View Full Version : がくせい vs だいがくせい

01-26-2008, 11:18 PM
Well, I'm typing up my Japanese I lessons so I can teach those who didn't have the chance to learn this language in their highschool that I've had. Upon typing this I've come across this..

3. がくせい College student
*1. だいがくせい College student

Now, it's probally that *1 (in optional vocabulary) is just a polite way to say college student, I'd just like to make sure.

01-26-2008, 11:42 PM
I think the first one is just a generic student not necessary a college student.

01-27-2008, 04:07 AM
The word for school is がっこう (学校)and students at school are がくせい (学生)

If you were in elementary school you'd be しょうがくせい (小学生), in middle school ちゅうがくせい (中学生), and in high school you'd be こうこうせい (高校生)

The word for college is だいがく (大学), meaning literally big school, so a college student is だいがくせい (大学生)

Hope that helps some.

01-27-2008, 09:45 AM
I'll just type what's in the book..
一。がっこう School
二。せいと Student {elementary, intermediate, hig h}
三。がくせい College student
四。ちゅうがく Intermediate school
五。こうこう High school
六。ちゅうがくせい Intermediate student
七。こうこうせい High school student
八。ちゅうがく いちねんせい 7th Grader
九。ちゅうがく にねんせい 8th Grader
十。ちゅうがく さんねんせい 9th Grader
十一。こうこう いちねんせい 10th Grader
十二。こうこう にねんせい 11th Grader
十三。こうこう さんねんせい 12th Grader

Optional Vocabulary
一。だいがく College, university
二。だいがくせい College student
三。しょうがっこう Elementary school
四。しょうがくせい Elementary student
五。ようちえん Kindergarten
六。ほいくえん Pre-school 

01-27-2008, 10:23 AM
my dictionary says: gakusei can mean students (school and college)
while daigakusei explicitly means collegestudent/university student

maybe a slight difference

01-27-2008, 10:36 AM
lol.....dude(tte), just trust nytyngayl and raintree leaf on this one.
がくせい means 'student' as in the generic student.
whilst だいがくせい is more specific and it means university/college student.

the reason maybe your book translated it into college student is that:

1) the author made a stupid mistake
2) when you're in japan, and you say that you're a student, 99% of the time you're gonna be a college/university student. so basically in the foreigner's case, the word がくせい already has the university/college student nuance

01-27-2008, 10:45 AM
Why does everyone always assume I'm a guy just because my names Chocobo, sheesh...

Well, sensei usually explains the difference of two words. Such as why people don't use し for 4, they use よん most of the time. We actually have a Japanese teacher, so she goes in-depth in explaining. -_-;;

I would just accept that がくせい means generic student, but then there's せいと. I can accept that it's generic but I can't at the same time. The book usually says (polite form of ~~) if there's a polite form. Eh..

01-27-2008, 03:04 PM
in which part did i assume that you were a guy? why are you getting into a huff? you want us to help you don't you? then quit acting like you're in 1st grade.

japanese and english are not the same. they are sooo very different. words have differerent nuances. you can't expect that one word in japanese will have the exact same equivalent in english, coz most of the time it won't. any good jap->eng dictionary won't just give you one translation of a word, but many possibilities.

eg, jwpce (a free dictionary) translates おおきい: big, large, great

to answer your question about せいと, i looked it up in my dictionary and it gave me a list of:
student, pupil, schoolchild, schoolboy, schoolgirl

after 5 different words, i think you can get the "feel" of the word can't you?
for me, i'd translate it as 'pupil'. you use it when referring to middle and high school students. not for college students.

i think you need to branch out more for learning sources. its not really good to rely on just 1 book. there are some great free links in the stickies of this website that our dear admins have put up for all of us to use. or just use google. or go to your local library.

and lastly, you need to chill girl. getting stressed out over nothing isn't gonna help you learn japanese. anyway がんばって!

01-27-2008, 03:37 PM
I'm not really stressing over it. And I never said you considered me a guy, just that dude(tte) reminded of me going on several threads and most people saying "he." Just would like people to type she/he or s/he if they're not sure.

Now, the reason being I'm relying on my 1 Japanese book is because...well because it's a Japanese book set for a Japanese learning class -.- and our dictionaries won't be issued until the class is done with the Japanese 1 book, I stick to that 1 book.

Now, since the posts here really haven't told me exactly what I wanted to know (yes I know that words can have several meanings such as かみ(God)、かみ(Paper)、はな(Flower)、はな(Nose)、etc.)

Now, what I probably should have asked in the beginning was...

Is がくせい the same thing as だいがくせい just one is used by an older generation, and the other used by the younger. In the same essence as くるま and じどうしゃ or is it one is the formal form and the other is a nonformal form in the essence of ひと and ~かた

01-27-2008, 05:24 PM
Oh so you're speaking in terms of whether they have any difference in politeness level. I don't really think so, you can use them in both polite and plain/informally, the only reason why your question is misinterpreted is that both are different words - daigakusei is a special kind of gakusei in which they are for university students.

