Translation:There are three chairs in the room.
Japanese has two main counting systems, the Chinese counting system that you're most likely familiar with (いち,に,さん,し etc) but also a lesser well known traditional Japanese counting system, ひとす,ふたつ,みっつ,よっつ and I honestly forgot the rest but I think it only goes to 10 anyway. They're basically only used to count irregular objects (in this example, chairs) and I believe where よん and なな come from. You can tell them by the つ at the end.
so we can put counter expression (mittsu here) anywere in the sentence (except at the end), not just after the counted thing? How to determine what is being counted in that case? How to say "In two rooms there are three chairs" or "There are two desks and three chairs in the room". Where does the counter go in relation to the thing it counts?
Counters are connected to the counted thing by:
- directly placing them next to each other: 三ついす｛があります｝
- linking them with a possessive particle 'no': 三つのいす｛があります｝
- following the topic/subject marker 'wa/ga': いすが三つ｛あります｝
So "In two rooms there are three chairs" would -for example- be: 二つのへやにいすが三つあります。
What about between the first and third options?
When would you use は in the third version, as opposed to the が that Duolingo seems to always use? Is it something like if you know there are chairs but not how many, it's は but if you don't necessarily know there are any chairs at all it's が?
Yeah i understand that. I should have worded my question better. I mean i thought the amount part. Hitotsu, mitsu, etc. The one that tells the amount of something has to come directly before the verb. Such that the sentence should go ”Heya ni isu ga hitotsu arimasu". At least that was what i was taught on the japanese learning app human japanese. Maybe i misunderstood?
Short version: が places clear emphasis on the subject. は is a more general topic marker.
が is always used after question words, e.g. だれが来ましたか ("Who came?") as well as in the responses to such questions (松岡さんが来ました -> "mr/ms Matsuoka came"). If you write 松岡さんは来ました it's understood that Matsuoka was already expected to come, and this information could also have been left out (i.e. just 来ました would have sufficed).
There are also certain verbs that nearly always use が, such as いる・ある (to be), いる (to need), わかる (to understand/know) and できる (to be able to/to succeed). In these cases, the 'psychological' subject can be marked with は, while the grammatical subject takes が. E.g. （わたしは）ぺんがいります: "I need a pen". This is demonstrates why applying the grammatical rules of one language to a different one doesn't work; in English, "I" would be the subject and "pen" the object, but in Japanese the pen is the subject (it is being needed), while "I" is merely some extra info that might as well be left out.
Besides general phrases, は is used in sentences with (an implied) contrast between things, where the subject may not have an explicit emphasis, but can nevertheless not be left out from the sentence. E.g. フランスの子供はよくブドウ酒をのみます: "French children often drink wine" (in contrast to children from other countries).
I was going to say that you might be finding it difficult to hear the が because it is followed directly by the あ of あります but when I listen to it even at the regular speed they seem quite clear and distinct to me. But I am used to it. That might be your problem though - the elision of sounds due to the speed of natural speech. Also I don't think you really want the speaker to slow down what they are saying, I think what you really want them to do is to enunciate each word clearly and distinctly from each other. While this is understandable for beginners, it won't do you any favours if your goal is eventually be able to understand and communicate fluently and fluidly in Japanese. If you don't get used to natural speech - both speed and elision or slurring together of sounds then you're gonna really struggle. Better to get accustomed to it sooner rather than later. Believe me - this is nothing compared to talking with children or elderly people - in addition to natural speed and elision they also often mumble, speak in low form and their voice pitch (high or low) can also make it very difficult to understand what they are saying!
Does anyone else have a problem using your keyboard? It won't accept my answer if I use the kangi for room, but it also won't accept my answer if I don't use the kanji for three. Since pressing the space bar replaces all the text with kanji, I have to click it again so it won't change the first half of the sentence. I have this problem a lot, and it means that I have to not only memorize the sentence, the thing I'm supposed to be doing, but also what kanji I can use in each of these speech questions. I'll often get a question right, but have it be counted wrong because it didn't accept my kanji. So instead of knowing what I got wrong when I actually get something wrong, I have to figure out if it was me or just Dulingo being stupid.
If you press enter after you type each word or character then it won't erase or change the characters/kanji that you've already typed. And as for which kanji duo accepts or when, that's anyone's guess. I would say if in doubt type it in kana. As for numbers, I would say that since duo introduces the kanji for numbers from the start with kana, that you should be safe always using the kanji for numbers.
I think the topic marker は can be there or not, depending on whether the speaker is raising a new topic. 部屋には窓が三つあります sounds like "speaking of what's inside the room, there are three windows there". Where one puts 三つ is more or less a matter of emphasis (and answers rejected by Duo are not always wrong). BTW the subject marker が is ga, not ka.