Translation:There are dogs and cats.
You would actually split the sentence into two clauses, the animates and the inanimates (or vice versa), combined with a conjunction. For example, the sentence "There is a dog and a table." would be 犬がいって、テーブルがあります。 Because います and あります are the verbs "to be" for animate and inanimate objects respectively, you would separate them by using one of their て-forms (at least that's what we called that conjugation in my Japanese class). It's been years since my Japanese class somebody please correct me if I'm wrong.
Recently asked a Japanese person's perspective on this, but it seems like the final verb is based off of the last noun.
It seems like the same principle extends out of this example to other sentences too. However, even he had to think about it a little bit so it may be wrong.
Could be wrong but I think 'は' / 'wa' would have already been used earlier e.g.
'Petto wa imasu ka?' 'Are there any pets?' Not sure if the sentence is correct but the subject is 'pets'. Then:
'Inu to neko ga imasu' 'There are dogs and cats' so the subject is still 'pets' and the objects are 'dogs' and 'cats'? Maybe?
That's not necessarily true. The fact that there's no counter only allows us to assume that the speaker isn't emphasizing the number of animals. Whether or not we can assume singular/plural depends on the context of the sentence.
However, because the number of animals isn't important, it means the assumed plurality would have to be consistent, i.e. "there is a dog and a cat" or "there are dogs and cats", and not "there is a dog and cats."
If it were は, the underlying meaning of the sentence would be more like, "There are dogs and cats in existence," in a general sense. With が, it's more like "There are some dogs and cats specifically here/there." Think それは犬とねこがいます。Or, "As for there, there are dogs and cats," which is a more likely thing to express.
Recall that "imasu" really means "exists" and "ga" indicates that the word before it is the subject of the sentence. So the literal translation of the sentence is more like "The dogs and cats exist." When translated this way, its easier to identify the subject of the sentence and therefore understand why "ga" is used. Dogs and cats is the subject of the sentence.
If so, that's technically correct, but needlessly precise English. Natural English speakers say phrases like "I have a dog and cat" all the time--the indefinite article "a" is left out because it's the same for both words and is therefore assumed to remain the same unless otherwise noted.
It's casual English, and might even break some grammatical rules, but it's perfectly common English phrasing. I understand that computers can't be expected to understand natural english perfectly, but that's what the report function is for, I would assume.
I think ねこたち is the definite plural of cat, in that you use it when referring to a specific group of cats. In Japanese, there's no difference between the singular and indefinite plural, as is the case here.
For example: "There are cats here" (indefinite plural) in Japanese would be ここにねこがいます。 On the other hand, "The cats are here" (definite plural) would be ねこたちがここにいます。
You can use counters to tell how many. For example "犬が三匹います" There are 3 dogs.
There are lots of counters. 匹 is only used for small animals.
Here's the genetic counters that can be used for anything.
一つ 「ひとつ」 二つ 「ふたつ」 三つ 「みっつ」 四つ 「よっつ」 五つ 「いつつ」 六つ 「むっつ」 七つ 「ななつ」 八つ 「やっつ」 九つ 「ここのつ」 十 「じゅう」
So, both "dog" and "cat" have kanji, and are usually written in kanji by Japanese people. However, I can kind of understand why Duo chose to introduce "cat" in hiragana because the kanji for it is a bit more complicated than the kanji for "dog".
- 犬 = いぬ = "dog"
- 猫 = ねこ = "cat"
I am getting very annoyed with this. It should count. Like why is dog using kanji but cat is just using hiragana. Very frustrating to get something wrong when it is clearly correct. And they don’t have an option in the report for "my answer is correct" which they really need to have.
Context. Japanese doesn't have plural forms (well, there is たち, but that's another topic). Usually the context makes it clear if you're talking about one or multiple of something. Or it simply doesn't matter. In this case there is no context. Therefore both singular and plural translations are correct.
The Japanese verbs imasu and arimasu express existence, corresponding to English "There is/are". "It is", on the other hand, expresses identification (A = B), as in "What is the pattern?" "It's a dog and a cat," which in Japanese would be expressed with desu.
It could however be "There are a dog and a cat" (although I have no idea how strict Duolingo is on using "are" due to there being a total of two animals, even if they are of different species -- but definitely don't forget the second "a".)
Basically yes, and context plays a huge part in figuring out which one is meant.
Less basically, the same sentence in Japanese can be used to mean those two sentences, but the latter is more likely to be worded as 犬とねこを飼っています (いぬとねこをかっています) where 飼っています is the present progressive form of 飼う meaning "to keep/raise (an animal)".
I answered "I have a dog and cat," and it recognized that "I have a dog and cats" (plural cat) would be an acceptable translation, but not the singular cat--but neko is not inherently pluralized (as nekotachi would be) and can indicate any number of cats greater than zero in Japanese as far as I'm aware.
In Japanese, many things are left for context to decide; whether a noun is a singular or plural is one of those things. You can say 「犬とねこがいます」 to mean "There are dogs and cats" or "There is a dog and a cat", and which translation is "correct" is dependent on the context/situation you're speaking in.
If you wanted to explicitly specify that there is one dog and one cat, then you can say 「犬一匹とねこ一匹がいます」where 一匹【いっぴき】is "one" plus the counter for small animals.
The こ here is actually part of the word for "cat", ねこ.