Rinoa Iam
01-27-2008, 06:39 PM
I agree with AzureDark. You can probably use the two terms fairly equally, just daigakusei is more specific.

As for seito... In my personal experience, I've mostly seen seito when referring to things such as "seitokai" (kinda like "student council" or whatnot).

Ummm.... in sum, if you are saying you are a student (in general), I don't think there's a problem using "gakusei desu." It's not more or less polite. But if you want to stress what kind of a student you are, be more specific ("daigakusei desu", "koukousei desu", etc.).

I am not Japanese, but this is just what I think of the two words. ^_^ Gakusei=student (in general), Daigakusei=college student. As far as I know, neither one is used more by a younger or older generation. Hope that helps.

01-27-2008, 07:22 PM
Well...de blah

I'll just ask sensei tomorrow. She's probably 95% fluent in English. Bless her, she didn't know the word spiral.
"They often use the kind of notebook with...*motions hand in a circle* How do you say it?"

Then she spelled invitation as inivitation. I went and corrected it in front of class -_- I feel so aweful now...

Well, I'll say what sensei says about those words tomorrow...

01-27-2008, 10:03 PM
Well...de blah

"de bleh"? hahaha.....well if you don't care for our answers why do you come to this website? you should just go and ask her straight away. saves your time and our time and trouble answering your questions. tsk tsk tsk

こいつなんかさ、マジでむかつくなんだけど。俺はそんなに暇じゃないのにわざわざ時間を作って質問に答えて あげたんだよ。けどそういう態度はありえないでしょう?いやああ、もうこれからシカトする。みんなもそうす ればいいと思うよ。この恩知らずの豚女の質問に答えがいがない。時間の無駄だけでさ

01-27-2008, 10:25 PM
No need to get into an argument! Next negative word out of anyone will result in some negative rep and/or a warning.

As stated before: gakusei is a generic student. a kid in school, someone studying martial arts, an adult learning another language, etc etc. It just means student.

小学生  elementary school student
中学生 junior high school student
高校生 high school student
三年生 3rd grade 一年生 first grade, etc etc
大学生 college student
学生 student in the generic sense.

And before you start with the "she isn't qualified" BS: I live in Japan, been studying Japanese for years, and worked in the Japanese public education system where I had to know what each group of student... i mean... gakusei was called.

And next time, please don't get angry with each other. thank you.

01-27-2008, 11:14 PM
Now now, children, calm down (XD)

But yeah...basically here's the rundown (it makes a lot more sense if I explain it in Kanji...Kanji makes everything better):

学 (がく) means "study". 生 (せい) means "life". 学生 means "a life of studying" (roughly). Generally 学生 is used for school, but it can be used for anything, strictly speaking (although it probably wouldn't come up much otherwise in day-to-day conversation without some sort of qualifier).

大 (だい) means "large" or "great". Hence 大学 is a "big school", a university. A 大学生 is a "life of university", or a university student.

01-28-2008, 02:55 AM
As I come in late to the discussion. >> <<

せいと isn't a word normally used to describe students in school, but usually students of a particular art- martial or otherwise.

Those studying kendo or judo under a master aren't がくせい、 they're せいと. Again, students of tea ceremony would be せいと.

Much the same way that the verb 習う implies and is only applied to learning specifically in a classroom setting with teacher and desks and all that.

01-28-2008, 04:42 PM
Here's what だいすけ told me in class:

せいと:A student; one who is learning [nonacademic]. However, this can be used if you know they're a student in something you just aren't sure. This is a more direct word for student.
がくせい: something like ~student. ~ meaning "type of". This is a more general word for student.
だいがくせい: This explicitly means college/university student.

01-28-2008, 07:44 PM
Which is basically what everyone has been saying.

But yeah. That about sums it up.

01-28-2008, 08:47 PM
Well, what everyone's been saying is that がくせい meant student when actually it was a prefix of a type of student, when せいと meant a student such as martial arts or more less general.

Anway, thank you everyone for helping me. Sory for not just being an obedient Chocobo and just taking your word..s for it. Thank you ^_^;;

I guess this can be closed now, hmm?

01-30-2008, 06:58 PM
Well, what everyone's been saying is that がくせい meant student when actually it was a prefix of a type of student

That's not quite true. 学生 is, first off, a *suffix* ("pre-" = "to come before"). Also, 学生 by itself is just a general statement: "I am a student" = "私は学生". However, while what you were told is not strictly incorrect (e.g. 大学生, 小学生, 中学生, etc.), although more generally Japanese likes to use の to modify things (e.g. 日本語の学生, "Japanese language student").

01-30-2008, 11:35 PM
seito is actually normally used for school too. It's more correct for the lower schools students than gakusei... Like, if you ask something like "how many students are there in this class?" you use seito. But if you just say "I'm a student" then... yeah.

