Translation:There are seven birds.

June 8, 2017



In Japanese there are usually two pronunciations for each number: one based on native Japanese and one borrowed from Chinese. According to one reference, the alternative pronunciation of 7 is なな from the native Japanese version.

Also, a number is usually followed by a counter (sometimes called a classifier). In this case, わ is counter for counting birds.

June 8, 2017


It's also worth noting that pronouncing 4 as shi and 7 as shichi is sometimes avoided, because "shi" means death.

June 18, 2017


I never quite bought that.

"Shi" means a whole lot of other things besides death, depending on context.

September 9, 2017


in japanese culture, the number 4 is highly avoided as it's more of a cultural belief to bring misfortune. it's like 13 in america but they sometimes completely skip writing the number 4 when counting parking spaces, elevator levels ec.

October 31, 2017


Guido Mista style

March 6, 2019


So, yiu are telling me that there is a counter specific for birds? Is it a counter for anything else or just birds?

August 1, 2017


Oh my god, if you haven't yet encountered the horrors of counters, count your lucky stars (without any need of counters!)

羽 (わ) is a counter for birds and rabbits! Most other small-ish animals use the counter 匹 (ひき), larger animals such as cows or elephants use 頭 (とう). The counter for people is 人 (pronounced にん).

There are loads of other counters for different kinds of objects too which you just have to memorize... (; ̄ー ̄A

August 14, 2017


When I first heard about the many types of counters, I thought it was a crazy amount for people to learn, and very different from English. But we do a lesser version of the same thing: you have three loaves of bread, but you don't have three loaves of cake; you can have three cakes of soap, though.

I wanted to use "flock" as the example, which I think just applies to birds and sheep, but of course three flocks of birds doesn't mean three birds, so it's not exactly a fair comparison.

February 21, 2018


Ooohhh..... I see you...

March 16, 2019


We use unique counters in English for fractionated things. If the cake is full - 2 cakes. If not, 2 slices of cake. 2 boxes of paper, 2 sheets of paper. Really though, we don't have many. For animate objects though we have a bunch of synonyms for group. Pack of dogs, murder of crows, a troop of apes, army of ants, colony of bats, pod of dolphins... There's so many you'll never use

June 19, 2019


Hahaha normally I would think that's a joke but I know now in Japanese everything is possible! Thank you

August 31, 2017


I think there are over 200 in Vietnamese (though typically a much smaller subset is in regular use) and I'm sure Chinese and Japanese have a similar number.

December 1, 2017


At least i won't have to ask what I'm counting lol

February 8, 2019


Are rabbits counted exclusively using the わ counter or can the ひき counter also be used for counting rabbits?

April 26, 2019


I could be wrong, but just a reminder that one and two people are ひとり (一人) and ふたり(二人). I think the other numbers follow the にん sufix as usual; さんにん (三人), よんにん (四人), and it goes like this.

June 22, 2019


Today I learned that 弟が一人います(おとうとがかぞくいます). So, One person = かぞく. I thought this mean "family", but that was how it was pronounced. I think Duolingo is simply wrong, but I'm not sure..

June 23, 2019


That might have been かずと. It is one of the readings of 一人 but does not mean "one person".


June 23, 2019


Yes and that is the case also in chinese. You think -s or -ies are difficult? We have difficult counters for different type of things, sometimes two or three type of counters for an animal...

September 2, 2017


Ia there a reason it just has 七 and not 七つ? I thought when describing a "number of things" you used 〜つ

July 15, 2017


Actually, it's not just 七, but 七わ. つ is just a general counter for non-specific things. But there is a specific counter for birds: 羽 (わ). Thus, 七わ means "seven birds", whereas 七つ just means "seven things". It's not incorrect, but generally, if you have a more-specific counter it's better to use that instead of つ.

July 20, 2017


But if he doesn't know the counter it would be safest to say 七つ, wouldn't it? Especially as a foreigner, he's probably not expected to know every single counter there is (not saying they shouldn't be studied though)

August 18, 2017


Yes, absolutely, in a pinch, when you forget, or when you're in doubt use the つ counter. Typically you can pick up meaning from context. It's not like you'd say とりが七ついます and they'd think, "As for those birds, there are 7 dogs" or something; it's clear from context you're talking about the 7 birds. As a foreigner in Japan, you're given a lot of leeway, and most people will appreciate you putting in any effort. After all, isn't the goal of learning and using a new language to be understood?

That said, problems will arise if it's not clear from context. Take this sentence: トイレは三つです. The washroom is...three objects? Huh??? Probably a little clearer if you use the floor counter, 階 (かい). トイレは三階です。 Now it's clear you're saying the washroom is on the third floor.

And if you are in a hurry to catch a flight and you tell the taxi driver it leaves in just 1 object, will they understand?

And while I have no personal experience, I suspect no one would like to be referred to as an object, so when counting people you should use 人 (にん), not つ.

So, really, while you're still learning Japanese, learn as many counters as you can; certainly the everyday common ones.

