1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Japanese
  4. >
  5. "I am a fourth grader."

"I am a fourth grader."


June 22, 2017



I believe there should be some information about the school in the English equivalent. Otherwise it is confusing. Especially when you have to choose between 'middle school' and 'elementary school'. Or can 'school' be omitted in Japanese?


You can just say 四年生です。(よねんせい)


It could mean a fourth year university student but they could get it right by your appearance unless you are a baby-faced midget


Or if you're actually 9-10 but one of your parents is a giant and the other is a werewolf.


4年生です was accepted for me today.


Didn't know a fourth grader was an elementary school student. So sad the lessons here are so America-centered


It's really not being America-centric here. The Japanese school system has 3 main levels (and university).  小学校 is 6 years and 中学校 and 高校 are both 3 years each. They label each grade with which year of school you're in. In this case, we have fourth grade (although, I think year 4 would be an ok, Harry Potter style translation). It's just how the grades are written. It would be America-centric if 中学校一年生 were called 7th graders or if 高校一年生 were called freshmen. Duo's way is a rather literal translation that frankly works well. I don't know what sort of school system you have, but if you demanded that your grade system be translated into Japanese, it probably won't make sense to convert to the Japanese school system style since they're not the same.


I think this is more of a Duo-glitch than an America-centric issue. I'm American, and it didn't even remotely occur to me to add elementary school to my answer - which was marked wrong.

I don't think anyone would actually say "I'm a fourth year elementary (or grade) school student", as the elementary school part would be evident from their age. We would just say "I'm in fourth grade" or "I'm a fourth grader".

Just report it!


I chose "yon nensei desu" and they gave me the answer as valid. Would it be correct to say that?


It's an okay answer. The trouble with not including 小学 is that you could also be saying 4th year university student. It's good to know how to specify.


When I was growing up high school started at first year and went to 6th in Scotland. It may be different now but it is possible depending on where you are that four may apply to various different types of school.


I have two questions. Is it possible to write this sentence using the particle "no"? And I don't know why, but I have this in my mind: when you have compound nouns, use "no". Is it right?


Afaik, の(no) is used for something that is mine/yours/his etc.

Like for example わたしのねこ(watashi no neko(my cat))

Or とりのたまご(tori no tamago(The bird's egg))

Hope it helps you

Sorry for my english


It's also used for attributes, not just ownership.


Is "四年生小学です" also correct ?


No. Let's think about the literal translation of "小学四年生": it's "a fourth-year elementary school student". Would "a fourth-year student elementary school" be corret? No. "四年生小学" sounds exactly like this last sentence. "Sei" is always in the end because it individually means "student" so the adjective ("fourth-year") always comes before it.

I'm not sure, but "四年小学生" may also be right. However, if you think about it, it would sound like the elementary school is in the fourth grade instead of the student (which is not possible because "sei" is always referring to people in Japanese).

An adjective always comes before what it is trying to qualify, right? So "生" = student; and "四年生" = "fourth-year student" (the "fourth-year" indicates in what grade is the student); and "小学四年生" = "fourth-year elementary schoool student" (the "elementary school" indicates what type of "fourth-year" is that i.e. it distinguishes it from a fourth-year university student).


I learned in the forum/comments that in Japan/Japanese things are sorted largest to smallest, general to specific. In this case, elementary school is first, then more specifically, 4th grade. That's it.


why is 年生 grouped together?


It's the kanji for "grade". 年 means year, and 生 is a suffix for student.


So grade 1-6 is elementary school, 7-9 is middle school and 10-12 is high school?


You got it! At each level the numbering restarts as well, so you have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders at each type of school.


小学生四年生です。reads as "shougakusei yonensei desu."


学校四年生です (shougakkou yonensei desu)

Edit to say I asked a native speaker and it seems like 小学校4年生 isn’t that natural and 小学4年生 (shougaku 4nensei) is best.


That's what I think I entered, but it's telling me I'm wrong, and that it should be 『小学四年生です』(no 『校』in there).


is it yonnensei or yonensei?


If you look at the second answer on this italki page, the Japanese person says よねんせい (yonensei).


If you have access to a copy of Genki I, it's in the first lesson, too.


Why there aren't any particles in this phrase? (Or am I missing something?)


If you wanted to specify the subject you could use a particle (私は小学4年生です - watashi wa shougaku yon’nensei desu), but otherwise it's just one of those phrases that doesn't require particles, like 東京出身 (Tokyo shusshin) or 海外旅行 (kaigai ryokou). It feels like there should be a の in between the nouns, but there isn't.


Do we need to specify in which level of education system are we going to talk about? Why? Cannot it just be assumed?


In the Japanese, it can be assumed at least.


How do you know if it's middle or elementary school in this specific case?


Japanese middle and high school are each 3 years and they restart the numbering in both, so you can be a first grader in any level school, but only elementary (and university) have fourth year/graders.


I don't get it! What's the difference between "shiyogaku" and "chiyugaku" ?? Aren't they both "middle school" ?? Please H E L P!!


小学校 (shougakkou) is ages 6-12 and is called "elementary school" in American English.

中学校 (chuugakkou) is ages 12-15 and is called "middle school".


I really have to think about my answers here as we don't use "grades" in England & so I have to kinda guess which grades are in which schools until I learn it more thoroughly. Are which grades in which school the same in Japan as other countries like the U.S? Not that I know either of them, I'm just curious :)


Japanese children start 小学校 (shougakkou) at age 6 as an 1年生 (ichinensei) and finish at age 12 as a 6年生 (rokunensei).

In the US children usually start elementary school at about 5 when they enter kindergarten, then continue from 1st to 6th grade, though some elementary schools only go up through the 5th grade.

Japanese children attend 中学校 (chuugakkou) for three years from ages 12-15 as an 1年生, 2年生, and 3年生.

In the US, middle schools or junior high schools are usually 7th-8th grade, 6th-8th grade, or 7th-9th grade.

高校 (koukou) in Japan is from ages 15-18, and they once again cycle through as an 1年生, 2年生, and 3年生.

In the US, high schools are usually 9th-12th grade or 10th-12th grade, with students graduating at about 18 years old.


why sometimes when you put 私は is accepted and other not? it shouldn't be like that some times is already understood, but begginers like me sometimes needed. It doesn't makes sense


Japanese is a very contextual language. For most sentences like this, you'll know from the conversation who it refers to. Japanese speakers rarely say 私は unless it is unclear that they are about to talk about themselves or when they want to emphasize that something is their opinion. Honestly, the most frequent place I hear it is on Japanese tv, where there are usually a lot of questions about personal opinions or experiences. I recommend not including 「私は」 in your answers unless you're using the bubble answers.


小学四年です ❌なのか⁉️


Duolingo assumes that all learners are from Anglo-cultural background. But I am not. How can I know what grade corresponds to which "level" of school ?


In Japan 中学 middle school and 高校 high school are only three years long, so if you were in fourth grade you would be in 小学 which is six years long


I'm British, and none of this 'fourth grade / elementary grade' etc., stuff means anything to me. Can it be missed out altogether? No-one is ever going to need this stuff and there are better ways of introducing numbers.


That's fine if the Japanese school system holds no personal interest for you, but there are plenty of people here who would like to do things like study abroad or have a job in Japan (and one of the most popular jobs for native English speakers is teaching English, for which it's good to know about the school culture). It's a bit much to say that "no one needs this stuff." If you don't plan to talk to anyone with school-grade kids, kids themselves, or teachers, then it's easily skippable I suppose.

If I recall correctly, this is under the school topic. It's a good way to combine culture with some numbers in Japanese that are more consistent than other counters.

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