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"アメリカ"

Translation:The US

June 29, 2017

99 Comments


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

just as a funny note: アメリカ looks for Hebrew speakers just like מניאק which means "A**hole" in Hebrew... Consider the painful history Japan and the U.S have and it gets a whole new sense...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Grant632872

Thats funny. It reads as "maniac".


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

This can't be a coincidence hahahahaha You made my day, sir/lady.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mrcqm1

Would depend on when katakana was invented/formalized, wouldn't it? XD


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

Katakana and hiragana are both simplified versions of other kanji. Look it up on wiki. They weren't invented but more or less evolved.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PolyGoat8

japanese has... a lot of strange roots. I understand different roots... english-french, russian-slovak, etc. but... japanese.... it combines everything. I mean for a long time, japanese has been using words that are from like... every root. I would take the hebrew-katakana thing more seriously, thank you for pointing this out.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PolyGoat8

i want everyone to keep thinking on this, even if you're a beginner in japanese. when you see a word, thinking about how it sounds/looks and how it directly corresponds to another root... (this is the only language i've found that's been using greek, latin AND asian side roots way back in history) just keep relating them...


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

Umm why was there no america option i get the US is america but still lol


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

It was "America" for a while, but it was changed to "US" only recently. The option doesn't made sense, my only guess is to differentiate USA from the rest of the Americas.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David-Paz

It's because America is a continent and not a single country.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maran999

Or colloquially used as short for "United states of America", which is a country.


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

which is wrong, because the word america is for the continent, so to avoid confusion the country should be "the US"


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

Only formally. Colloquially, people from Canada call themselves Canadians, people from Mexico call themselves Mexicanos/Mexicans, and people from the United States of America call ourselves Americans.


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

And likewise, we call the country we live in America. If you want to refer to the continent, just say North America, South America, or the Americas.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tachy90

I agree, but i think the problem comes when you consider the perspective of Spanish speakers, who in my experience tend to be irritated by the use of America to mean only the USA, even in English.

Probably the change was just for clarity, though. When you say "the US" everyone knows what you mean, no matter whether English is their first language or not.


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

The continent in the north is north america the landbridge in tge middle is central america and the continent in the south is south america


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

There is no continent called America.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Purple1736678

North America is a continent


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

I highly recommend reading about how different countries count the continents. While most English-speaking countries say there are 7 continents, Japan says there are only 6 (Eurasia is one continent). Most Spanish-speaking countries say there are only 6 (America is one continent). Your country may not consider it a continent, but many other countries do.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jesus-Smith

America is the globally recognized "common name" of the USA. Also, there is no continent called "America".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tachy90

Dunno about globally, but among native English speakers, you're right. You try telling a Canadian they're American, see how they feel about that.

And yeah, the continent is North America, unless you mean South America. Collectively they are almost always called the Americas in English, plural not singular.


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

I actually answered "America" to this question and it was graded correctly. When the little green box popped up, it said "Another translation: "The US".

I think its neat that they programmed it that way.


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

It's bc, if you refer to "america" some may think the continent. That's why, my english teacher told us to refer in english "the us" instead of america.


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

@Jjedde. What word did your teacher suggest for a citizen of the US? Everyone I know says "American"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pikachu025

Why shouldn't I just use Hiragana for these kinds of words? Why should I learn katagana(a whole new set of characters)?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mrcqm1

Hiragana is used for words of Japanese origin. Katakana is used for words of foreign origin. America in hiragana would be "あめりか" and it can technically be written and read that way, but it would be incorrect. since the word is of foreign origin (and on top of that is being used to describe something foreign) the katakana form "アメリカ" is used. Think of it as different octaves on a piano -- hiragana is one octave, but when you encounter words of foreign origin, you go up an octave and use katakana instead.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ebrown130901

This information needs to be added onto the actual lesson page!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JonasHanse310125

I agree. I knew this beforehand only because I had learned a little Japanese from another webside. If not, these new letters with the same pronunciation would had been unnecessary confusing to me. A little heads-up in the "Tips and Notes" would had been nice, and easy to put in


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

You know how in English literature foreign words are italicized? For instance, hors d'œuvre, which is French, would be in italics in an English sentence. It's a bit like that. Katakana is used to represent words that did not originate in Japanese.


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

When they need to highlight some word as foreign, they use katakana. Think of it as japanese italics.


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

It's not that it's highlighting it, per se, just indicating that it is of foreign origin. Highlighting would imply that they are trying to bring attention to it, which isn't the reason for it.


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

To differentiate the original language and "Japanized Language", i guess. To differentiate inland and outland things. But that's only a random guess.. :D


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

Because Katakana is for foreign words and Hiragana is for Japanese words.

