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  5. "あの、すみません、トイレはどこですか?"

"あの、すみません、トイレはどこですか?"

Translation:Um, excuse me, where is the restroom?

June 26, 2017

63 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joey361185

This is starting to get massively satisfying.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Artist-Engineer

Yes. I want longer, relevant sentences like this.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/blackmajik2049

why does it not accept "um, sorry, where's the bathroom?"


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

I suspect that the authors don't read "sorry" as "excuse me". In other words in their dialect of English you wouldn't use "sorry" to attract someone's attention. Obviously in some parts of the English speaking world you would.


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

If you're a canadian of course


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DDR-Fun

すみません has two meanings. I'm sorry, and excuse me (or literally, I'm sorry for bothering you).

In this context すみません would be "excuse me", not I'm sorry. It alk depends on context


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tsuj1g1r1

But attracting somebody's attention can be cause for apology, depending on the circumstances. If they're talking to somebody else and you interrupt them, you could very well say "sorry" instead of "excuse me," even in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Scott139050

This only works with more... like sorry to interrupt or sorry but i disagree etc. Interrupting with sorry where is the bathroom is missing what you are sorry for. Sorry for bothering you... and so on


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

In some English speaking countries, "sorry" is a standard term equivalent to "excuse me" in others.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/William415101

In Southern USA "excuse me" can be SASSY, so we usually say sorry or something along those lines.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Scott139050

Can you give an example country please?


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

That would be true in American English, where you couldn't automatically substitute "sorry" for "excuse me" but it's not true on much of the English speaking world where you could.


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

I find it odd that Duo's answer requires the "uh", since, in English, we wouldn't normally write that word in a sentence, and it's mostly a byproduct of natural speech, not so much a word we teach to people learning English. I assume that あの serves as a little bit more of an actual word in Japanese, and has a more genuine purpose, like an actual article of speech of some kind, but translating it, the sentence means the same in english with and without the "um".


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

It's also awkward that it requires a specific filler word - this time I wrote 'eh' and it said I had a typo and it should have been 'ah'. Another sentence I wrote 'ah' and it did I should have written 'um'...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tsuj1g1r1

They're teaching us how to say "um" in Japanese. Fillers are actually extremely useful words to know in other languages, since they are so versatile, and knowing them immediately helps you turn a small vocabulary into complex sentences by tying your simple sentences together. Why do you assume that we don't want to know how to produce natural speech with all its byproducts in our Japanese?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lars-keSmi

I have also heard from a friend of mine that now and then japanese people do not realise that you as a foreigner talk japanese with them. But if you start a sentence with "ano..." it immediately clicks.


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

Yes, but there's a big difference between translation and transliteration. A proper translation would tell how one would say it in English, where the filler words would be left out, especially in formal or written English.

It's also something that a native English speaker would be chastised by a teacher for including in speech.

If you wanted to teach a Japanese speaker how to say that phrase in an English speaking country, you wouldn't tell him that he should start by saying "um."

It would make sense to teach the Japanese word, give examples of when it's used (such as this one) and accept a proper translation if one existed. If the program really wants to assure that a person knows that the word means "um," it could show the word on its own and ask for a translation.

But that would be pointless because it's a filler word, not one with a literal translation. If I go to any translation program and ask it to translate "um" (or vice versa) it wouldn't work. It might as well translate it to " [clears throat], excuse me,...."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Profe-Efe

Actually, I think that giving people a filler phrase immensely helps them early on with conversations - especially when they may need an extra moment to process information or formulate an answer.


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

I think Duolingo is an improvement over traditional teachers in that it teaches this word in a context it would be used naturally instead of sticking to textbook grammar.


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

A traditional teacher would certainly teach あの and say where it could be used. A teacher would accept it if you used it in an answer, either spoken or written. A teacher might even ask you what it means on a test. But a teacher who did that would also recognize that somebody who translates it to "excuse me, where's the restroom" understands what it means.

A Japanese teacher would also teach some of the "tug words" such as "ne" used at the end of sentences. But that was explained in class as a spoken thing, and wouldn't have been on a written test.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Frigorifico9

I can see now that すみません is a negated verb, so please, instead of translating it as "excuse me", can someone tell me what this literally means?


