"There are two birds."
Is it correct to just say にわいます since the counter makes it clear we are talking about birds?
Promise I'm not trying to be a wise-crack; but when it comes to counters...if the thing in question USED to be alive but isn't anymore, do you use arimasu or imasu? (And I have no idea how to type hiragana, I'm still too new, sorry!) Like...if the birds were theoretically deceased; or stuffed? How would you count them?
Hello! I asked this question some years back to some friends in Japan. They told me that if you use arimasu it carries the connotation that the bird on the ground is dead and you are interested in eating it. I don't know the counter for taxidermy animals but I thought you would be interested in hearing what my senpais were telling me.
They're two different words, like "too" and "two". In kanji, 二 is the number "two" (two lines = count to 2; that's one way to think about it) に is NOT the number 2 unless you are spelling it out in hiragana for some reason. *to make things more confusing, in katakana に＝二 this is a different script used mostly for foreign words. Context will tell you whether the number 2 or the syllable "ni" is being indicated.
Hope that helped a bit!
Oh boy you're in for a surprise.
Japanese uses counters for almost all things. 羽 (わ) is the counter for birds Here's a neat guide (which further contains more detailed and specific guides)
Don't worry though, as you'll be able to survive and be understood well enough without being judged, by using the general counter つ
鳥が二羽そこです means "Two birds are there", where "there" is a location you're referring to, whereas 鳥が二羽います means "There are two birds", which doesn't refer to a particular location, but rather just the existence of two birds.
- How many birds are in the cage? There are 2 birds.
- Where are the (2) birds? The (2) birds are there. (points to location near the person asking question).
You have to count in different ways depending on what class of item you are counting.
So far, I have learnt how to count "game" animals (like birds and rabbits), how to count small, round things (like eggs and apples), how to count people, and how to count things that might not fit any particular category (like tables).
You have to count items of each category in a different way. For example:
To count two birds, use "niwa" (written as 二羽);
To count two apples, use "niko" (written as 二個);
To count two people, use "futari" (written as 二人);
To count two tables, use "futatsu" (written as 二つ).
Don't worry. It might seem overwhelming at first, but you will get the hang of it.
It's a bit like how speakers of English might speak of "two head of cattle" and "two loaves of bread", rather than "two cattle" and "two bread".
But it's not quite like that, because in Japanese, the number can go with the verb rather than the noun.
Here, we have:
tori ga niwa imasu.
鳥が = a bird, the subject of this sentence
二羽います = exists in a twofold manner
Well, that's how I like to think of it, anyway!
You have to use these special, augmented numbers because that's just the way Japanese is, I'm afraid!