"请问,今天几号?"

Translation:Excuse me! What is today's date?

November 18, 2017

40 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/andrew56941

"What day is today?" Is a perfectly acceptable colloquial translation!


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

Yes, in English, "What day is today?" is basically "standard" rather than "colloquial," but the Chinese sentence is actually asking "What is the day of the month today?"

今天 means "today," and 几号 means "what numerical date of the month."

English has an equivalent word for 今天 ("today"), but no clear and unambiguous equivalent to 几号 ("what numerical date of the month"). Some students here have suggested that "date" is an English equivalent of "numerical date of the month," and indeed it can be, but the truth is, the English word "date" has several meanings, potentially referring to "date of the month," such as the 17th, but also potentially referring to "day of the week," such as Friday (or even to an amorous meeting or a type of fruit, but there is little chance of confusion with those meanings in this context). The English word "day" is an even less appropriate choice for translation, because "day" typically refers to a day of the week rather than a numerical date of the month in the context of such an inquiry. The point is, 几号 has a much narrower meaning than "day" or even "date:" 几号 means "what date," specifically, "what numerical date of the month," not simply "day" or "date."

We are here to learn Chinese. The original DuoLingo translation, which was something like "What day of the month is it today?" sounds awkward in English precisely because English lacks a clear, one-word equivalent for "what numerical date of the month." The point of the original translation is to teach Chinese, in particular, to teach the precise meaning of 几号: the awkwardness of the originally given English translation was a small price to pay for capturing the precise definition of 几号. Yes, in other contexts, such an awkward construction should be avoided, but in this case, the point is not to create flowing English prose or satisfy students who cannot be bothered to learn what 几号 actually means, in Chinese, rather that what they think it means, in their imagination, given their familiarity with English. If the translation, "What day of the month is it today," sounds awkward, then too bad: instead of complaining about how awkward the English sounds, maybe we should keep an open mind, apply the principle of charity, consider why Duo chooses such an awkward translation, and actually learn what 几号 really means. Indeed, the tips for this "Time" section are remarkably clear, complete with colorful illustrations, and clarify precisely what 几月几号 and 几号 mean. Maybe do some research, consult a dictionary or some other authority, or maybe ask someone here and wait for a competent answer. Reporting that "my answer should have been accepted" is counterproductive in this particular case, failing to learn what the lesson is teaching, and offering less awkward but less precise translations here in the forum jeopardizes other students' opportunity to get the point of the lesson.

Ostensibly in reply to numerous "reports" from people who preferred to complain rather than learn, Duolingo now accepts the answer, "Excuse me, what day is today?" as well as "Excuse me! What is today's date?" which is unfortunate, because now, the precision of 几号 is lost among the ambiguity of more standard English approximations such as "day" and "date."


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

Even though your explanation is way too long, I still agree with you


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

No, it does not! I am sick and tired of Duolingo English!


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

Did you write "Excuse me," before it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Michael430965

I agree with TELLTHESEAL..to understand "excuse me," you have to use the awkward translation "(may I ) please ask." You should use resources outside the Duolingo program if you are really interested in learning a language and applying the words correctly. It also make learning more interesting. For example 电话 which means "telephone" actually translates to "electric speech." The format of Duolingo is game-like to encourage learning, but if you just want to "win," there are many more fun games on the internet, imho.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LiMai20

Thank you for the advice, do you by any chance have any other good recourses you would recommend?


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

Duolingo accepts it. May, 2021


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EthanHitz-

When translating it to English it would sound weird to ask the day of the month, you would just say what day is it


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gennie774631

In English, if you ask "what day is it?" the answer is Monday, Thursday ect... If you ask "what day of the month is it? The answer is a number (for example the eleventh). The questins are completely different.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lydia936121

I agree. You could also say "what is the date?" You would respond to this with, for example, "Monday the 27th". I am not sure why, but this answer was not accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dominic444013

More likely what date is it? As we tend to refer to days of the week and dates of the month.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/waltcamp45

"What day is it" should be accepted


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ArthurPt1

Excuse me. What day of the month is it? And Excuse me, what day of the month is it today? Should be correct as well or not?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaCros179462

This seems to be more of a colloquial phrase than formal. And no native speaker of English, unless they were overly formal, would say, ''What day of the month is it?''. We would instead ask, ''What's the date?'' or ''What day is it?'' both of which would translate to the phrase in question (I have since forgotten the exact wording they used.).


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

Excuse me, what's today's date?


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

Why do they make it harder than it has to be


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

今天几号,means ‘what date is it today’ 今天礼拜几 means ‘what day is it today’


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

To me sees it specifically asks about the day. Not the date


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

But then it would be "day of the week". "Day of the month" still implies the date in English and sounds weird


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrew-Lin

請問,今天幾號?
both "几" and "幾" are used in traditional Chinese, but with completely different pronunciations and meanings. 几 pronounced as "jī" means "small table."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/colin353

"What date is it" seems reasonable, but is rejected


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

If you include "Excuse me" or "May I ask" for 请问 and "today" for 今天, yes I agree. But if you just put "what date is it" alone, it's incomplete and should be rejected.


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

"what is the date today" is now accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thao-Ngoc

The answer is too troublesome and unnatural for English speakers. What's the date today? is more appropriate.


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

If I am asked "What is the day today?" I am going to answer with the day of the week; Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. If I am asked "What is the date today?" I will answer " It's the 17th." I will assume they know what month it is if we are talking about today. If someone was asking "What is the date of the Wedding?" I would say June 17th. I would never answer "What is the day? " Unless it was in the question "When is the Big Day?" Which would reference a wedding. That seems like a really awkward bit of wording.


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

I wrote "Excuse me, what day of the month is it?" when the correct answer was apparently "Excuse me, what day of the month is today?" Figures.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Natch_7

The sentence does have "今天" in it, which means today. The "几号" is the "what day of the month is it?" part.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rtk337648

Month isn't even in this sentence. It should be Excuse me, what is today's date


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

the right answer, but extremely verbose


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TranThiThu284039

I'm Vietnamese, I think that "几号" implied date like 1st, 2nd (in a month, this question implied that the person who ask it known the month and he only ask about the date). "几月" is implied the month (june). If ask only "几月", the answer will be June, July, ect. If ask "几月几号", the answer will be June 1st.


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

Are "今天几月几号“ and ”今天几号“ different?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoseArreol736359

I was wondering the same


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

Why do all of you have these translation problems? I am 2 weeks in and rarely get it wrong because I take notes. I recommend actually investing time!


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

"To ask what date it is, ask for the month (几月, jǐ yuè) and the day of the month (几号, jǐ hào) at the same time. 今天几月几号? What date is it today?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobynFranc6

Why capitalise the English "What" but put a comma in the Chinese characterisation? I put "Excuse me, today's date is?" and it wasn't accepted. Placing a capitalised "What" would have made no grammatical sense!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Seonnyn90

Excuse me, what day of the month is it? Is the today really needed here? I guess not, but still wrong without it.


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

Yes, because it's in the Chinese (今天), without "today" they could be talking about any day:

Receptionist: "Your appointment is for the last Thursday of June."

You: "What date is it?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/laura85058

It is a way to express the present tense, I gather, since there is no other indicator for the tense.

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