October 13, 2017


Is there a counter for Mississippi?

May 25, 2018


The Mississippi River? Rivers are counted using 本【ほん】for long, thin, cylindrical(-ish) things ;)

July 31, 2018


In English, people sometimes count by going "1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi, etc." as a way to make each number take approximately one second to say and therefore be able to measure time. Is there something like this in Japanese?

January 18, 2019


I think that's usually used for approximating the length of a second. Time starts out as a foreign concept for children, and every little bit helps.

Whether Japanese has something similar I'll leave for someone else to answer.

February 2, 2019


So あります is for objects and います for living things?

June 10, 2017


Exactly. Also animals are considered living while plants are not.

June 12, 2017


I would think of it more as animate vs inanimate.

July 1, 2017


Interestingly, 羽 is the counter for rabbits too, supposedly because buddhist monks loved the taste of rabbit so much they classified rabbits as flightless birds so they could eat them. There are other theories too, but I like the monk one best.

July 5, 2017


Hypocrisy at its finest

August 13, 2017


Why is the particle が used here instead of は ?

June 9, 2017


が is a subject marker but also answers the silent questions. は is a topic marker.

June 10, 2017



March 4, 2018


I wish we had the option to use kanji where possible with the kana above it in case you dont know or forgot its pronounciation. It would make things much easier to read..

February 21, 2019


It is not possible in Duolingo at this moment* That's why they should implement it. (I'm a programmer myself.) It might mean they have to change their base too much in order to support it, or they're using a 3rd party framework which makes it nearly impossible in the app. But if they wanted to implement it it should be possible. The most likely reason is that it's simply too much work, and therefore too expensive to implement. Or they have a shortage of programmers like pretty much every developer, which means they simply have too many other things to do which have a higher priority.

February 21, 2019


Try this https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/25852931

By the way ruby text is just standard html5 feature so I am sure it is as easy as enabling content input to include tag syntax when course contributors insert contents. (And drop texts if people use old browsers which do not support html5.)

February 22, 2019


Why is it shichi when i click it but nana when she says it

June 26, 2017


Both are correct ways to say 7 but you use one pronunciation over the other in a given context.

June 28, 2017


so, what is the defining context here? wa counter? how to know when to use shichi and when nana?

July 11, 2017


The counter define it. Nana wa is how it is said. Other counters have their exceptions

July 15, 2017


The counter is the defining context. If there is no counter or any other part of speech that affects it then the pronounciation is pretty much up to you

August 18, 2017


Wait, so there are seven birds of birds? Could I just say 七わいます?

June 10, 2017


Not really.. Even when わ is used as a counter solely for birds you have to use the subject.. Some of the counters are not just for one thing but can be for example for all small things.. There are counters also for general things, long cylindrical things, small compact things, large animals,etc...

June 10, 2017


So can I use nana and shichi interchangeably?

April 14, 2018


Not exactly. Which one you use depends on the sounds and characters around it, mostly what comes after it. For example:

  • 七わ = ななわ = seven (birds)
  • 七時 = しちじ = seven o'clock
  • 七日 = なのか = seven days, day seven
  • 十七日 = じゅうななにち = seventeen days, day seventeen
  • 七十 = ななじゅう = seventy

But, there's no real rhyme or reason to it unfortunately; you just get used to what sounds "normal".

April 27, 2018


Are you sure about that? I remember reading in one of my books that they usually can be used interchangeably, except in a few specific cases including しち時、ななつ, and a couple others... I wonder if it's explicitly wrong to switch them up, or if it just sounds unnatural?

June 17, 2018


Indeed it is ok to say しちわ/ななわ, しちこ/ななこ, しちさつ/ななさつ. I prefer なな over しち though because しち is easily confused with いち and ちgenerally sounds worse with the subsequent sound. e.g. いっさつ but しちさつ where the ち and さ do not blend well.

June 18, 2018


That's why I said "not exactly". In theory, it isn't explicitly wrong to switch them up, but from my experience, the cases where both しち and なな sound equally natural are the exceptions, not the rule. In the vast majority of cases, one sounds significantly more natural than the other, typically for the reasons @KeithWong9 mentioned.

July 13, 2018


How do they count sheep?

June 22, 2018



June 22, 2018


Tori is the plural of tori?

June 28, 2017


Japanese doesn't have plurals in the way English does. とり can refer to one bird, several birds, or all birds.

June 28, 2017


Should't be "There are 7 chickens" accepted as a correct solution as well?

April 27, 2018


No. とり is bird, にわとり is chicken, and とりにく is chicken meat.

April 27, 2018


Could this also mean '' I have 7 birds ''?

July 20, 2018


No. います means "there is." It does not have a possessive meaning.

July 21, 2018


I disagree. います does indeed mean "there is", but, since the topic is unspecified, in the right contexts it can be "there are seven birds {for me/in my possession}".

When talking about one's family members, the most natural way to say "I have a {family member}" is the structure {family member}がいます, because the context strongly implies "there is a {family member} in my family".

