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"I am busy for a little while."


June 20, 2017



Can someone explain this one?


間 (あいだ) can be used for referencing a span of time as opposed to if you just said 『ちょっと忙しいです』which would just mean "I'm a little busy" as opposed to "I'm busy for a little while". This is used when you have a set span of time an action occurs.


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...)

  1. The "very common expression" cited is true (and helpful), but it does not express the English cue.

  2. 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 ?

  3. 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"

  4. The cited common expression can indicate anything from the vague 幾らかの時間 to 少しの間

  5. 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?

Japanese Twitter search: 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

[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


So, isogashii doesn't mean "busy," but "inconvenient?"


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.


I see. Thank you both for the clarification!


isogashii (忙しい)means "busy." "Inconvenient" is 都合が悪い...tsugougawarui...literally, conditions are bad.


thanks for explaining this


I think duo did this just bcause using ちょっと and 間 words in the same sentence, Because we know duo sometimes make us "apple" or puttin chair on the desk as you know


That's the most positive votes I've ever seen for anything on Duolingo.

... I mean, it makes sense, since this is a really helpful little run down that's easy to understand.


@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


「ちょっとの間」... まだもっと必要ですか?十分な証拠ですよね。やめて!

もちろん, 十分な証拠ですよ。実生活ではどうですか?
「ちょっとの間」では、十分な証拠は十分なチョコレートのようなものです。同意しません。本当に?証拠があります:時間が飛んで踊ります、そして私はチョコレートディスコが大好きです。したがって, チョコレートの証拠は論理的で, 真実で、美しいものです。このビデオでは、「ちょっとの間」でたくさんの素晴らしい色とまばゆいばかりの光があります。https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WTy2yqKI4w


That helped understanding the difference, thank you


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."


Would be nice if Duo would explain how 間 doesn't need a particle.


I agree as well. I haven't seen any explanation before or after this comment as to why there is no particle. Can someone assist?


it won't accept 忙しい for some reason and demands it in hiragana. At the same time あいだ is not accepted either. please fix


Doesn't this Japanese seem unnatural? I don't think I've ever heard a native speaker use this phrase.


It's an idiom, but not a common one. I don't think it belongs in a duolingo course


Me neither. I've never heard anyone say ちょっとの間. It sounds weird to me.


Do you know what a Japanese person would normally say to reference a short span of time


しばらく is my best guess, but I think I've also heard ちょっとの間.


Why wouldn't you use a topic marker here. Or at least, why couldn't you?


I wish it would play the audio so I can hear what the correct answer is supposed to sound like



【ちょっとの・あいだ→いそがしい -です】


間? how do you even read this in context?


I believe it's supposed to be あいだ here.


ま is for periods of time during which nothing happens. Since the person in this sentence is going to be busy, then あいだ is the reading here.


Oh thats interesting. So knowing how to read it would just be based off of context?


If 時間 had been used here instead of just 間, would That change the context at all?


I'm also curious about this. I thought時間 was for a unit of time. Can anyone help with the distinction between 時間and 間 in this context?


時間 is closer to "time" or "hours" and 間 in this context is closer to "interval of time".


How does the no partical make the chotto posessive? Seems like a very abstract meaning I can't wrap my head around it. I've veen told to think of no like adding 's in English but it just doesn't make sense to me here.


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.


の is used for the possessive, but also other things. Often you should think of it as "of". In this case I think it's just modifying 間 like an adjective would.


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.


I did しばらく忙しい and it is mark right




What does "aida" mean? I think i remember it being used in a context without time


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)


ちょっと: a little の: relates "little" to "span" 間: span of time (while) 忙しい : busy です

A little span of time, I am busy.


Why の is used here?


It connects "chotto" (small amount) with "aida" (span of time.)


Why の is used here?

because it is not informal speech (where it may be omitted)


ちょっと[chotto/just a little/rather]の[previous noun joiner]間[ma/period]忙しい[isogashij/busy]です[desu/is/to be].

Google translate says the reading for 間 is ま[ma] in this case but I do not know for sure.

+My Japaness is poor sorry if it is wrong.+


Why cant it be ちょっと間のいそがしいです?


Because its wrong grammatically. Japanese doesn't match English grammar rules.


