"とりが七わいます。"

Translation:There are seven birds.

June 8, 2017

94 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/CTCDaddy

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

https://www.duolingo.com/maxwell.lt

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

June 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/squngy

I never quite bought that.

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

September 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/YTcassadyDodson

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

https://www.duolingo.com/danigzah

Guido Mista style

March 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Zamomin

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

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

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

https://www.duolingo.com/abbradley

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

https://www.duolingo.com/kamichi4

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

March 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexFromAus

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

https://www.duolingo.com/mari.tori

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

August 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/dtUyaD

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

https://www.duolingo.com/celticlord88

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

February 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Crazy_plant_lady

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

April 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/HeloHello

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Animiles

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

https://www.duolingo.com/3FtYy1cu

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

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E4%B8%80%E4%BA%BA#Japanese

June 23, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MorganKwok1

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Jayners112

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

https://www.duolingo.com/BerZophus

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

https://www.duolingo.com/RoyalXeraph

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

https://www.duolingo.com/BerZophus

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

https://www.duolingo.com/vtopphol

Is there a counter for Mississippi?

May 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

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

July 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/tsuj1g1r1

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

https://www.duolingo.com/intchanter

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

https://www.duolingo.com/JulieHuffle

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

June 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/cran18

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

June 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/R0AHN1

I would think of it more as animate vs inanimate.

July 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/ne1D3

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Langston769884

Hypocrisy at its finest

August 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/PugOfCoffee

Why is the particle が used here instead of は ?

June 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/SakurakoHi

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

June 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/jay.hammer

鳥が七羽います。

March 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Animiles

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Animiles

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

https://www.duolingo.com/KeithWong9

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

https://www.duolingo.com/RemRengvr

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

June 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Frrost

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

June 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Ishana92

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

July 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Fernando.A.N

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

July 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/RoyalXeraph

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

https://www.duolingo.com/kkaland

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

June 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/SakurakoHi

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Nekot3

So can I use nana and shichi interchangeably?

April 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

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

https://www.duolingo.com/vA7T3

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

https://www.duolingo.com/KeithWong9

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

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

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

https://www.duolingo.com/vtopphol

How do they count sheep?

June 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/KeithWong9

羊(ひつじ)が一匹(いっぴき)、二匹(にひき)、三匹(さんびき)、…

June 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/vivalaashutosh

Tori is the plural of tori?

June 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/BlakeGraha3

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

https://www.duolingo.com/jay.hammer

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

April 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/KeithWong9

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

April 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ikarinotsumi1

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

July 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/KeithWong9

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

July 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

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

https://www.duolingo.com/KeithWong9

"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

https://www.duolingo.com/Juliette780952

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

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/KeithWong9

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Juliette780952

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

https://www.duolingo.com/WengeYu

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

March 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/lethal_gnome

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

September 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7

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

https://www.duolingo.com/JQTaraval

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

https://www.duolingo.com/sareliande

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

https://www.duolingo.com/maxwell.lt

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

https://www.duolingo.com/angelara9117

Shouldn't 七わ be 七は?

July 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/KeithWong9

No, it is 七羽(ななわ)

July 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

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

https://www.duolingo.com/chebal

Her accent at とり is not natural...

November 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SpaceDandy_Meow

Did not accept 鳥が七waimasu.

December 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/NikoPlanke

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

https://www.duolingo.com/MichaelEli16

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

January 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/vtopphol

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

January 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/celticlord88

The audio sounds sped up.

February 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jewe1s

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Dave333510

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

https://www.duolingo.com/intchanter

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

https://www.duolingo.com/JArgeles

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

April 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/seannami

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Animiles

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Xerdez

鳥が七羽います

May 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/orchid223

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Jamie742726

とりがななわいます came back incorrect. :-/

May 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jodie202529

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

May 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Richard803497

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

May 29, 2019
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