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Are you guys Japanese people?

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Are you guys Japanese people?

Postby Akuma » Thu 10.13.2005 1:25 am

Ah ha, this is probably a dumb question (Yeah, no such a thing as a dumb question.. I probably invalidate that statement :(), but, which of these sentences would be correct, if you were addressing a group of Japanese people:

Anatatachi wa Nihonjintachi desu ka?

Can you attach the suffix "-tachi" to all nouns, or just pronouns? Par exemple:

Boku wa hon-tachi o katta (I bought books). Thus far, the only way I know how to say this would be: Boku wa hon o ni-satsu katta (I bought two books).

Anyway, back to my original question, is "Anatatachi wa Nihonjintach desu ka" the proper way to say "Are you guys Japanese people?" Or, is it safe to just say: "Anatatachi wa Nihonjin desu ka?"
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RE: Are you guys Japanese people?

Postby mandolin » Thu 10.13.2005 2:04 am

I'll throw in my guess before someone better answers --

I'd say stick with nihonjin instead of nihonjintachi.

I think asking "are all of you japanese?" is more natural.
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RE: Are you guys Japanese people?

Postby Mukade » Thu 10.13.2005 2:35 am

You only use "tachi" with people (unless you're personifying something - but that would sound very unusual), so hontachi would be incorrect. There is no way to make a noun plural in Japanese. If you really, really must indicate number, then you would use the "counter word" (as in your example of hon wo nisatsu).

-----

To clarify Mandolin's (correct) assumption:

The sentence anatatachi ha nihonjin desu ka? would be grammatically correct. Keep in mind, however, that the Japanese try very hard to avoid using pronouns of any kind. So, a more natural way to say this would just be nihonjin desu ka?

It translates as "Japanese (people)?", which is very odd in English, but it is perfectly normal in Japanese.

Hope that makes sense.
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RE: Are you guys Japanese people?

Postby skrhgh3b » Thu 10.13.2005 3:35 pm

lol this is a good way to get judo-chopped :D
♪夢も見たくない 幸せなんか要らない
恋もしたくない お金なんか要らない
ぼくに必要な眠りを眠らせておくれ♪
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RE: Are you guys Japanese people?

Postby Kates » Thu 10.13.2005 3:57 pm

-tachi can be used with other living things, not just people--but people are the standard. I once read a story about 「近所の猫たち」 (kinjyo no neko-tachi)... ^_^

And just to make sure: Akuma, if you are really going to ask someone who you assume is Japanese if they ARE Japanese... a more polite way would be "Nihon kara kimashita ka." (Did you come from Japan?) It doesn't sound as direct, which makes it more polite to most Japanese. ^^;
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RE: Are you guys Japanese people?

Postby Justin » Thu 10.13.2005 5:00 pm

I would have to agree with you there Golgo-13 that no matter how you put things, it's still a bit of a rude question, like Mukade said though, it's usually best to just drop the pronoun, even if it may seem a bit odd.

Using 日本の方 inplace of just saying 日本人 definatly sounds better, but by still using あなた there even though you've used 方 inseat of 達, just sounds a bit...off, maybe that's just me though. The most polite form of あなた that I can think of right now would probably have to be そちらさま, then again though, would probably still be best to just leave it out.
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RE: Are you guys Japanese people?

Postby kanadajin » Thu 10.13.2005 5:08 pm

How would you say "are you Japanese" anata nihongo desu ?
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RE: Are you guys Japanese people?

Postby kanadajin » Thu 10.13.2005 5:12 pm

Nihonjin..*
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RE: Are you guys Japanese people?

Postby kanadajin » Thu 10.13.2005 5:42 pm

oh never mind its "anata wa nihonjin desu ka" right ?
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RE: Are you guys Japanese people?

Postby nprz » Thu 10.13.2005 6:48 pm

Like Justin said, better to drop the "anata wa" part off and just ask them "nihonjin (nihon no kata) desu ka"
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RE: Are you guys Japanese people?

Postby skrhgh3b » Thu 10.13.2005 7:54 pm

on the other hand, i remember catching a ride in a cab in kyoto with two lovely japanese ladies (lucky me), and the conversation starts off a little like this: "so, a foreigner, huh? ... an american? ... oh, yeah? where from? ... kansas city? ... like the royals? ..."
♪夢も見たくない 幸せなんか要らない
恋もしたくない お金なんか要らない
ぼくに必要な眠りを眠らせておくれ♪
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RE: Are you guys Japanese people?

Postby Infidel » Thu 10.13.2005 9:51 pm

Ok, I've heared -tachi used for non-living things. Hoshitachi comes to mind.
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RE: Are you guys Japanese people?

Postby Mukade » Fri 10.14.2005 2:18 am

ishnar wrote:
Ok, I've heared -tachi used for non-living things. Hoshitachi comes to mind.


This is an example of -tachi being used to personify something. You wouldn't normally use -tachi with hoshi.

Using it would be akin to saying something like "the stars smile down on you." Stars don't really smile, we just say they do within certain contexts to be poetic or literary.

----

And yes, sorry I wasn't clearer before:

-tachi is used with living creatures, not just people. But let's clarify that even further and say that -tachi is used with living, moving creatures. So, you wouldn't say something like ki-tachi for "the trees."
Last edited by Mukade on Fri 10.14.2005 2:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Are you guys Japanese people?

Postby Akuma » Fri 10.14.2005 3:23 am

Hey, just wanted to say to everyone who has tackled this problem, thanks ^^.

@Kate: I'll keep that in mind about politeness. :).
@Mukade: Thank you for the thorough explanation, it helped :).
@Justin: Sochira sama? What is that all about?

And I'm still a bit confused... Although I think Mukade knows what he's talking about (About not being able to use -tachi nouns), ishnar claims he has heard it used with other nouns.. so now I'm not 100% positive, although I'll go with what Mukade said since he seems knowledgable about Japanese :)>.

Thanks again guys.
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RE: Are you guys Japanese people?

Postby Mariya » Fri 10.14.2005 4:28 am

kanadajin...can you please try and avoid double/triple posts, you can always edit your initial post..

Thanks to Akuma for starting this thread, I had a similar question. :)
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