"What grade is your older sister in?"

Translation:あなたのおねえさんは何年生ですか?

December 4, 2017

22 Comments


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

Please please can someone fix it so the Japanese words play when you press them? It helps so much to cement the words in my head! Sometimes they play, sometimes they don't - it's deeply frustrating.

January 24, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/890123

Is it okay for you to refer to another person's older dister as just neesan? Not by adding the honourific "o" in front?

December 4, 2017

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

It is better to use おねえさん (お姉さん, oneesan) to refer other person's elder sister. This expression is always respectful. Without "o", namely "neesan" is a casual expression and is only used in a limited situation.

When one refers to his/her own (elder) sister, the term "あね" (姉, ane) is used as a humble expression. Do not use おねえさん (oneesan) for your own, except addressing your sister directly.

e.g. My elder sister is a university student

Correct: 私の姉は大学生です (Watashi no ane wa daigakusei desu)

Odd: 私のお姉さんは大学生です (Watashi no oneesan wa daigakusei desu)

December 4, 2017

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

Sorry dude, but if it is odd, many sources are using it incorrectly. Many people refer to their own sister as お姉さん outside of formal circumstances. As you mentioned, addressing your big sister directly you would call her お姉さん (or 姉上 for people overly archaic).

Many people I know (Native speakers) would use お姉さん rather than 姉 in regular conversation. But this is only anecdotal evidence.

From Goo辞書: 1.(御姉さん)自分の姉や他人の姉、あるいは、家庭内で姉にあたる人を敬い親しんでいう語。 (Onee-san) One's own older sister, another person's older sister, or a person within one's household who functions in that role.

From Weblio 英語例文 あなたは僕のお姉さんみたいですね。You are like my older sister.

According to 三省堂ウェブディクショナリー (Sanseido Web Dictionary) it is simply 姉の敬称 The polite way of saying あね.

There are books titled ぼくのお姉さん and 僕の姉ちゃん. Are these authors and publishers odd?

I will agree that 姉(あね)is more formal and proper, but that does not make お姉さん wrong or odd.

December 4, 2017

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

It is quite important to use humble/polite expressions distinctively and properly. It is one of unique (and tough) features of Japanese. Even if お姉さん is a polite expression, we do not use the term to mention one's own elder sister (in general).

The general rule is, use 姉 as a humble expression to mention one's own elder sister, particularly in a formal expression, as I already stated above.

You cited an example "あなたは僕のお姉さんみたいですね". However, this does not actually mention one's own elder sister, but another person than your own elder sister. Thus it could be お姉さん and does not sound odd.

It is sure that お姉さん is polite way of saying あね, but one should not use it when he/she mentions his/her own elder sister, when talking with other people outside his/her family (particularly in a formal conversation).

The book titles "ぼくのお姉さん" or "僕の姉ちゃん" would be accepted on a friendly note, but never common.

To be on the safe side, use always a humble expression to denote one's own relative, e.g. 母 instead of お母さん, 兄 instead of お兄さん, 叔父 instead of 叔父さん, 祖母 instead of おばあさん.

日本語では自分の近親者を呼ぶ場合、原則として謙譲語を使います。elder sister に対応する丁寧語は「お姉さん」ですが、謙譲語は「姉」です。近親者に対し「お姉さん」の語が許される例外は

(1) 自分の姉自体に呼びかける場合

(2) 家族の中で自分の姉について述べる場合

(3) ごく親しい友人や知り合いと話していて、自分の姉について述べる場合

(4) 敬語をまだ正しく使えない子供が、自分の姉について述べる場合

などに限られます。

See also: http://japanesekeigo.webnode.jp/keigo/polite/

December 5, 2017

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

I fear that we are overly confusing the original poster of this question and straying farther from the question which was asked.

I do concede that 姉(あね)is considered the proper way to speak about one's own sister to a third party. If given the choice of whether to use あね or おねえさん in this case, I would agree that あね is correct.

