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  5. "子どもが六人います。"


Translation:I have six children.

June 8, 2017



Shouldnt this be "there are six children", there's nothing here to say they are MINE


Since 子ども is followed by が, we can assume it is the subtheme of the omitted theme which is usually the speaker (わたしは). "Concerning me, concerning children, there are six"


It's weird how helpful that sort of breakdown is in understanding sentence structure.


Japanese is very context specific so often the subject(IE: Watashi , Anata, Haha ,Neko) is left out as in conversation it tends to be apparent.


That is also accepted.


I put "there are 6 children" and it was correct. If you add in extra stuff it marks it as correct since it could be via context


how can you put in different text? there are predefined building blocks to choose from? none if which contained "there" or "are" in my case ...?!


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.)


Can I ask "田中さんは子どもが何人ですか?" instead of "田中さんは子どもが何人いますか?" ?


That would mean “How many children is Tanaka-san”, wouldn’t it?


Does 子ども only mean "children" in the sense of "offspring", or also as simple "young human beings" (some languages distinguish these)? For example, could you say: 遊び場には子どもが六人遊んでいます。


子ども refers to any general child




why there is Ji N after the number? what does that mean?


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:

  • 一人(ひとり)
  • 二人(ふたり)
  • 三人(さんにん)
  • 四人(よんにん)
  • 五人(ごにん)

and so on.

Does that answer your question?


whenever I read such great explanations I always think there should be a button to mark comments so that you could look it up later. sometimes there are really good ones like this and after a while I just forget the content...


I've resorted to taking screenshots of the best comments


Thanks, great explanation!


That is a fantastic explaination of counters as a whole!


Thanx again for this awesome breakdown.


Can you pronunce how to say 6,7,8,9,10 peolpe please?

  • 六人(ろくにん)
  • 七人(しちにん or ななにん)*
  • 八人(はちにん)
  • 九人(きゅうにん or くにん)**
  • 十人(じゅうにん)

* 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):

  1. ひとり***
  2. ふたり
  3. みたり
  4. よたり
  5. いつたり
  6. む(ゆ)たり****
  7. ななたり
  8. やたり
  9. ここのたり
  10. とたり

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.


It's the counter for "people", like how "tsu" was used for "things". As for the children, there are six people.


Duolingo REALLY needs to show multiple kanji readings when clicked and/or furigana for the context. I end up just playing the audio 5 times trying to listen for what the reading of the kanji is.


...That's a lot of kids to raise.


I was thinking what a crazy number that is for Japan


The audio sounds like someone singing :D


Too bad we're not on the web. I would love to give you a lingot for that response.


I have done it for you!


I am very confused about the pronunciation of 六人, shouldn't it sound like roku Jin? And not roku ni?


When used as the for people, the kanji 人 is read as にん, not じん. There are exceptions (most importantly 一人(ひとり) and 二人(ふたり)), compare the wikipedia article on Japanese counters for a more detailed account.


It's rokunin. When it's used as a counter, it's pronounced "nin" instead. Also, 1 and 2 people are irregular and they're "hitori" and "futari", so you have to remember that ;w; once i made the stupid mistake of saying "ichinin" haha


Why does it sound like こどもなろくにいます ?


"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.


(Yes, "nasally" is a word.)


(Thanks! I thought I was going crazy and forgetting how to English.)


(Why are we all whispering? And you're not the only one worried about forgetting how to English goodly lol)


(Loving this right here!)


I have an aunt with 6 kids..... The struggle is real!


When you say kodomo is it always in reference to someone's children? What about a child?


No, 子供 (こども) can be used to refer to your own child/children, and it can be singular or plural.


JoshuaLore9, I just came across kodomotachi in a lesson. If kokomo means child and children, what is the purpose of the -tachi? (Sumimasen, I'm in the early stages of learning and don't yet have a proper keyboard).


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).


So you are a busy person eh? :v


Shouldn't it this be 子供たち, since there are six kids. I found duolingo uses the plural form before. When should we use the plural form and when should we use singular form? Thanks.


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".


Is 子ども always children (plural)? What is I speaking about 1 child?


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]”.


I typed: I have 6 kids and it was accepted. That is too many! Duo, You been busy!


My parents would kill me


Why? I submit the answer the same as the correct solution. "子どもが六人います" But it went wrong!?


No, the correct solution is the translation of 子どもが六人います; namely, "There are six children" or "I have six children".


Um... It's a "match"(?) question. https://imgur.com/a/nLkkPta What I can do is hear and pick only.


Oh, my apologies. Yeah, that's definitely a bug. Unfortunately, in your screenshot, I can't see the flag to report it as an issue too.


Because I think it's a bug too. So I take screenshot after I report it. :) Thanks for your reply and never mind. :)


こども written in kanji should be accepted as well:



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".


Is it me or are the recording really fast? Is that the natural speed of Japanese speaking?


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.


The speech is way too fast


Does います means I have?


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…

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