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

It comes from 済む (read すむ), which means "to complete, to come to an end". It seems that すみません means something like "there's no end to my rudness/debt", basically. Hope I helped you a little ^^


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

In this situation すみません has the meaning of "Excuse me" rather than "Sorry", or literally "Sorry for bothering you". Also トイレ is informal so it doesn't make much sense to use it in such a formal sentence, お手洗い~~おてあらい, is the formal way of saying bathroom, or literally "Hands Wash".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AshutoshKu704576

What's wrong with Toilet. While answering i wrote TOILET instead of RESTROOM. Why it is wrong, can someone tell me, please.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ehartz
Mod
  • 679

"Toilet" is included among the accepted answers. Please double-check that you did not make another typo.


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

This is the most important sentence so far


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flish32

I love the humanity this adds, the slight awkwardness that the あの gives.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lars-keSmi

But the word "Lavatory" was marked as wrong.


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

The translation for lavatory would be お手洗い which literally means hand wash place, since a lavatory is literally a place to wash.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sarakt1

I used bathroom instead of restroom and it did not accept it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iad58g
  • 1390

It was right. A bathroom is, first of all, a place to bathe. A toilet is not.


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

That's true, but the Japanese often say "おてあらいはどこですか" which literally means "where is the hand wash place." There are euphemisms in both languages.


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

Actually お手洗い is おてあらい


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iad58g
  • 1390

Euphemisms are a good thing, but they shouldn't be allowed to create confusion. If I'm taught that a certain word means ‘bathroom’ and I use it when asking about a place where I can wash or bathe and am directed to a place fit for other things, I'll have been misled.


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

It's not misleading to use something that's standard in a given place. Also, in English, we have many euphemisms that mean a place to wash or bathe that are used to refer to places for other things. Examples in English would be toilet, lavatory, restroom, and washroom, all of which refer to places for grooming, washing or bathing.

You could eschew euphemisms completely in English and ask for the location of the toilet bowl or urinal, but I don't think that sticking to one of the common euphemisms would cause problems.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jerry228340

When is used "ha" and "ga"? "Ha" and "ga" are used here, but why? -Toire HA doko desuka? -Teiburu GA nanatsu arimasu (Sorry for write in romaji)


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

は used as a particle is pronounced "wa" and is used to indicate the subject. It can be helpful to read it as "as for" like トイレはどこですか "as for the toilet, where is it?"

が is similar but different to は. が marks the object (if i remember correctly) so when counting the number of tables, you'd use が rather than は because you're not making the sentence about the tables, just indicating what the number is describing. テイブルが七つあります。Tables, there are seven.

The differences between は and が are pretty complicated and I'm not an expert, but this is my basic understanding. Hope it helps!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tsuj1g1r1

"Ga" marks the subject actually. "Wa" marks the topic. Using "wa" marks something as outside the new information provided by the sentence, without specifying how it relates to that information, while using "ga" marks something as being part of the new information provided by the sentence, and at the same time specifies that it is the doer of the action in the sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hav0x-

I had "Tap what you hear". And i did it literally perfectly and it corrected me and told that the right answer would have been: あの、すみません、トイレはどこですか? <-- This is literally what i had there... I would provide a gyazo screenshot for proof, but i don't know if links to other websites are allowed in the comments.


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

I wonder why あの (Um) is used instead of just Excuse me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tsuj1g1r1

So we can learn it.


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

What's funny is that technically, "Um, excuse me, where is the John?" could also work because John is slang for restroom in America.


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

True, but when you teach slang, you risk people not knowing when to use it. I've heard Japanese businessmen use "gonna" because, presumably, they were told that was how natives spoke, but it ended up sounding out of place, especially in the meeting environment.

It's best to understand slang but avoid using it, until you are integrated into a society.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ehartz
Mod
  • 679

The general rule is that we don't accept slang answers unless it's in a skill specifically teaching slang.


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

I'm not sure who "we" is but I assume that you mean the Japanese course staff as opposed to Duolingo. Because in other language courses, I find slang being thrust upon people without it being explained that it's the slang usage that's meant.


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

restroom = american english. toilet = english...


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

erm can sometimes be used instead of um, but not here. why?


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

Why is 「あの、済みません、トイレはどこですか。」not accepted?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lars-keSmi

Toire - is that the name of a western style toilet. And benjô the name for the traditional?


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

I was told that benjo is more akin to outhouse and if you ask for one, you risk insulting someone. If you ask for トイレ, people will know what you're asking for and if they don't have a western style toilet, they will direct you to what is available.