If you say I'm from Venezuela, you need to say Benezuera (Katakana) and not with Hiragana because Venezuela is so far from Venezuela. But you need to say "I'm from" in Hiragana.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/porrasrojasj15

To people checking this post today: Think of it as the equivalent of capital and lowercase letters. Why would foreigners have to learn another set of characters just to differentiate the start of some cases that can be inferred easily? We use our alternative set of characters to start sentences, names and whatnot. They use their alternative set of characters to write foreign words.


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

On top of all that was already said, katakana has some pronouncings that hiragana has not, like ve/te/she/etc. I recommend studying katakana soon after hiragana/kanji, otherwise you will struggle with grammar in the future. Duolingo just pushes it a little too soon, so try searching for katakana lessons in other sites. Newbie speaking here so I might be wrong.


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

Te definitely exists in both hiragana and katakana. て and テ.


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

The Japanese write native words in cursive and foreign words in print. Best answer I can come up with.


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

Japanese usage of アメリカ refers to the United States. It's a shortening of アメリカ合衆国 (amerika gasshukoku). You might also see the word 米国 (beikoku) on the news. In a conversation with an average Japanese person, though, アメリカ is the United States and アメリカ人 is a person from the United States.


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

When Japanese people say アメリカ, it usually means the United States of America. North America is ほくべい(北米)South America is なんべい(南米)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pikachu025

Interesting info!


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

What type of characters are these? They aren't hiragana.


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

Katakana, another system of reading and writing phoneticly much like hiragana. It is used for foreign words such as countries, scientific terms and other loan words.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Allison889087

Are there any other systems in Japanese for scientific uses? Like is Kanji for words of Chinese origin? Would Katakana be used for words of Japanese origin or would that be incorrect?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MoonRabbit12

kanji is used whenever really there's thousands of kanji 50,000 approximately but don't worry you only need to learn around the first 2,000 kanji. And yes using katakana for japanese words would be incorrect and using hiragana for foreign words would also be incorrect


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

I am using a Samsung Note, it is a lot of fun even to learn write a little Japanese. I not.ice that there some symbols that they have Same look and different Sizes (to change the way surrounding symbols sound). When I write 力, I notice three symbols very alike and only the one that look medium size works for アメリカ Are there really 3 sizes for 力? ヵ small カ medium 力 big What is the difference? Am I missing something ?


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

Small ヵ can be used as a counter for months, but it's more common to use the kanji. 1ヵ月 (ikkagetsu)

Medium カ is katakana.

Big 力 is the kanji "chikara".


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

How does that occur in hand written language? Is it a modern thing?


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

力 (chikara) and カ (ka) can often look very similar handwritten, but the kanji should be slightly bigger than the kana. Small ヵ is hand written significantly smaller than the other two, the same way it looks smaller when typed. 力カヵ


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

Well 北アメリカ, North America, and 南アメリカ, South America. So Don't see why they would change it.


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

Because this is the word for "the US" specifically, not all of North America.


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

You know that America is a continent not a country, right?


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

You know that North America and South America are continents, that there is no single continent called "America," right?


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

That is factually inaccurate.

Defined by Encyclopaedia Britannica:

Americas, also called America, the two continents, North and South America, of the Western Hemisphere


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

Depends where you live whether or not North and South America are two separate continents. The Olympics follows the 5 continent model, which names North and South America as a single continent (hence 5 Olympic rings). Latin America uses the 6 continent model where North and South America are considered one continent. In the end, whether your country considers it one continent or two, it is collectively called "America" and that is a valid name to refer to the entirety of the continent.


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

Yes, yes we know but the Japanese don't, unfortunately.

They also call football soccer and they call the Netherlands Holland and eat KFC for valentine's day, I guess they got around adopting western culture and the English language a little too fast


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

It also accepts 米国【べい・こく】


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlfredoCon11

so how can i say... The US are in America?


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

アメリカ大陸にはアメリカ合衆国があります (Amerika tairiku ni wa amerika gasshuukoku ga arimasu) might work.


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

So if カ is Ka, why isn't Amerika? When does 'ka' become 'ca' ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pikachu025

It's just a phonetic transcription.

There is no distinction between the hard "Ca" and "Ka" in Japanese.

In fact, if you were to phonetically transcribe "Rice", it would be 「ライス」. Here, the "Ce" sound becomes a "Su"... Further, "Rice" is now "Raisu"!