September 27, 2018


"I have a family member" is not really a possession. We cannot say "I have a family member in my possession."

いる/ある can mean "I have" but it is only in a very limited occasion, because it is very ambiguous to say so, just like いいです and we really want to avoid using ある/いる for possession. Just say it out and we can see these are very unnatural sentences. Really don't say these...

  • 私は鳥がいます
  • 私は家があります
  • 私は時計があります

Some of the fixed phrases yes we use があります as "I have," but still it is not really saying these things are in one's possession.

  • 私は時間があります I have time (but time is not in my possession)
  • 私は彼と関係があります I have a relationship with him (again the relationship is not in my possession)

To summarize my findings

  • [something abstract] がある/いる = I have something
  • [something concrete]がある/いる=There is something.

How does this sound?

September 27, 2018


KeithWong9, so how would one say "I have 7 birds"?

February 2, 2019


私は鳥を7羽持(も)っています (or 所有(しょゆう)しています)

February 3, 2019


To say, "These are my 7 birds" (a little variation on "I have 7 birds") does this make sense? これらの鳥のが七羽います

February 2, 2019


Yes, in this situation the answer is accepted by Duo.

March 4, 2019


Wouldn't this normally be written using 7 instead of 七? Or am I mistaken?

September 2, 2018


七 is kanji for 7. However, like English, Japanese have also adopted occasional use of the use of Arabic-Hindu numerals 1, 2, 3... etc. But, it is still important when learning Japanese to learn kanji for numbers, since if you plan to go to Japan or read things in Japanese, you will encounter numbers written in kanji plenty often enough. :)

October 7, 2018


Why does this answer need this exact use of kanji? 鳥 and 羽 are not accepted, while なな is not accepted as the kana (at least for typing).

September 11, 2018


Does anyone here have a site or resource that is good for the different counters in Japanese? Not just for rabbits or birds, but all of them?

September 2, 2017


Maybe not the best way to actually /learn/ the counters, but Wikipedia has an extensive list of counter words: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_counter_word

September 2, 2017


Shouldn't 七わ be 七は?

July 7, 2018


No, it is 七羽(ななわ)

July 21, 2018


Just adding to that: は is only pronounced as "wa" when it is the topic particle. In this sentence, it's unspecified, but the topic definitely isn't the number 7.

September 27, 2018


Her accent at とり is not natural...

November 13, 2018


Did not accept 鳥が七waimasu.

December 15, 2018


Apparently duolingo does not want you to use kanji in this one. 鳥が七羽います should be right or did I miss anything?

January 18, 2019


How come Duolingo marked this awnser wrong? 鳥が七羽います

January 31, 2019


We don't have the skills yet to wield the kanji.

January 31, 2019


The audio sounds sped up.

February 8, 2019


you may as well not use kanji at all on this website because you're going to be marked wrong lol. duo also seems to have removed the feature of reporting your answer as correct, guess they thought it was a waste of time?

March 24, 2019


The audio says "nanawa" but the supplemental material in the lesson says it's "shichiwa". Which one is correct? Or are both acceptable?

April 3, 2019


Kanji symbols can be pronounced differently in different situations. Sometimes it's to distinguish meaning, and other times to avoid ambiguity or taboo.

In this case, seven might be pronounced as "nana" rather than "shichi" to avoid sounding like 死 (shi), meaning "death".

I think we just need to learn all the possible pronunciations and learn from experience which are used when.

https://www.duolingo.com/skill/ja/Time-2/tips-and-notes shows both pronunciations for 七.

April 3, 2019


Why is 鳥が7羽います wrong? It was an audio exercice for me.

April 15, 2019


The lesson doesn't seem to accept the Kanji for birds? 鳥が七わいます was rejected. Or was it because I used nana to get to seven instead of shichi, but got the same kanji?

April 26, 2019


Duolingo isn't perfect, sadly. I highly doubt that typing 'nana' instead of 'shichi' caused this. After all, your keyboard replaces the typed letters with the corresponding kanji. Therefore the application doesn't know what was typed before. Unless they intentionally put that feature in, which would take up too much time. I suppose there are two options possible: -They didn't bother inserting 鳥 in their list of possible answers. -Using 鳥 means you should also use the kanji for the counter (羽). Either way, your answer is right, and Duolingo should accept it. (edit: And they remove the 'enter' from the messages because they don't want it to be readable..)

April 26, 2019



May 3, 2019


It is hard enough to learn Japanese without having to learn which combination will be accepted and which will be rejected. If I choose わ and い separately it is marked wrong. If I choose the tile that puts them together, it is marked right. The sentence is the same either way. The report button doesn't allow a response that fits this problem.

May 4, 2019


とりがななわいます came back incorrect. :-/

May 4, 2019


My answer matches the correct answer. Not sure why it's marked incorrect.

May 5, 2019


I typed なな instead of 七 and I got the question wrong

May 29, 2019
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