"He has three older brothers."
It's a bit late - but any time I get a sentence wrong, I click the 'discuss' link... and there is a 'play audio' button at the top of the discussion page that will read out the 'correct' answer.
Note: there have been one or two instances where the 'discuss' link goes to the wrong discussion... can't easily report them, so just check it's the same question on the discussion page :D
I also copy paste into Google Translate. For Kanji, I use the tool here: https://j-talk.com/convert it helps to break it down into hiragana (or katakana) characters as well.
I use Evernote to keep my various notes about grammar, vocab etc so this all helps me to have practice pages of the most important terms and concepts even when I am not in Duolingo. If I am waiting around for an appointment, walking the dog, riding somewhere, I can open up Evernote and review. It has been incredibly helpful to me.
Also some people might be confused because Ne is pronounced like (nae) or (nay) or (neigh)
Ne is Not pronounced like (knee or in the english word need) So the confusion might be that: NE=nay Ni=knee
NE is pronounced nay, (rhymes with hay) and Ni is pronounced Knee (rhymes with see)
People might be seeing the NE and by accident automatically pronouncing it like the NE in the english word need. (Sounds like knee)
In Japanese NE is pronounced nae rhymes with hay
My instinct was to start this sentence 彼には, and this was accepted. What is the difference between saying 彼には and just 彼は? Are they interchangeable in this circumstance? I know that there are other circumstances where 彼には would not be appropriate but I'm curious if there is any difference in connotation here.
It's an issue of formality. Both "nii-chan" and "nee-chan" still mean brother and sister, respectively, but there's a difference in the nature of the relationship. The "-chan" honorific is incredibly informal, especially when used for anyone older than a child. They've removed the "o-" honorific prefix, which adds even more respect in a title.
So when you hear "nii-chan" or "nee-chan" in anime, you can generally assume it's a pretty close relationship or, depending on tone of voice, super condescending and disrespectful. (You usually hear it used in anime as the former though.)
Honorifics are great because they can tell you SO much about a relationship REAL quick.
I'm really struggling with the amount of different words there are for brother and sister. There's a least three for each (and I seem to keep getting them wrong). Not to mention the difficulties I'm having with he/she pronoun-type words as well. Duo has been great so far, but I really feel like I need a lot of outside help with this lesson group. It's been very discouraging.
No :( Don't be discouraged! I had some trouble too but you get used to it after a while. Here are some tips for remembering!
かれ (彼) is He. Notice how the Kanji looks like a little man (without a head :D oh no)
かのじょ (彼女) is She. Just like He, but we have an extra rib (that's a myth btw)
Now for siblings, there are four. I remember them like this:
あに (兄) and あね (姉) = Brother and sister
But these are a bit rude, so I can make them more polite by adding お- at the start. Like how we do this to sound polite about bathtubs (お風呂) and tea (お茶) too! :D Then I also want to add -san at the end which makes these even more polite (which is especially important when I'm talking about someone else's family):
あに = おにいさん (ani = oniisan) あね = おねえさん (ane = oneesan)
Now the pesky Kanjis:
いもうと (imouto/younger sister) = 妹 This one is easy - it looks like a girl wearing a dress
おとうと (otouto/younger brother) = 弟 See the horns? Because young boys are little devils
Again, I could add -san here to show respect :)
And the older sibling Kanjis:
あね (姉) or おねえさん (お姉さん) Looks just like little sister, but older (you can tell by her muscles!)
あに (兄) or おにいさん (お兄さん) Like a block head on two shoulders, because my older brother is definitely a blockhead!
I am also just a student so please do correct me if I have made a mistake :) These are just how I remember them, I hope this can help you too!
So why does の exist at all, then?
[this is what's called a rhetorical question, because you seemed to be telling me that possession is only indicated with XはYがいます :-P]
[editing for clarity] So anyway, in my fevered imagination, I was trying to work out how to say "three brothers exist" and thought "かれのきょうだい" would be the way to go, and ... well, I was curious.
For when you indicate possession by a determiner modifying a noun, or by a proper noun possessing something. So, whenever you translate "his, her, its, my, your, our," etc. E.g., "my older brothers are funny", "I read your book", "Dr. Takata's friend lives here", "the tiger's coat is smooth", and so on. This "As for X, Y exists" structure is only when you're translating "X has Y".
'He' is the subject of the English sentence "He has three older brothers", but most definitely not the subject of the Japanese sentence. The Japanese literally translates to "As for him, three older brothers exist." 'Him/he' is the topic of the sentence here, meaning that which the sentence is about, and takes the particle -は; 'older brothers' is the subject of the verb 'exist' (います), meaning that which does the action of existing, and takes the particle -が.
It's the latter. 'He' is the subject of the English sentence "He has three older brothers", but not of the Japanese sentence, which is literally, "As for him, three older brothers exist." "He" gets the topic particle -は because it's what the sentence is about; but "older brothers" gets the subject particle -が because they are doing the action of existing.
more about the ～人 counter here:
います is the verb "to exist/to have" (for animate objects, like people).
ます itself is just the ending verbs get when they get conjugated to the non-past polite form. Your question would be like saying, "Why do I have to use たべます for 'eat' instead of just ます?"
The い isn't just a random letter put there for politeness or anything. It is a core part of the word that must be there or else you're saying an entirely different word.
Kare wa = As for him, ...
Still learning, but here's how I've seen it explained. The main use of the は (wa) particle is to identify the subject of the sentence. Here's how I translate sentences with は in my head:
わたしはアメリカ人です = As for me, I am American.
は let's your audience know that what came before it is the subject, what you're talking about. I use "As for ____, ... " to help make sense of what the subject is and to figure out if I should use はwhen going from English to Japanese.
Hope that was right! And I hope it helps!
Duolingo's error highlighting sucks terribly. I made a mistake near the end of my input, and also didn't use an お for "he"'s brother (which is near the beginning of the input). So, when telling me what I did wrong, it should underline errors based on the type of answer it accepted: one without the お.
But the answer with お is used to calculate underlining for errors, making it all wrong and offset by one!!!
Whoever committed this code should be shamed, and after a proper shaming they should fix it. I know it isn't easy or fun, but if it was, it wouldn't be called software development.