You cannot reason out the syllables which were modified in transcription. Hope I was 「ヘルプフル」 "Herupufuru" -> "helpful". :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ana80748

I know this won't produce any change whatsoever. But America is a huge continent and it is so insulting that culturally the US is regarded as such. I am from America. Meaning Argentina. Let the US be a country in North America. (Please note that by this I do not mean to undermine the US value as a country!!)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pikachu025

You are absolutely correct. Nothing wrong in the way you put it, maybe they'll change it someday. But, I guess people say that since it is a common country that people speak of... It happens.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/padm915118

Actually, some US politicians really do think that all of the Americas is part of their country. When the russians landed their forces in Venezuela recently, US media ran headlines claiming that the russians had landed in 'their' backyard! Must be Pretty offensive for thinking citizens of the rest of the Americas. Especially since the US goverment has made it very clear that they do not want 'illegal immigrants' coming from the said 'backyard' And that they will use force to stop them.


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

There is a lot more talk about the use of "America" for the US than it should be, IMO.

I'm Mexican and I'm American because I was born in the Americas. That much is technically correct (In english). But it should't really matter since were learning a different language with a different culture. If a japanese person asks me if I'm american, I might say I am, but then I'll have to clarify that I'm specifically from Mexico and that we consider 'America' the whole continent. I might, but It'll be way easier to just say "Close, but I'm from Mexico!" and keep the conversation going.

So yeah... It's more of a cultural thing.

Btw, I just came to ask if "The us" should be considered incorrect. I use IME and to get the regular keyboard layout I need to start any sentence in mayus so I don't get the kana. It takes no time to capitalize 'US' but is kindda cuts the flow.


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

Duolingo doesn't usually differentiate capitals and lowercase, so "The us" should be marked correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/John761649

I don't know why they keep translating this as "the US". The United States is "beikoku" in Japanese.


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

I just taught countries to my Japanese students today, and I can assure you that every single student yelled アメリカ when I held up the flashcard with the flag of the United States (except for the one student who started singing "USA" by Da Pump). I have never heard 米国 (beikoku) outside of the news; it is not used in daily conversation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/John761649

I guess my point is that Japanese has two words just as in English. It just seems strange that Duolingo doesn't seem to ever translate アメリカ as "America" while also noting that it can mean "US" or "United States" (as it is used pretty much everywhere else). I agree that Japanese generally think of the United States as アメリカ and use that in daily conversation. Nonetheless, Japanese also has 米国 which is specifically used to represent "United States" and "US" (even to the point of using 日米 to represent "Japan-US"). I have also heard it used in business and other formal situations. Anyhow, thanks for your comment!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Erick194570

Monroe doctrine says "america for americans" they have always wanted to have the whole continent for themselves and getting everyone to call the US America is part of it. America is the continent, period.


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

I think the United States has done what basically every other country in the world does and drops the technical part of the name. In the same way we call "the Commonwealth of Australia" just "Australia" and "the United Mexican States" just "Mexico", people have started calling "the United States of America" just "America". It's not a conspiracy to take over the continent, it's a misunderstanding. North America and South America are considered separate continents in most English-speaking countries, unlike in the Spanish-speaking world where they are usually considered one. To most English speakers, there is no such thing as an American continent, which causes them to wrongfully say that people not from the US can't be Americans. In the same respect, people on the other side try to say that people from the US are not allowed to call their country "America". Both sides are taking away the other's identity, and this "us" and "them" mentality will not bring about understanding or any chance of making changes so that both sides can be happy.


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

If people from the USA want to call themselves Americans, then let them. In reality no one misunderstands, even if they don't like it. Do you object the China being the Middle Kingdom because it isn't in the middle and it isn't a kingdom? Or the tribe that calls itself "The People"?

Citizens of the USA don't have any other name for themselves other than "American". What better name can you propose? I'm a ?????


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dai803021

Duolingo poked a nerve there, eh? What an appalling conversation. This must be be an American, sorry, United Statesian app, with lots of United Statesian clients. I must contest whoever tried to make a point using Australia though. Obviously no-one else wants any claim to the name "Australia", as opposed to everyone else on the American continent / continents (depending on the system you subscribe to), who very clearly from all the comments do wish to lay claim to "America". Further, ditto for Mexico, no-one else wants to claim the name "Mexico", (although they, unlike Australia, share a continent. The American continent). Most countries have a longer official name, but it's only USA/America that has this problem. (Whoops, sorry, Macedonia is a recent issue where different groups contest the name, but for different reasons).


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

We don't know what conversation you find appalling because you weren't able to use the reply button. I feel like some of your comments are directed at me, so I will reply, but I would rather not continue off-topic conversations that have nothing to do with Japanese.

I understand what you're saying about Australia and Mexico, but you don't understand what I'm saying, so it's hard to have a conversation and I'd rather not get into it. I feel like I'm being talked at rather than listened to, which already starts me off feeling negatively and will definitely not lead to a productive dialogue.

