Translation:My teacher was in Beijing last year.
25 CommentsThis discussion is locked.
Would this be considered a fault on Duo or is there another set of characters to denote went? Because for 'was in' we use 在, and have for a while. 在 is like a small swiss knife. It can be an adverb, preposition, or even a verb clause (which it is in this case, I think).
Yet 'went to' is a verb in past tense. So using the always correct google translator I get 去了 for 'went to'. Google spits out this thread's Chinese-English translation, but if you put 'went to' instead of 'was in' you get,"我的老师去年去了北京。" Not saying that it is right, but there is a difference.
Being located somewhere is not the same as traveling there in terms of language. I wouldn't say "you went home yesterday" if someone wanted to know where you were yesterday at 8pm. You were already there, and they didn't ask where you went.
在 does not mean "to go" or "went"; it means "to be located". The question/exercise is clear. If you learn Mandarin the wrong way, you wont be able to communicate effectively with it.
I believe these are different. If you wanted to indicate a past completed action - the going - in a contrast, I think using the particle 了is correct:
However, the given text merely expresses a past /state of being/ -
and it's important to note that 去 there /is not/ the verb! I don't think you can use 了 with 在 though? (Unless you are dead... =) )
Of course I'm just learning, so please someone correct me if wrong!
To summarize everyone's complaints here:
我的老师 = my teacher. Actually no one disagreed with this. Good!
Lots of English speakers wondered about 去年 = qu nian when w have learned 去 is 'go' and 年 is 'year' But helpful Chinese speakers point out that 去年 means "Last year" and it can even be explained with 去 meaning 'go' because it is "The year gone by". Really this shouldn't upset anyone who speaks English as we have many such words: take a random homonym such as "Address" everyone knows this can mean "Address: to speak to a group" or "Address: a physical location". Someone learning English would be confused of course until they learn that the same word has different uses in different contexts.
The sentence finishes with 在北京 zai bei jing - some English speakers wanted to translate this sentence as 'went to Beijing' but 在 doesn't mean to 'go' So 'went' is wrong as the past tense. 在 rather means 'to be (in a location)' so past tense is 'was'. Even in English "I was in Beijing" does not mean the same as "I went to Beijing" it's 2 different sentences of a similar theme.
I've noticed 在 gets used a lot in Chinese, and sure, that isn't weird - in English the words 'is' and 'was' get used for many purposes, including physical location (I was in Beijing), temporary state of being (I was thirsty), physical attributes (She was tall), profession (He was a Lawyer), action taking place, (The boy was crying), etc etc. We shouldn't be getting upset when we see powerful words like 去 and 在 getting used in multiple ways. That's just language.
- Some people are angry by alternate word orderings not being accepted. It is a little frustrating, but the purpose of Duo is to learn the language, not to get all right answers. If you play on your phone, try the web browser where getting wrong answers doesn't take away your hearts -- it's a better way to learn. When you get a wrong answer for word order, you can report it and move on, but only the Heart system that Duo created on phone app versions is what makes it hurt to get wrong answers.
Why only two word orders? Let's not insist only on the given words also.
Instead of last year "year gone by" or "past year" or "2019" or "an year before" "a year ago" etc etc.
Instead of "was", say "happened to be", "visited", "resided", "traveled to"... etc etc
Instead of my teacher "our teacher", "my tutor", "my school teacher", "my class teacher", "my maths teacher", "my English teacher"... etc etc
Then let's turn our attention to the famous and flexible word order you alluded to, and combine these into a few hundred thousand permutations.
"An year ago my tutor happened to be in Beijing"; " In Beijing visited our geography instructor in the year gone by";... ..... and so on and so on.