Translation:I have six children.
In those building block tasks you can only work with what you get. In this case it probably wanted either “There are six children” or “I have six children” as both of these are possible translations depending on the context. For example:
- そのへやにはだれがいますか？ (Who’s in that room?)
- 子どもが六人います。 (There are six children)
- 田中さんは子どもが何人いますか？ (Mr./Mrs. Tanaka, how many children do you have?)
- 子どもが六人います。 (I have six children.)
That’s because whenever you give a number people/things, you have to add a classifier (also called counter word) together with the number. You can think of the classifier as telling you the unit which you are counting, like in English you cannot say “one milk”, you have to specify the unit: Are you talking about a cup of milk, a jug, a bottle…? But while in English you are only sometimes forced to do so, in Japanese you always are.
The classifier depends on the noun. For example flat things are counted in 枚(まい), long, (roughly) cylindrical objects in 本(ほん), books in 冊(さつ) etc. You have to use the correct classifier for the thing you are counting, so for example it would be wrong to say ペン一枚 for “one pen”; you have to say 一本 because pens are long and cylindrical rather than flat surfaces. This is similar to how you can’t say “one piece of milk” or “one slice of peas” in English because those units don’t fit the word you’re counting.
The “unit” for people is 人 which is in this function usually read にん. Unfortunally, “one person” and ”two persons” are exceptions which have to be learnt by heart:
and so on.
Does that answer your question?
- 七人(しちにん or ななにん)*
- 九人(きゅうにん or くにん)**
* You may hear both. When a user asked which is more correct, the answer in this forum thread seems to be of the opinion that しちにん is originally more correct one but ななにん is on the rise, possibly because しち is easy to mishear for いち over a noisy channel (a bad phone line maybe).
** Similar situation to 七人; you may hear both.
Also in older texts you might encounter older, native Japanese readings for numbers above 2 as well. Basically these take the same number set you use for つ, the classifier for things (i.e. ひと、ふ、み、よ、いつ、む、なな、や、ここの、と) and add the old counter for people たり (so they’re in line with 一人 and 二人):
Of course in kanji spelling you don’t see the difference at all. And in any case, they don’t seem to appear in everyday conversation a lot anymore.
*** Apparently the fact the two very similar syllables と and た directly after one another caused *ひとたり to be shortened to just ひとり.
**** Apparently some sources add a -ゆ-; I’m not sure how that came about. In any case, the Japanese wiktionary has entries for both むたり and むゆたり.
"G"s in Japanese are often pronounced very nasally (is that a word? Nasally, nasal-y?) so it sounds like "ng" as in "running".
I'm not sure how scientifically accurate this is, but I believe the reason for this comes down to Japanese speakers using their tongues much less than English speakers when producing consonant sounds.
I mean, if you consider the shape of your mouth as you pronounce the "o" at the end of kodomo, it's very hollow with the body of your tongue pressed down to create space between it and the roof of your mouth. Now try to say ga moving your tongue as little as possible. If I'm right, hopefully you'll end up sounding more similar to the recording.
No worries about the keyboard; just watch the spelling of kodomo ;)
The use of たち is actually to mark definite plurals, as opposed to general or indefinite plurals. Consider the following situation: You and the listener are talking at a day care, with a group of children running around enjoying themselves. You comment one of these two sentences:
- 子供たちは元気いっぱいですね。In this case, you are specifically referring to the group of children around you, and it translates roughly to "These kids sure are full of energy."
- 子供は元気いっぱいですね。In this case, you are talking about a characteristic of children in general. This sentence can be translated as "A child has so much energy!" or "Children are so full of energy" (either singular or plural, although the singular does sound a bit unnatural to me too).
Both are acceptable and correct in this situation, but this isn't always the case when it comes to using (or not using) たち.
Also, as @AbunPang pointed out, たち can generally only be used on living things such as people or animals. (This does mean that using it on inanimate objects, like 本たち has the effect of kind of anthropomorphizing a group of objects ;) )
Plural markings are not obligatory in Japanese as they are in English. If context makes it clear that you mean plural, it’s perfectly possible to just say the base noun (こども in this case) without -たち to mean plural. In fact, I don’t think -たち can be used for inanimate objects at all (so for example “books” would always be just 本 instead of *本たち).
子供たち could also be used here, but just 子供 is still perfectly acceptable. Have a read of one of my earlier comments about how -たち is used to mark definite plurals.
Nouns in Japanese, like 子供, can be singular or indefinite plurals, so 子供 means "a child" or "children". But 子供たち makes it a definite plural, meaning "the children".
In most cases, Japanese people don’t overtly mark plural and let it be understood from context (or just leave it open altogether if it’s not important for the conversation). In this case for example, the number makes it absolutely unambiguous that we’re talking about multiple children. But even if it wasn’t there, the speaker would probably just say 子どもがいます “I have [one or multiple] children” – basically just saying they are a parent without specifying the number of children.
The only exceptions I can think of, where the plural suffix -たち is pretty much obligatory, is if it’s a definite plural (in other words, if it were “the children” rather than just “children”) or when addressing a group: “Children, [you mustn’t do that]”.
Could the sounds of [number] + 人 be pronounced a little better? Currently some of them, especially anything over 5, just sounds like an arbitary amount of "ni" sounds. For example in this case I hear "ろくにににます" but I know it's supposed to be "ろくにんいます". It would be more beneficial if there would be some pauses like this: "子どもが。。。六人。。。います".
The output I hear seems very reasonable. If anything, there seems to be a slight stutter between 六人 and います.
Of course it could be that what we hear is different. Some courses at least switch at random between multiple text-to-speech engines. I don’t know if this is true for the Japanese course as well – at least I don’t recall ever hearing another voice than the female one I get at the moment.
It means “there is/are” (of animate things). So this sentence could also be understood to mean “there are six children”. But Japanese also uses the “there is” pattern to express possession. For example わたしは子どもがいます literally means “as for me, there is a child” – which is understood as ”I have a child”. The problem is that the topic (usually marked with -は) can often be omitted. So if context makes clear that we’re talking about me, I can say 子どもがいます literally “there is a child” and leave the “as for me” implied. Unfortunately this dependency on context makes Japanese somewhat difficult to learn on Duolingo because there you don’t have any context…