1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Chinese
  4. >
  5. "请问,你是李老师吗?"


Translation:Excuse me, are you Teacher Li?

November 18, 2017



Traditional Chinese: 請問,你是李老師嗎?

請問here literally means "may I ask". Excuse me in this translation showing politely, but the meaning of ask is not shown in this text.


I learnt traditional chinese too but I think people here to learn chinese have enough to do with the simplified logograms ;-)
My daughter has chinese course in her school. Of course, I would like her to know the traditional writing but I m happy if she only knows the simplified one because she's been making great effort to memorize and mostly she writes with pinyin.


Thanks for the traditional !


I know that 老师 is teacher of course. But I think it's just too unnatural to say "Teacher Li" in English, and it should really just be translated as "Mr. Li" because it's just a distinction that English doesn't make.


I think this kind of thing is a constant difficulty in translation: is it supposed to be the meaning as it would be expressed in the translated language that is being given, or is the translation a hybrid of meaning plus a somewhat literally translated string of words?


Chinese is notoriously short of surnames, so there is a tendency, I believe, to refer to people by their profession or some other characteristic.


It's true, and I think that too. Buuuuut, I've seen this a lot is comment sections saying that duo is just using their country's language. But just hover your mouse or tap your finger on a word that you're not sure, and it will tell you the English translation of it. If you're just not sure. I usually hover my mouse over words like teacher, doctor, men, women and so on. So if you're ever having trouble, just tap of hover over the word! :D


Then it should also be translated to Ms. Li and Mrs. Li too. How do you know Teacher Li is male?


I completely agree with this, it shouldn’t be teacher li as it isn’t natural. Professor li as stated below would be much more appropriate I believe.


@duovivo - Elizabeth Li and millions of female teachers would take serious offence at your translation, I'm sure. And what is also interesting is that English does naturally allow Dr. Li, Judge Li, Professor Li, Inspector Li, Detective Li, President Li and so on, but discriminates against teachers for some reason.


how do you know it is a sir

[deactivated user]

    Well, it does distinguish between an ordinary Mr Li as opposed to Teacher Li. Li is a common Chinese last name and maybe adding 'Teacher' helps others understand what Teacher Li's job is. Hope this helps. Ambereen


    I wrote "Lee" instead of "Li" and got it incorrect. In previous questions, I always wrote "Lee' and I got them right. No more Lee spelling but should be "Li"?


    This course is taught in pinyin, so it should be Li. Lee is a common spelling in Korean and Cantonese. Other countries, such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan dont use pinyin (hence Bruce Lee (李), whose parents were from Hong Kong and spoke Cantonese)


    this should be accepted.


    I used Lee instead of Li, and was marked incorrect. I know the latter is more common, but in Hong Kong, Lee is used more than Li... Please fix this. Thank You


    Hong Kong doesnt use pinyin. But this course does. If you want to spell it Lee, you should learn Cantonese


    Do you know any Cantonese course? I'm interested but can't find any.


    I do not know of a DuoLingo Cantonese course, but Mango, Pimsleur, and others offer Cantonese courses. Good luck. Much of the grammar and writing is the same as Mandarin, but of course, the pronunciation is different.


    it right to say ...... excuse me , are you Li teacher ?


    In English, title comes before name. Many here say that "Teacher Li" sounds awkward in English, but we are here to learn Mandarin, in which 李老师 is, indeed, the correct order. In English, titles precede names: Mr. Li, Professor Li, Miss Li, Sir Lancelot, Officer Cresap, President Sanders, Captain Crunch, Queen Bee, King Kong, and so forth.

    If it helps, think of it as "Li, Ph.D.," "Julius Hibbert, MD," or "Magnum, PI."


    But only in Chinese English. Canadian English it just sounds weird. :/


    Teacher deserves nin



    Especially if Li is your teacher, but we do not know who is asking the question; maybe, Li's boss (the Principal) is asking, or Li's coworker (perhaps another teacher senior to Li), or a police officer. I think it's fine to use "nin" rather than "ni" here, but "ni" is acceptable, depending on the context.


