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Recently I got curious about Duolingo's Japanese courses, so I downloaded it and skipped over to section 5. This is the highest level section where they are still teaching you to my understanding. There is a section 6, but this seems to be a daily review only.

Regardless, during the session I did, they asked me to translate the following sentence: 俺は人間をやめるぞ!According to Duolingo, based on the words you're allowed to select, the answer is "I reject my humanity"

But, I honestly read the Japanese as "I will stop mankind (the human race)!". However, I could see Duolingo's translation being right if they used 辞める, but I would have expected them to use the kanji to convey this. Especially given that the other parts of the sentence are in kanji.

So how correct / natural is Duolingo here actually? How far am I off with my interpretation?

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  • Related phrases: 人間やめました, 人間卒業
    – Andrew T.
    Aug 26, 2023 at 4:34
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    Without researching the context, I'd say "I'm gonna quit being human!" or "I'm done with this being human business!" seem like more accurate translations. Whereas if the character were trying to "stop mankind", I think he would say something more akin to「俺は人類をとめるぞ!」(The same as how in English "stop" can mean either "quit/relinquish/辞める" or "prevent/impede/止める")
    – Mentalist
    Aug 26, 2023 at 6:54
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    Also, it is possible to reject one's humanity and still remain fully human in the technical sense of the word. I suppose this would probably result in the person committing inhumane deeds against others, or maybe just becoming a nihilistic recluse. I assume different individuals would have different ideas about what rejection of their own humanity would look like for them. "How do you express the rejection of your humanity? Tell us in this brief survey..." Oh BTW, humanity would probably translate most closely as 人間.
    – Mentalist
    Aug 26, 2023 at 7:10

2 Answers 2

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やめる is a transitive verb that can mean "to discontinue (an ongoing plan, activity, etc)" or "to quit (smoking, habit, job, etc)", but it does not mean "to stop/block (someone/something)" in general. 人間をやめる only means that he will no longer be a human, regardless of whether it's written as 止める【やめる】 or 辞める【やめる】 in kanji. (止める without furigana would usually be read as とめる, so it's in hiragana on purpose to avoid misreading.) "I reject my humanity" is a bit of free translation but I believe it's correct.

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  • Could it also be used to mean "I'm done with humanity" (I'm going to go off and live by myself)?
    – muru
    Aug 26, 2023 at 8:23
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    @muru 人間を辞める might mean abandoning civilization and living like a gorilla, but I don't think it would mean living alone.
    – naruto
    Aug 26, 2023 at 13:02
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I don't remember the scene, but the context of the phrase is, according to here, that Dio mentions limitations of being a human and then says the phrase. The intended meaning is that he is going beyond human.

So both reject and stop would make sense: reject all the limitations associated with being a human or stop being a human and become something superior.

I guess the most literal word for the やめる is to quit.

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  • Made an edit to my question. Changed "humanity" to "mankind" in my interpretation. I usually see these as the same thing, but it might be best to make them more distinct in the context of my question. Although, this might not make a difference overall. I also didn't know this was from JoJo's which is interesting Aug 25, 2023 at 3:28
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    @Tylersanzura If you mean by your translation stopping the human rance (from doing something), then it is wrong. 人間をやめる can only mean to quit being a human, i.e., the subject is becoming something else. For example, (even without Jojo's contexts) it can mean to be inhumanly cruel, throwing away human conscience. To stop the mankind from destructing environment is (人間が)環境破壊するのを止{と}める.
    – sundowner
    Aug 25, 2023 at 4:18

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