Counts of things (〜つ), days (〜日), and people (〜人) are pronounced differently than other numbers, similar to how english pronounces ranks differently (saying "first," "second," etc. for 1st, 2nd, etc.)
A good example. Still it's only first and second that are irregular. The others have a bound to the initial number as of "three" with "third".
So it's just frustrating to learn tons of additional ways of counting to ten.. For people, for animals, for fish and so on and so on... why it's not allowed to just limit counting to the pieces?! :( very upsetting!
This is just a small part of learning Japanese. Learning how to count anything & everything is already 1 giant headache by itself. Welcome to the club, there is more to come
If I ever make it to Japan I am just going to hold my fingers up, this is out of control.
You really only need two learn two counting systems then add the correct counting word.
八 is the proper kanji symbol for eight. はち (hachi) is how it is written in hiragana, such as for beginners, and when counting the word used is やっつ (yottsu).
Yatzee! (the game) 8 things. ya-ttsu. やっつ
Finally guessed how to make a small つ: type tt.
And type ttsu to get っつ！
As someone mentioned in another question's comments with these -つ numbers. It would be really helpful if Duolingo could insert in the kanji pronunciation too. Sometimes it's read out really fast and it's hard to catch the sound ><
Does this only affect the final digit? Is "888" things still はちひゃくはちじゅうやっつ?
It's only used when counting from 1 to 10 and doesn't affect higher numbers as in your example (which would be はっぴゃくはちじゅうはち). With higher numbers, nowadays, the on'yomi, the Sino-Japanese reading, is almost always used.
It would be nice if this was added in the introductory notes for the module. Currently it looks like what is written there differs from the contents of the lessons. Or maybe I am missing something? These nuances would be good to note to refer to in tabular form (as they have done) albeit in a more accurate version.
Unfortunately, it's not that simple.
It would be either:
中 なか means "inside" in this context. It's used in its kun'yomi, its Japanese reading, here since it stands on its own without other kanji. Expressions of position at a location are added with a の behind the location.
So the structure is:
[location]の[position] (left, right, inside, outside, above, below etc.)
You have to use the counter word for cats here, which is 匹(ひき). It's used to count small animals in general. With most counter words the number is added directly in front of the kanji for the counter and read in its on'yomi, its Sino-Japanese reading. So that's why it's きゅう here.
If you write the number plus counter before the noun, a の is added between the noun and the counter since the counter acts like a noun in Japanese (like in the second sentence).
You can also add the number plus counter after the noun and its governing particle, like in the first sentence. Note that there is no additional particle behind the counter since the connection to the thing being counted is clear and the function of the counted thing is given through the particle が right behind it.
Furthermore, for animated beings います is used instead of あります.
On a side note, あります is written without kanji most of the time.