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  5. "My little brother is writing…

"My little brother is writing a letter to a girl in the US in English."


August 1, 2017



What a mouthful, but I'm thankful we're starting to get some harder ones.



After finishing the course, this is without a doubt my favorite sentence in the whole course.

て form, present progressive, use of で, use of に, use of を, a topic which is not the first-person, a complicated noun phrase, and the acceptance of as much kanji as you please. A clause this complicated makes me feel like I accomplished something.


Are there rules to the order of parts in this sentence? I thought most things are acceptable as long as particles are correct


There is a standard logical order. Subject, what kind, what way, what を verb. So brother, us girl, in english, letter, is writing is a pretty standard order.





It marked me wrong when I included '私の' but not without it. :|


I'd report that. While おとうと implies that it's your younger brother, I don't see explicitly stating it as being wrong.


long sentence is long


R u messin with how hard this is Duo?


アメリカにいる女の子 should work as well i think


In this discussion forum people often use kanjis wich are not present in the example we are discussing. Why? I can't read them, there are no clues for how to read them and this is not helpful at all! You clever people who knows more japanese then I do, why don't you help out instead of showing off you knowledge?


Duolingo is designed using a structure (source code) that makes it impossible to add kanji with furigana (the little hiragana letters you might have seen above kanji sometimes in other Japanese things like books aimed at a younger audience and such).

This structure was made for other languages and the programmers didn't have Japanese in mind when they were originally making duolingo. Meaning that to teach Japanese in the correct way they'd have to rewrite a lot of the source code from scratch, this might happen somewhere down the line as the Japanese course is still being designed as we speak, being in beta.

Those commenters that are spouting the kanji aren't showing off in order to fight for the title of years biggest know it all. (Well... Some of them might be, but not all of them, I hope...)

They are helping out. Kanji is required to read Japanese to any level of proficiency. With duolingo's inability to integrate kanji with furigana, they've settled on using hiragana for everything in the answers (except for a few kanji here and there that are more or less unavoidable).

I think they possibly settled on this because they think kanji is incredibly daunting to new learners.

So here's an example: Duolingo's answer to this question is おとうとはアメリカの女の子に英語でてがみを書いています。

One of those comments further up says 弟はアメリカの女の子に英語で手紙を書いています。

They both say otouto wa amerika no onnanoko ni eigo de tegami o kaiteimasu.

or in kana おとうとはアメリカのおんなあのこにえいごでてがみをかいています。

Those commenters are just a convenience, presenting the versions of these sentences that you'd see in a Japanese newspaper or something like that for instance. Helping people to learn the kanji by exposure. They're essentially a fix for duolingo's inability to use furigana. It's the closest to the best of both worlds were going to get until the developers fix the current issues and finish the beta version of the Japanese course.

The things I've said about the situation with the source code at the beginning may not be 100% accurate. I'm just quoting bits I've heard and how I internally understand the situation with the apps development. If anyone has any corrections about the source code and development part of this comment, please go ahead and correct me.

TLDR: Duolingo is currently holding this program together with sticks and chewing gum as they didn't plan ahead for it. So there's a lot of workarounds for some necessary things that should be intrinsic to the program.

Hope I summed it up as best I could, I feel like I can barely hold a train of thought today.


Thank you Dante! I really appreciate your answer. And, yes the problem is that furigana can't be used in Duolingo. Perhaps an intermediate solution could be to put hiragana in paranthesis after the kanji like (ひらがな)? Sorry if I stepped on kanji users feet. I was so frustrated over not understanding but I do appreciate learning more kanji. Some of you has mentioned a website for kanji learning and I will surely check that out.


I like your intermediate solution.

When it comes to kanji, I use 4 things

Wanikani (Which I think might be the website you're referencing in your comment, either way it's pretty good and I highly recommend it.)

Kanji Study (An app which allows you to drill writing kanji. I think you get JLPT N5 level kanji for free, but everything over N5 is paywalled. It's £11.99 to unlock level N4 to N1 kanji.)

Lingodeer (An app which is similar to duolingo, but made specifically with Japanese, Chinese, Korean in mind. It's missing some features, like duolingo's strength bar recap system, but has others that duolingo doesn't, such as furigana and the audio side of it is prerecorded by native speakers so you won't have any of those duolingo moments where the computer lady mispronounces something. I can say that using it side by side with duolingo has given me an understanding of the language that neither app would give me on their own, I highly recommend using lingodeer and duolingo side by side. And lingodeer is completely free too.)

Then there's the commonly cited book, remembering the kanji. Here's their free sample which is just part one of their book. It has 294 kanji in it.


Have a nice day. And good luck with the kanji.


Thank you very much Dante! Much appreciated!


Another potential reason for people posting in Kanji instead could be that when typing, it automatically converts, so you actually have to think about it and do more work to type avoiding the Kanji. (At least, with regards to typing on windows using the Japanese keyboard)


why do we need で after 英語 ? i thought just saying "english letter" would be okay


Yeah that's what I tried too. I don't understand the grammatical role of "de" here. Write letter "by English"? Via English? I guess it means something like that?


Yes it means writing a letter using English. If you would like to say an English letter it would be 英語の手紙


The で here means "in" for "in English"


It took me a little time to remember the "teimasu" is "-ing"

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おとうとは O tōto wa My little brother
アメリカの女の子に Amerika no on'na no ko ni To an American girl 英語で Eigo de In English てがみを書いて Te ga mi o ka i te Writing a Letter います I masu is



The given answer sounds weird. I think it should be amerikajinno onnano ko.


But アメリカ人 would mean that the person he is writing to is American. From "a girl in the US" we don't know if she's American, or a foreign person who happens to be in the US at this time.


That's a good point. But アメリカの女の子does not mean "a girl in the U.S.", it means "girl of America," and it looks like they are trying to say "American girl." So to say "a girl in America" without specifying that she is American you would have to phrase it: "アメリカにいる女の子。" I submitted a report. Thanks.


I can't see all of the words in my PC


Why "書いています", not "書きます"? I believe, it's a て-form of 書く, but why did it used here? "おとうとはアメリカの女の子に英語でてがみを書きます" wasn't accepted.


"書きます" means "will write" but the sentence said "is writing" which is why "書いています" is the correct one.


What is the い in ...ています doing? Is it the ます form of いる (to be/exist)? Or is there no better explanation than "just use います with the て form"?


Really good one for particle practice


Wa, No, Ne, De, O. Is this standard order of topic markers in extend sentences?


That's a lit of words to put together.....


Would it be okay to write 英語の手紙. That would be more like he's writing an English letter, rather than a letter by means of English. Are both okay?




I got it right the first time. What an immense satisfaction I got from that.


So I just got this question in the app, and the whole answer was already filled in. Anyone encountered that before?

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