When I said "to most English speakers", I was referring to the native English-speaking countries that consider North and South America separate continents, which would include the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia. English-speaking countries like Pakistan and India also consider them two continents. My comment was based purely on what countries consider the Americas two continents, which is an issue of geography. Could you please provide data for your assertion that most English-speakers consider it one continent? I'm not sure how you arrived at that conclusion, and based purely on how countries count the continents I stand by my statement unless you have some evidence and insight that I haven't thought of.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dai803021

Also, why do you say, "to most English speakers, there is no such thing as an American continent, etc..."? I think you're thinking of United States of American citizens, who are definitely not the only English speakers on the planet. I can assure you that most English speakers do believe that there is an American continent. You yourself pointed out the encyclopedia definition, then followed up with the explanation of the different continental models, including the Olympic one. Very informative, reasonable and nicely neutral, by the way.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dai803021

In short, this issue can not be resolved! Since WW2, the USA has had a heavy influence and presence in Japan so for them to call it America is understandable. They're not the only ones. The USA people have really painted themselves into a corner, haven't they, by giving themselves the name? I cannot think of any alternative short or reasonable name for citizens of the USA, but "Americans". Unfortunately the people of the rest of the Americas have a perfect right to feel a bit miffed! Imagine if the various (39) German states who in relatively recent history (1871), became one country had decided to call it "Europe"!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dai803021

I just made these comments. Why have they appeared somewhere in the middle? Instead of at the bottom?


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

The default organization is "Top posts", so comments that have been downvoted go to the bottom of the page and ones that have been upvoted go to the top. New posts without any votes on them will automatically fall in the middle. You should be able to change the sort options to "newest" at the top under the comment box. It also appears you've posted comments from the 'new comment' box at the top rather than as a reply to whoever you are responding to.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dai803021

The origin of this entire problem stems from the people who, either out of ignorance or hubris, decided to call their new country (of 13, I think, eastern seaboard states), "the United States of America". I refuse to believe that they were unaware of the existence of the entirety of America. An early hint of the Monroe doctrine, perhaps? This wouldn't even be an issue if they'd simply bothered to think of a satisfactorily unique name. (Freelandia?).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dai803021

To Swisidniak. Thanks for the response. Most of what you say about my options don't exist on the Android app. I have no idea about down/up voting. I've just noticed the reply word, although it seems to be greyed out. The "leave a comment" section is down the bottom. No reply box. Why don't Duolingo explain any of this?


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

I'm not very familiar with the Android version though it tends to be arranged a bit different from the others. The Reply button typically appears in grey below a comment right next to the up and down voting arrows and doesn't appear at all if you are unable to reply. The reply box should open when you click on it.
Some of this is explained in the FAQ for the forums here https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/sections/200864560-Forums-Community


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kaylie858807

I put America and it said I was wrong? The US and America are the same thing? Ive put it in as US and America before and was correct so Im a little confused lol


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

America is a concept for all contient, I'm american but I don't from North American! ): .


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

I think アメリカ大陸 (amerika tairiku) would be a more accurate translation for the Americas/the American continent.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Erick194570

It's more accurate to refer to United States of America as United States, The States, The USA. America is the name of the continent, period. Do we say European continent to refer to Europe? No. Same applies here.


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

If you want to tell Japanese people how to speak their language, then you need to understand how they use the language. Japanese people call the United States アメリカ. If you don't know terms like アメリカ大陸, how are you going to convey to a Japanese person that you think they should call the American continent "America"? Being willfully ignorant about how language is used will lead to misunderstandings and disagreements rather than getting your point across.


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

Why is the translation "The US" instead of "America"?


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

アメリカ (amerika) is a shortening of アメリカ合衆国 (amerika gasshuukoku, the United States of America), and is how Japan refers to the United States. I think the contributors wanted to make it clear that even though in English アメリカ can refer to the American continent, in Japanese it is used pretty exclusively to refer to the US.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rianna383003

Everybody on this thread is both butthurt and writing books about being butthurt and I bet you I'm going to be royally disliked for saying that


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dai803021

And my paragraph about the 13 states appeared late and out of order.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/luis733654

America it is a continent,not one country


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

America in English can refer to the Americas, South and North America together. It is also a shortening of the United States of America and refers to that country.

If a Japanese person says アメリカ, they are probably shortening アメリカ合衆国 (amerika gasshuukoku), which is the proper name of the United States of America. In the exact same way that many English speakers refer to the United States as "America", in common speech, アメリカ means the United States.


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

The correct is "North America"= USA... America is all continent, incluyed from Alaska until Patagonia ...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sotnosen93

アメリカ doesn't mean "North America", it refers to the United States. North America the continent is 北米 ("hokubei") or 北アメリカ ("kita amerika") in Japanese.

There is also no continent called America. There is North America and South America, and while the two may be referred to collectively as America, there is no separate continent called America.

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