But generally, gakusei is often defined as college/uni student while seito is defined as low/middle/high school student. The former of the two is just more flexible in meaning.

01-31-2008, 11:13 AM
seito is actually normally used for school too. It's more correct for the lower schools students than gakusei... Like, if you ask something like "how many students are there in this class?" you use seito. But if you just say "I'm a student" then... yeah.

But generally, gakusei is often defined as college/uni student while seito is defined as low/middle/high school student. The former of the two is just more flexible in meaning.

And I take it that I'll learn all these nuances of language when I finally get over there in Spring.


*takes notes so she doesn't look like a total idiot when she goes*

02-01-2008, 05:47 AM
I rarely hear seito except in formal settings. gakusei is usually used in most situations.

and yes, you can't really get the nuances of the language unless you've been here awhile and immersed yourself in certain areas. I'm great with political and school nuances because that's where I've worked in Japan. My husband is better with university and sports terms because of his work.

02-02-2008, 03:44 PM
Ahh, I'm completely dazzled right now. (Not really the right term.)

Completely meant to say "suffix" instead of "prefix." Also, I'm still rather confused. I still haven't typed more of the book yet. -_-;; So, せいと can be both a suffix, but also be used when refering to one of lower status? Like if you're a highschool student and talking about a middle school student. And it can also be used to talk about students in general...also in formal situations..x.x

While がくせい is used if you're referring to one above your status [middle talking about high school]. And err...not formal-ish.

だいがくせい means college/university student...

It's not that I'm confused [in class we've only used がくせい, but we've always had しょう~、ちゅう~、だい~、こうこうせい. It's more or less since I haven't used it in class, I really don't understands it's use. We've used しょうがくせい、ちゅうがくせい、だいがくせい just not せいと or がくせい alone.

02-08-2008, 04:56 AM
I'm sorry to burst everyone's bubble after the discussion is all but finished, but from the perspective of a native speaker, 学生 is almost always used to refer specifically to college students (see below, although generally speaking it can be used to refer to grade school students, i.e. 学生服, just not that often), and is usually differentiated from 生徒, which in turn is almost exclusively used to refer to junior high and high school students, which is in turn differentiated from 児童, which refers exclusively to primary school students.

In case nobody believes me, Goo says,
学生 (http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/search.php?MT=&#37;B3%D8%C0%B8&kind=jn&mode=0&base=1&row=1)
"Primarily, it refers to those who study at college."

生徒 (http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/search.php?MT=%C0%B8%C5%CC&kind=jn&mode=0&kwassist=0)
特に小学校 (http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/search.php?MT=%BE%AE%B3%D8%B9%BB&kind=jn&mode=1&wl=1)の児童や大学の学生に対し、中学校 (http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/search.php?MT=%C3%E6%B3%D8%B9%BB&kind=jn&mode=1&wl=1)・高等学校 (http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/search.php?MT=%B9%E2%C5%F9%B3%D8%B9%BB&kind=jn&mode=1&wl=1)で教育を受ける者。
"Especially those who are being educated at junior high school or high school, as opposed to 児童 at primary schools and 学生 at colleges."

In a nutshell:
学生 = almost certainly refers to college students.
生徒 = almost certainly refers to junior high or high school students.
児童 = primary school students.

An exception, as I noted above, is the 学生服 (or 「学ラン」, which can be used to refer to the school uniform which primary and secondary students wear).
However, historically speaking, the first school uniform in Japan was introduced by Tokyo University in 1886 for the use of college students, according to Wikipedia (http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%AD%A6%E7%94%9F%E6%9C%8D), so there's no mystery there.

Hope that clears things up. In any case, all three terms (学生、生徒、児童) are not phrases you come by often in daily life, since they are too general a term. In an ordinary conversation, it's much more convinient to use 大学生、高校生、中学生、小学生, as the original poster supposedly does in his/her class.

As an related aside, I think Mistress Pooky's feeling that 生徒 is somehow more formal than 学生 is, although not quite true in my view, at least understandable.
Take the phrase, "He is a student". If it were a college student we were speaking of, we would say 「彼は学生です」
However, if the person in question were a junior high or high schooler, we would more often than not say 「彼は高校生です」 「彼は中学生です」, instead of 「彼は生徒です」, which would lack specificity (it makes sense: there isn't much difference between a college student in his first year and fourth year, so you can use the same word for both, but there is a world of difference between a freshman in junior high and a senior in high school, and so there is a need to be more specific).
Therefore, you don't hear 生徒 being used very often in daily life, and so you get the impression it is used only in formal situations. Or at least so I suspect.

As another aside referring to an earlier development in this thread (ergh, asides to asides... it's a bad habit I need to break) using the second-person "he" for both male and female genders in cases where gender is either unknown or irrelevant is still good English the last time I checked, despite being rather politically incorrect in this time and age.