It's possible that the person who told me didn't have the best grasp of English and outhouse wasn't the best word, but the notion was the same.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Maksim295853

Wth, excuse me and i'm sorry its the SAME THING, why the sentence "um, im sorry, where is the restroom" is wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ehartz
Mod
  • 679

Fun fact: a monstrously large amount of people have tried to insist that "I'm" is an appropriate substitute for "Um." It's not, sorry. We accept lots of variants for "Um," but "I'm" is most certainly not one of them.


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

They might be suggesting that "I'm" is an autoincorrect of "Um", and could be flagged as a typo, and not an incorrect response.


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

Not "might." Almost definitely. It might not be possible to get Google not to do that without disabling autocorrect completely, or explicitly overriding it. For Duolingo to have the arrogance to say that Google's software doesn't recognize normal usage but theirs does shows who is out of touch.


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

"I'm" may not be an equivalent, but that's partly because in standard English, no interjection would be used. "excuse me" already serves that role in English. You might want to accept "ano" as the translation, which is what's often done with words that don't have a direct translation. Using a random interjection and rejecting others misses the point. "Um, excuse me" is not how anyone would say it in English, and any Japanese speaker who wanted to learn how to say "あの、すみません" would be told to say "excuse me."

You should consider the real reason that so many people say I'm. It's because a standard Google keyboard will think that "um" is a typo and change it automatically. You should probably accept "I'm" with a message saying that you have a typo. It's very hard for people to answer "um" without it getting corrected.


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

I don't use a google keyboard, but I have the same problem. I had to add "um" to my keyboard's dictionary.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ehartz
Mod
  • 679

"Standard English"? So no speaker of standard English hesitates before saying something because they're nervous or uncertain? I certainly do sometimes, but I maybe that's just because I don't confidently walk up to someone I don't know and ask them a question. Guess I'm not a standard English speaker, then.

The typo acceptance policy (though it differs a little between courses) is that if your typo forms an actual word, the system does not accept it as a typo, because we have no way of determining whether it is a typo or whether you legitimately don't know what the word means. I'm entirely certain that autocorrect is the reason that people are reporting it - but it's still wrong, and to insist that it's correct just because "my autocorrect made me do it!" is no reason for us to add incorrect answers to our list of (correct) alternate responses.


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

They might but you wouldn't put it in writing and say that it's the proper way to say it in English.

I'm not suggesting that you should accept "I'm" as correct. I'm suggesting that you say "You made a typo." But even better would be to allow people to leave it off completely because an English speaker would never say that the correct way to form a sentence is to start with "um." What you are really telling me is that your typo acceptance policy makes no sense, because there's no reasonable chance that anybody thought that it means "I'm" and you know that it's a typo. Policies should be formed based on what makes sense, and not the other way around. So the reason for adding it is that you are certain that it's a typo.

If you want to teach people that if they want to say "excuse me, where is the restroom" in Japanese, it's common to put "あの" in front of it, that's fine. But if you were teaching English to Japanese and they wanted to know how to say "あの、すみません、トイレはどこですか?" they would be taught to say "excuse me, where's the restroom" in any school, and it would make no sense to suggest that they need to say "um" first.

The irony here is that for other languages, there are people explaining the opposite, and when somebody asks why there isn't a word for word translation, either a moderator or somebody else explains that just because it's done one way in one language doesn't mean that it's done that way in another, so it won't always be word for word. But in this course, that goes out the window and we are told to write the word "um" when nobody would say that it's a standard part of the phrase.

But if you are so sure that "um, excuse me, where is the restroom" is how we would say that in English, then maybe you should tell the people who do the French course that they should translate "Où sont les toilettes" as "um, excuse me, where's the restroom." Or you can admit that's not the way that anybody would teach an English learner how to ask that question. It's also not anything that a native would learn in an English class.


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

Ugh, I have seen uhm, um, ehh, ohh and ugh in writing.


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

But you wouldn't teach people that that's the proper way to say things. You might see that in a work of fiction that's trying to portray what a person might say. But that's very different from telling a person that it's proper to say "Excuse me...excuse me..could you...could you tell me where the restroom is?" Somebody might actually say that, but it's not what anybody would teach as the right way to say it in English.


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

Bathroom, restroom, whats the difference???


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iad58g
  • 1390

A place where you bathe or shower. A place where you relieve yourself. What is the similarity?

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