    The recording kind of omits the final consonant in 请问 to make "qing weh" instead of "qing wen"; is this normal or just an inaccurate recording?


    I chose "季老師是 ni ma" because I thought he was looking for Teacher Li. I think it should be accepted since "Is Teacher Li you?" is not a good sentence in English but I think it's good in Chinese.


    Is "please may i ask ..." correct?


    why not excuse me BUT are you teacher Li?

    [deactivated user]

      Maybe because Chinese places words in a different order than English, so this may be a strange context and make the comment a bit harder to understand.


      I'm pretty sure it's because the sentence never really put the word/phrase for "but", aka "但是“. It says "请问,你是李老师吗?“ which translates to "may I ask, are you teacher Li?" but if you want to add in the "but", I think it would be better to add in "但是“, creating the sentence "请问,但是你是李老师吗?”.


      Is please can I ask not an appropriate trnaslation for 请问?


      i had: excuse me, are u teacher li. thats very frustrating, because it was wrong. I guess its my mistake


      S gr8 tat u wrt are stead of r; excuse stead of xcus; n teacher stead of tch.

      xcus me, r u tch li snds mch mre cmpct. Innit?


      I spelled "excuse" wrong and it was wrong! come on!!!


      @A.YAY-16: Try again. Hopefully you can spill it right in the seconds attempt.


      I typed in: 请问, 你是李老师吗?But I was marked incorrect.

      Why? The only difference I can see is maybe an extra space between the two phrases.

      Is that really enough to be marked wrong? What is wrong with this course?


      Hi Dave: same problem here: not accepted: 请问, 你是李老师 吗? My suspicion vacillates between incompetency and punctuation nazis having overtaken duolingo. For most languages duolingo is OK, but for Chinese I am looking at alternatives.


      You would not say it that way in English


      Professor Li is an accepted possible translation. That's not reflected in the responses for this one, but is earlier in the course. It needs to be consistent.


      Sadly, though, the Chinese words for professor and doctor (in the scholarly sense) are different from the Chinese for teacher.


      teacher and professor should be interchangeable


      as they are interchangeable in English?


      Generally not (although there could be regional variations). A teacher teaches elementary through to high school. A professor only teaches at university.


      Teacher Li is incorrect in English. "Teacher" is not the title for a teacher. Please accept Mr, Mrs, Ms, Dr, etc.


      Actually, here in Singapore, it is quite common. My daughter addredsses her teachers as "Teacher Vicky" etc.


      You are correct. We (native speakers) would never say Teacher Jones, or Teacher Smith. It's absolutely bonkers!! Even Master or Madam is better. If Li was teaching in Britain, Australia, USA, Canada (Anglo) with the exception of Dr, standard gender and/or martial status titles would apply.


      @Reuben - it's absolute bonkers because the language refuses to evolve. Judge Li, President Li, Detective Li etc don't feel like bonkers, do they? Besides, asking someone "Are you Mr. Li?" is merely enquiring about their name. Not profession. Which the Chinese sentence accomplishes beautifully.


      In Japanese ,we say "Li sensei". But in this sentence, "Mr. Li" or "Ms. Li" is right,I think.


      Who on Earth teacher Li?


      Your avatar is sans, my son loves undertale, I think the game name was undertale.


      You guys should buy my son's book, it is in spanish but it is really good, the book is called Max Stone el despertar de los zombies.


      Please and pardon are used the same! :(


      You cannot really use "please" here. "Pardon" may be acceptable and "excuse me" would be best.


      Please and Pardon are the same, c'mooon. Let me have this duo!


      YOU ARE and ARE YOU is the same


      Whats up with teacher li


      I do not know what is wrong


      well are you? ARE YOU?!?


      li teacher should be accepted


      No, it shouldn't.

      Learn Chinese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.