"Is there a maid at your house?"
I tried オタクにメイドはいますか and was not accepted!!! (Although I knew it would not have been that advanced)
お宅（おたく） means your house but subculture has taken this word away (´；ω；`)
You wrote it in Katakana (which is used for foreign words like "maid" which do not exist in Japanese), which is why it wasn't accepted.
オタク means: geek, nerd, enthusiast, otaku.
お宅（おたく）means: your house; your home; your family, and it is a formal way of saying so.
I don't know if お宅 is accepted but your sentence wasn't because you used オタク.
Well just thought it would treat katakana and hiragana together like English caps and small letters. Hopefully duo can get the Japanese typing exercise working and I will definitely revisit this question with the proper kanji.
Katakana and Hiragana don't like that so teaching it that way would be wrong. Hiragana is used for Japanese words and Katakana is used for Foreign words. This is why you are taught ジョン as so and not in hiragana. You cannot use them interchangeably. Japanese has no equivalent to capital and lower case letters. Katakana and Hiragana are different alphabets used for different things. It doesn't treat is similar because it is not similar at all.
It is customary to use Kana as you said nowadays, but it is not always. There are cases where you can use katakana.
For Furigana (ruby text), we can use Hiragana or Katakana.
For stressing certain words we can use katakana.
If you study the literatures in the Meiji period in Japan, all the texts were written in Katakana. Hiragana and Katakana are originally two systems to denote the pronunciation of a sentence.
In this case if we want to stress お宅, we can use katakana. But it is not a common thing, so I did not report it.
Back then there were no "writing" exercise, オタク appeared in the "arrange the blocks" exercise so I tried just for fun.
But seriously, in real life, do not say あなたの家 to people who is not your friend. お宅 is preferred because it is more polite. p.s. お家 is not a common word.
But is that case with the sentence in question? Besides that, I still enjoyed the orginal sentence at the beginning of the thread.
I think it like this: otaku is a Japanese word borrowed into English. The meaning this word (into English) is different from the Japanese word お宅. Then Japanese borrowed back this word with the foreign meaning. Therefore オタク.
I could be wrong but this is how I think about it.
It is a very interesting question. I did a small googling and found that
- The word おたく in hiragana was used as a pronoun "you" between people with the same cultural interest starting from 1970's.
- おたく was used to describe people with obsessive interest starting from 1983, from a critic written by Akeo Nakamori.
- The word オタク in katakana started to appear in the 1990's.
- I haven't found a book in English that talks about otaku before 2000's.
So I think the word オタク coming from English otaku is highly unlikely because the English word otaku was not yet popular before Japanese started to use katakana for this word.
The reason that I think it is written in katakana is that, in 1989 there was a series of murder cases of girls aged from 4-7 where the culprit was found to be an anime/manga enthusiast. The media at that time highlighted the culprit as an オタク in katakana. People started to feel that otaku = anime/manga enthusiast = pervert. From that time katakana version of the word started to appear.
It accepts it (May 2018), but it feels really awkward to write it without the が in an excercise like this.
My answer was marked wrong, when I wrote いえ in Kanji. 「あなたの家にメイドはいますか」 should be accepted. Reported on Oct. 31, 2017.