more info.
This would be one of the few times "of" might work (a bit of time). Far more often it's a "reverse" of "of" (i.e. you'd have to read it backwards for 'of' to work). I see it as a way of using the first noun to qualify the second one, usually in the only logical way possible.
間・あいだ is a gap/interval/span/space and can be used with time as well as physical space. With a start and end point mentioned it works similar to "between". AとBの間 - The gap of A and B (between A and B)
父と母の間 - "between my father and mother"
ちょっとの間 - A little while (interval of a little bit)
No, it's not. しばらく is an adverb meaning "for a (relatively) short time", whereas 間 is a noun with a plain meaning "an interval."
This means you can say ちょっとの間 (for a short time) or 長い間 (a long time) or ここにいる間 (while I'm here) or even 京都と東京の間にあります (It is between Kyoto and Tokyo), but you can never modify しばらく, say, 長いしばらく. It would be totally wrong.
You're correct. 〜ます is a polite suffix for verbs (a polite verb ending), whereas です is a polite copula word that is used to sound more polite when the sentence/phrase doesn't have a main verb that should go to the end. です also has the meaning of "to be" as in "Eagle is a bird" (A is B).
So 〜ます is always added to the i- or e-ending short form of the verb, for example 食べる (to eat) -> 食べ-ます , 歩く(to walk) -> 歩き-ます, 買う(to buy) -> 買い-ます, いる(to be, to exist) -> い-ます, ある (to be, to exist) -> あり-ます.
です can be used with practically anything else, including nouns, pronouns, and even adjectives in the right form (some of these may be too advanced, but anyway): 私です。 "(It's) me." 私のです。 "(It's) mine. 人間です。"(I'm) a human." うれしいです "(I'm) happy." 寂しかったです。"(I) felt alone." あそこです。"(It's) over there." 今です。"Now." 食べられない物です。"(It's) an inedible thing." BUT (It) cannot be eaten = (それは)食べられません 。
です has a plain form of its own (だ) while 〜ます does not, as it is but a verb ending in itself. The plain way of saying f.ex. 話しますwould be the dictionary form of the verb, 話す. (Also, Japanese i-adjectives can be used even without the copula, so if you want the polite うれしいです in the plain form, it's notうれしいだ but justうれしい.) The corresponding negative ending for 〜ます is 〜ません, whereas the negative for です is ではありません or colloquiallyじゃありません.
Sorry for writing so long. I hope it's useful for someone.
間 have the meaning of period, you want to say something about that period right? you could for example phrase 忙しい間 as "busy period", but in this case you wanna say "I'm busy for a small period", ちょっと means "short time" and when you combine ちょっとの間 you are modifying 間 with ちょっと because that's how the particle works, compare with ウリエルの犬 which means "Uriel's dog", the last noun in that chain is the one we are talking about.
Thank you for this explanation. If I have understood your comments correctly, both "chotto" and "aida" are nouns, and "chotto no aida" is a noun phrase formed by combining them.
However, if that is the case, I wonder how that noun phrase can be followed by a verb like this. I was under the impression that a noun phrase always had to be followed by a particle to show the role of that noun phrase in the sentence.
Am I thinking about this in the wrong way?
の and 間 are not one single word but a particle followed by a word. What the two mean in the combination の間 depends on context. 'between' only makes sense if previously, two things were mentioned. So の間 only means 'between' if the sentence is structured like ...AとBの間... 間 by itself can also mean "gap" (spatial context) or "interval" (temporal context).
の by itself is just a particle used to couple two words together. Most often it does mark possession, but there are cases where it does not (such as this one). Since "a little bit's intervall" doesn't make any sense, ちょっとの間 essentially becomes "a little bit of 間", so either "a small gap" or in this case "a short period of time", because the sentence is about time.
ちょっと is describing different things in the two sentences
明日はちょっと忙しいです - "I am a little busy tomorrow." - You are describing the amount of busy you are
ちょっと is directly modifying the adjective 忙しい "busy"
ちょっとの間忙しいです - "I am busy for a little while" - You are describing the length of time you will be busy
間 is a gap/span being directly modified by ちょっとの "a little while"