Is 間 the same as 暫く(shibaraku)


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.


I'm having issues with でず vs. ます. I'm under the impression that ます Is more verb-related, I think? Does anybody have any tricks for remembering when it should end with です instead of ます And vice versa?


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.


low whistle Thorough reply! Nice! :D


Why is chooto no aida, instead of aida no chooto? Please some one explain this


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.


Why doesn't this need a "に” particle?


Why does Aiida mean time but also mean in between.


間 means "interval, space, gap" it can refer to a span/interval of time as well as a physical space in the same way that "interval, gap" also can refer to both time and space in English.


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?


Why ちょっと忙しいです is incorrect?


ちょっと忙しい - a little busy - refers to how busy you are
ちょっとの間 - a short time span - refers to how long you are busy
There's a longer discussion in the top comment thread of this page.


Is 少々の間 not commonly used?


I've heard 少し時間 used to mean "a little while" too, not accepted though? Likewise しばらくの間.

Edit: 私は少しの間忙しいです is accepted, but the 私は and です shouldn't be required in non-formal usage.


"ちょっとの間忙しいだ" is not accepted.


だ is not used with i-adjectives
i-adjectives act like verbs and can end a sentence on their own. The addition of です here is only to make the phrase more polite.
ちょっとの間忙しい is the casual form


少しの間忙しい isn't accepted though (but it is with です!) For casual speech the の shouldn't really be required either from what I've observed.


I'm puzzled by this one. I thought の間 meant 'between.' Does this translate to 'I am a little between busy'?


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.


Think of it like a gap or a space. In terms of time, it's a span of time so "between" two points (in time.)


Why is の placed after ちょっと? What are the other purpose of の, how do I use it other than being a possessive particle?


is 一寸 same as ちょっと? it's on jisho but on duo it shows only the hiragana form (and rejected my answer )


一寸 is the kanji for it but it is pretty much always written in kana alone.
一寸 is usually read as いっすん when the kanji is used, a measurement


ちょっと(a little bit) の(partice) 間(in between/during[while]) 忙しい(busy) です(am) a little bit during busy i am


What is the usage of 'no' here?


@NathanPund asked What is the usage of 'no' here? plz read the many comments here that address that question.


I answered "I will busy a little while tomorrow" and it got me wrong? please help


@Tranquocth4 Annie might love tomorrow and I might be a nihilist, but there is no tomorrow !! neither in Japanese nor in English:

"I am busy for a little while." Translation:ちょっとの間忙しいです。


The preview pronounced 間 as あいだ・・・ pretty confusing.


That's the correct pronunciation in this context. They actually managed to change a lot of the tile TTS to finally match the pronunciation with the context it's given in. Probably part of the course overwork.


間 it says on JED can mean. Between, interval, gap, and distance in time.


"Chotto isogashi desu" wasn't accepted. I guess it's because that translates more directly into "I'm a little busy" than "I am busy for a little while." In practice, they mean about the same thing, though, right? I'm talking casual conversation.


so we use 間 to specify a time span. so 時間 would litterally mean a 1 hour timespan. right? same as ちょっと間 which means a short time span.


By itself, 時間 simply means "time". With a number attached, it means "hour(s)": There's still time = まだ時間がある We have three hours = 私達は3時間がある




The kanji has that meaning too, so that makes sense



I typed in 「ちょっと時間は忙しいです」 and I don't think there's anything wrong with it. Please coreect me if there is one.


ちょっと時間 is an adverb, doesn't really make sense as a topic.


I am confused with the の間. I key in ちょっと忙しいです but it was wrong. In the following thread https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/23085816 明日はちょっと忙しいです。There is no need for the の間. Why? Can anyone advise?


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"


間 can be a meaning of a period of time. it is read as "kan". just like 一週間 (i shiu kan) meaning a period of time lasts for 1 week. hope this clarify a bit.


かん is one of the readings for this kanji (間), but not the correct one for this exercise. The correct reading would be ちょっとの-あいだ-


There's an audio example for ちょっとの間 at: https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/chotto/


ちょっと忙しい間です。should be accepted.


Actually it says: I am busy for a while

It may sound great in English, but it changes the whole sentence structure in Japanese.

Please delete 'little'.


The "little" comes from "chotto."

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