"His older sister is a college student."
I think it would be nice to have a way to give pronunciation and definition reminders, somehow. E.g., i keep forgetting how to pronounce the the "big" ("da" in Mandarin) symbol in Japanese. Like in the word for college.
totally agree. i know the meaning of the word but cannot pronounce it. i always remember it is da in mandarin
What you are looking for is furigana. That's when you put the hirigana pronounciation above the kanji. I suggest putting in a suggestion if your interested.
I do not even know the mandarin pronouciation, and it is quite unclear when read out load by the lady.
お and ご (depending on the word's origins) can be used with several nouns to "make them more polite". If you'd like to read more about it, have a gander here: https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Japanese/Grammar/Honorific_prefixes
I have done this lesson every day for the last three weeks and i still have absolutely no idea what's going on. The lessons have become too complicated too quickly.
I remember which is older and which is younger sister by the 'san'. Which I guess is a sign of respect for them being your senior.
That's a good way to remember it here on Duo, but you can say いもうとさん if you are referring to someone else's younger sister.
あね/いもうと = my older/younger sister
おねえさん/いもうとさん = someone else's older/younger sister
Is it important that the の part of the sentence come before the は? How do we decide the order of things?
The placement of の can be pretty tricky, and changes a lot depending on exactly what you want to say. Its function in this case is to show possession. In general terms, "AのB" means "the B of A" or "A's B".
Here in our sentence, there are three nouns: かれ "he/him", おねえさん "older sister", and 大学生 "college student". You can put them together using の in various different ways (not all of which make sense):
- かれ の おねえさん = his older sister
- かれ の 大学生 = his college student
- おねえさん の かれ = older sister's (or young lady's) boyfriend (because かれ is weird like that)
- おねえさん の 大学生 = older sister's (or young lady's) college student
- 大学生 の かれ = college student's boyfriend (because かれ is weird like that)
- 大学生 の おねえさん = college student's older sister (or young lady)
So, as you can see, it's not so much that の has to come before は, but rather の has to go between かれ and おねえさん. And since the older sister is the actual topic, not him, the は has to come after おねえさん.
What is the difference in rendering this sentence かれのお姉さんは大学生です、 And in rendering it かれのお姉さんは大学生います ？ Is there a difference in how that sounds to the Japanese ear？ is the former simply more natural? etc.
Well, the main difference is that using います is actually an incorrect translation; that sentence conveys a completely different meaning from the English sentence in this exercise. Both います and です can be (and often are) translated to "is", but they serve different purposes and cannot be used interchangeably.
In the case of です, "is" is used to convey equivalence. In the following examples, I'm not telling you that John exists; we know he exists, but I'm giving you information about him.
ジョンです 》 He has the property of being
"John"》 He is John.
アメリカ人です 》 John has the property of being
an American person》 John is American.
十六さいです 》 John has the property of being
sixteen years old》 John is sixteen years old.
On the other hand, います uses "is" to convey existence. The new information I'm telling you in the following examples is that something exists. います is an intransitive verb, so we use the particle が to indicate the agent of the verb (i.e. the thing doing the existing).
- ジョンがいます 》 John exists 》 There is a John.
- 犬がいます 》 a dog exists 》There is a dog. OR There are dogs.
- 中国人がいます 》 a Chinese person exists 》 There is a Chinese person. OR There are Chinese people.
The nifty thing about Japanese is that they have these two particles, は and が, to differentiate the topic and the subject (something we don't really do in English). So, we can talk about something, but have the verb be done by something else. Check out these examples:
がいます 》 When it comes to John,
a dogexists 》 John has a dog.
がいます 》 When it comes to him,
an older sisterexists 》 He has an older sister.
がいます 》 When it comes to his older sister,
a college studentexists 》 His older sister has a college student.
That last one doesn't really make sense, does it? But because particles are often omitted in Japanese (especially in speech), it's the same as your suggested alternative. Obviously (hopefully), the one we want is:
大学生です 》 His older sister has the property of being
a college student 》 His older sister is a college student.
Why does order matter. I swapped his and older sister, keeping the correct particles, but got it wrong.
I have already answered this at length in my response to @ntpttr 's question, so please have a read of it.
But in short, の is a special particle where the order of words on either side of it is important.
Karera is the plural form, i.e. "they" (typically either all male, or mostly male). The "-ra" suffix is a somewhat rough/not polite way to change a pronoun/noun into a plural version of it, but karera is very normal (that is, not impolite).
I'm curious about the 'mostly male'. In French and Czech I think that even one male in the group is enough to use the male form of the word. (Please correct me if I'm wrong!)
What are the rules for this in Japanese?
Honestly, I'm not a native Japanese speaker, so I might not be completely accurate about where the distinction lands.
I think the first thing to consider is: is there a clear "leader" or a perceived person who stands out as a "representative" of the group to you? (For example, a group booking at a hotel - to the concierge staff, there is the person who made the booking) Typically, you would use that person's name, but if you didn't know their name (or you're talking to someone you can be blunt with), you could refer to the group as karera if the person is male, or kanojo-tachi if the person is female.
If no one particular stands out as a representative, that's when you consider the rough makeup of the group. I think, if a clear majority of the group (i.e. more than around 70%) is male, then karera is the most common way to refer to them, and if a clear majority of the group is female, then it's kanojo-tachi. If there's isn't a clear majority from a quick glance, either is fine; personally, in this situation, I think the level of politeness of your conversation is more influential (kanojo-tachi being more preferred in politer contexts).
Again, not a native Japanese speaker, and I'm just going from my experience.
Not sure why how we got stuck with "college" rather than "university" student, but in almost every English-speaking country bar the US, "college" and "university" don't automatically mean the same thing, in fact "college" is closer to 高校 than 大学.
Since they more or less do mean the same in the US, please consider using "university" in the English sentences to be translated?