"We are sisters."
Not for this particular question, no. きょうだい is a little complicated in that it can be read as brothers (kanji of big brother and little brother) or brother/sister (kanji of big brother and little sister or vice versa) but also be read as so when written as sister/sister (kanji of big sister and little sister). However, the kanji for sister/sister is normally read as しまい. For learners, it's best to know that しまい is for sisters and きょうだい for brothers or brothers and sisters. There is also おんなのきょうだい which means sister (girl brother, literally). Happy learning!
姉妹 is read as しまい and means sisters. The first kanji (姉 read as し) means older sister and the second (妹 read as まい) means younger sister. This is exactly like how 兄弟 (きょうだい) means brothers and the first kanji (兄 read as きょう) means older brother and the second (弟 read as だい) means younger brother.
I was wondering the same thing. It seems grammatically correct absent any context, but I'm not sure if it comes off sounding unnatural in certain situations.
For example, what is being omitted in this construction? ( topic )はしまいたちです。
If it's assumed to be the same, does (私たちは)姉妹たちです sound odd to a native speaker? Or is it acceptable to move the -たち out for clarity when using an implied topic in this manner?
It seems really interesting coming from a society that is as individualistic as the US. I wonder if it creates a whole different sense of unity. When I think of "we" I think of something like "them and me" whereas watashitachi instantly made me wonder if they consider it more of an extension of oneself/a single cohesive unit on a conceptual level. It would explain a lot regarding cultural attitudes toward imposing on others/failure to contribute sufficiently to the group, etc.
Exactly! I guess it's sort of like when you're including yourself when you say "the team" or something, but on a much bigger scale. And with an American mindset, you still kind of think of yourself as separate. It's more like "those I associate with (but do not quite define myself by and could leave if I felt like it/if it no longer matched 'me.')"
The English word "we" just means "I and unspecified others that you have to deduce from the context".
The Japanese word "watashitachi" just means "I and unspecified others that you have to deduce from the context".
They are exactly the same.
There is no grand revelation about a contrast between Japanese and American attitudes towards individualism and collectivism in these words.
The definitions are the same, but the meanings are different. In English, "we" and "I" are completely different words, but in Japanese (and several other languages) you take 「私」(i) and「たち」(plural marker) together to create「私たち」(the plural form of I.) It goes from meaning "me and others" to "several of me"
There's an english language discussion of -ら vs -たち that you might be interested in here: https://www.reddit.com/r/LearnJapanese/comments/vd7kh/pluralizing_%E3%82%89_vs_%E3%81%9F%E3%81%A1/
I also did a general google search and came across some japanese language discussions saying more or less the same things.
The tl;dr is basically that -ら is more informal and is generally not used with 私 (わたし), but is more common with the more casual personal pronouns such as 俺(おれ) and 僕(ぼく). It was also pointed out multiple places that it's always 彼ら(かれら) and never 彼たち(かれたち) when pluralizing "he/him". There also seems to be some regional bias as far as what is more acceptable/sounds natural as is common for things like this.
Writing 姉妹 in Kana in this case is like writing "sees tars" for sisters : it's really hard to recognize as one word.
し could be part of the last syllable to make はし（橋/箸/端) and まい could be まい. Not to mention that しまい as a whole seems to have another spelling which is: 終い
I really wish Duolingo's Japanese lessons had Kanji with Furigana on them. If that's even possible on a Duolingo course...
"Wa" = topic, actually. In English, the topic and the subject of a sentence are the same, but this is not always the case in Japanese. "Watashi no" means "my" and "Watashi wa" means "As for me/on the topic of 'me.' "
You are correct that "[noun] no" usually denotes ownership, but "no" can have other meanings, too. You'll see more of that as you progress through the cirriculum, though, so for now, just think of it as " 's" (Jon no = John's) or "of" (Kanada no Mari = Marie of Canada.)
It would be grammatically correct to use 「私たちが...」but if it's not the topic of the sentence, you'd usually omit pronouns, since it's implied by context. i.e. "WE are sisters" after being asked "who in this large group are sisters?" bould use 「は」but "we are SISTERS" after being asked "what is your relationship with this woman?" would either omit 「私たち」altogether or use 「が」