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This Chinese word has not been taught

I've just been working the "Time" lesson in my Chinese Duo Lingo, and I've had trouble because there's a word/character being used in the lesson that hasn't been taught yet. I think I've found it in a Chinese dictionary, and I think it is "ri" 4th tone. It is defined as "sun", "time", and "every day, day by day". I'm assuming "time" must be the meaning intended. Could someone please confirm? Also, this oversight needs to be corrected.

April 3, 2018



"日" is a word with a lot of meanings. So actually it can mean all of the above definitions in different context. However it most common meaning it represents is colloquial "days", used as "日子“. Also used as the formal way of saying "Sunday" as "星期日”,“周日”. After all it is also a swearword used as "f**k".


The word 日 does mean sun. It is used in the word 星期日 which means Sunday. It does appear elsewhere however.


Thank you for your reply. I've been keeping a notebook since I started with the Chinese, copying the characters, and noting their meaning, and it hasn't been introduced, like the other words, The only other place I've seen it is in the list of words that are included with the list for Time's lesson 2., but that doesn't tell me anything about it's meaning. I'd like to know why it's needed along with the word for Sunday. I already knew the days of the week in Chinese pinyin, and I've never heard of this word before.


There are two sets of words for the days of the week in Chinese: 星期 and 周. The only difference in the endings between the two is in Sunday, which are 星期天 or 周日 respectively. (星期日 is formal and rarely used.) 日 was introduced in Time 1 (Lesson 2), the Tips and Notes of which you may want to check out. 日 means sun or day by inference, and is one of the most basic and essential Chinese characters. "Time" is 时间 in Chinese, and if you look carefully you will notice 日 as a radical in both of those two characters, as well as in many other characters having to do with either the sun or time.


There's also another way to say week, which is 礼拜 li3bai4 :)


Thanks to you all. I didn't know the other way to say 'week". I do appreciate all the input, & also that Duo Lingo has provided this Chinese course! I still contend, though, that ri4 being on the word list for Time's lesson 2, is never "introduced" like the other words. I like it when a new Chinese character is displayed in large size (so I can hand-copy it) along with the sound it makes.


I still contend, though, that ri4 being on the word list for Time's lesson 2, is never "introduced" like the other words.

I just ran through this lesson and this does indeed seem to be the case. It would seem that the character 'introduction' questions are specified individually and they overlooked this one.

Incidentally, although '日' does mean 'sun', if you want to refer to the literal sun the usual word is '太陽' (tai4yang2). '日' is also often short for 'Japan' (as in '日文', '日語').


As Pan Ruimeng pointed out, it's got a LOT of meanings. And so, I kinda think that because you already count as having "learned" the word, the program doesn't realize you haven't been taught this sense of the word yet. But it may be that the particular usage here is being tested without teaching in part due to the way 日 functions in the difference between spoken and written Chinese.

When it comes to writing down dates, 日 is used for "day" but when spoken, people typically avoid using it. For example, they may write the date "一月一日“ but they will say "一月一号" and they may write 星期日 but they will say 星期天。(interestingly, 周日 is always the same, as is 礼拜天) In speaking, people always say 明天, but in writing it isn't unusual to see 明日. Because all lessons, whether in spoken style or written style, are written in duolingo, I think it has trouble specifying which one to accept. I'm not sure exactly how this works, but I think that when they teach you a word like "明天“ that automatically counts as "明日” and so it may be throwing 日 at you like you've learned it, because it already taught you 天.

This is just a theory, but if one of the team takes a look at this, I'd be interested to know if that's what's going on.



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