I would, however, maintain that not everybody speaks properly in everyday conversation. Just as, 'I'm good' instead of 'I'm well' as a response to 'How are you' is lamented as the loss of the ability to properly use the English language, there are similar examples in Japanese. 正しくないのかもしれませんが、私にとっては「変」だと思わない。正解の言葉扱いと日常扱いの違いじゃないですか。

I really enjoy and appreciate this kind of discussion and do not want you to think it is adversarial. 感謝です。仲良く行きましょうね、Okamotoさん。

Is it okay for you to refer to another person's older dister as just neesan? Not by adding the honourific "o" in front?

No, you should use the honorific 'o'.

December 5, 2017

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

I would like to appreciate your comment to make this community better. I quite agree that languages are always changing, as you pointed out.

However, the distinction between 姉 (humble) and お姉さん (honorific) is still effective and dominant. It is not a matter between "traditional, classic" and "colloquial, daily". This distinction is taught in elementary school (regrettably, not everyone can use two expressions properly).

I would be glad if this discussion helps you or other learners. Good learning!

December 10, 2017

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

It is acceptable to refer to another person's older sister as just "neesan", if and only if you and the person have a friendly relationship. Otherwise you should add "o" as an honorific prefix, at least to be on the safe side.

December 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KeithWong9

Yes I agree with Okamoto-san that for beginners better stick with 私の姉 and xxさんのお姉さん to be "safe" from being impolite.

For advanced usage -

私のお姉さん is OK if it is in one's own diary for example.

xxの姉 is appropriate if xx is your colleague and you are talking to an external client for example.

January 6, 2018

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

As in the example, you must include the honorific 'o'. ねえさん would mean one's own big sister, but casually.

To be on the safe side, recommend that you use おねえさん for your own as well. Your big sister is higher than you in status (age-wise), so she should be treated with respect.

December 4, 2017

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

Isn't ' あなた' rude, maybe I'm wrong. Hmm, I not sure.

July 25, 2018

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

あなた is not rude however it is more like referring to a person you do not know . if you know the person's name call them by that instead.

April 18, 2019

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

I omitted あなたの in my answer (I put simply おねえさんは何年生ですか?) and it was marked as incorrect. I thought that this might be a case in which the context would make it reasonably clear that the reference would be to the elder sister of the person being spoken to, so saying "your" would be unnecessary. Am I mistaken in that supposition? Is there another reasonable interpretation that might make it unclear what was intended? Thanks.

April 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Julia543869

I put お姉さんは何年生ですか last time and it marked it right. It just said at the end, ''another correct solution'' I wouldn't use it when talking to someone though. I wouldn't even use it in writing.

April 30, 2019

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

Why isn't "ごおねえさんは何年生ですか" also acceptable?

July 17, 2018

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

The most common usage of 'big sister, namely おねえさん(お姉さん), already includes the polite prefix お. The simpler form is ねえさん, but this form is not conventionally used and can drastically change the nuance.

御 is read as either お or ご depending on the word it is used with. In this case, ご would be not only incorrect but superfluous (akin to calling Sir Mixalot 'Sir Sir mixalot').

July 17, 2018

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

couldn't i just leave out the 生 and just ask 何年ですか?

November 27, 2018

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

It'd sound like the sister is a time traveler: 'What year is she in?'.

The 生 suffix is a counter for school years (grades). Without it, the lack of context is ungrammatical and confusing.

1年生 Freshman
2年生 Sophomore ...etc.

November 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nicki348527

Audio for 姉さん is broken (male voice), and there is no Hiragana to spell out おねえさん. Had to use process of elimination.

April 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joe.sanders06

Hey Duo. I don't have a japanese keyboard so i have to keep on getting these answers wrong. Plz help. :(

June 6, 2019

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

This sound should be "Anata no one-san wa nan nensei desuka?"

August 11, 2019

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

'Onē-san' or 'onee-san' is how it is normally represented so as not to ignore the elongated vowel. Also, not sure why you separate 'nan' 何from 'nensei'年生, as 'nensei' is pretty much incomplete without a prefix. A hyphen, okay. But complete separation, confusing.

August 12, 2019
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