Translation:There are two dogs.
This answers some questions, the dog that sells hats is not the same as the dog that climbs trees.
I was wondering about that. I feel like they don't want to take the training wheels off yet.
No, but we do want the learning experience. Kanji is annoying and difficult to learn, but we want to learn more and really be able to understand it inspite of that. Hope this feel too lecturey.
Look up "rendaku". The actual word is ひき but it can become びき depending on the prevoius consonant. You can get a feel for when this happens but in the end you'll just have to memorize it.
@Wolfgang & Joshua Lorenzo. Having trouble getting replies to post, so I'm commenting in a separate post.
Hiki sounds fine, but there are two important aspects to the pronunciation that we don't have in English, that make the pronunciation difficult for us to recognize properly. The first, as Joshua mentions, is that the H consonant in Japanese has different pronunciations (=allophones) depending on the following vowel. When the following vowel is a, e, or o the h sounds pretty much like English, with the fricative H sound being produced by moving the tongue backwards to constrict the flow of air in the glottal area in the very back of the mouth. When the following vowel is u, the flow of air is constricted by both lips, producing a bilabial F, as opposed to the English labial F, produced between the bottom lip and upper teeth.
Here, where H is followed by i, the air flow is constricted by raising the middle of tongue towards the hard palate. The sound produced is basically like of the palatal CH sound in German ich or nicht (not like the velar/gutteral CH in German Buch or Scottish loch). To produce the sound, you might try whispering, hee hee, and raising the middle of your tongue until you hear the right type of friction.
The second thing that throws us off is that in Japanese the vowels i and u generally become unvoiced (= whispered) after an unvoiced consonant, such as h/f, p, t, k, s, T (ch/ts) (though this does not occur in all dialects). This is why desu sounds like des' to us, and why many people think hito sounds like shto (though it is not really our sh sound). Have you ever heard a Japanese person say haiku, but it sounds like hike? Japanese speakers can hear the difference between ストライキ (a labor strike) and ストライク (a strike in baseball or bowling). Though they may both sound simply like strike to others, they can hear the whispered kee vs. whispered koo.
匹 (ひき) is the counter for small animals, including dogs (regardless of the size of the actual dog, I believe).
弾きます (ひきます) is the verb for "to play (an stringed instrument)" so that's probably why that particular hint appears ;)
@Joshua Lorenzo I'm just going to take a moment and appreciate all of the helpful paragraphs that you write on the Duolingo Japanese comment sections. I've been studying Japanese for about 6 months now and have found so many of your comments to be very helpful! ＼(^o^)／
I'm not the only one who thinks of that episode every time we translate one of these statements? Yay!
It depends heavily on the context and personal preference, so I wouldn't say that one is more common than the other.
Even if your suggestion is more common, "I have 2 dogs" is still a correct and valid translation of いぬが二ひきいます.
I hear it as ni hiki, so I don't think the audio is bugged (on Android, as of 2017/08/31)
I'm not sure how scientifically accurate this is, but as far as I'm aware, Japanese people tend to use their tongues less than English speakers when producing consonant sounds. If you try saying ni hiki but without moving your tongue after the initial "n" sound, I think you'll hear the same "nishtchi" kind of effect.
Another possible explanation is that there is no true "f" sound in Japanese, because the "h" row (は, ひ, ふ, へ, ほ) is pronounced with a kind of blended "h/f", especially ふ which is pronounced kind of halfway between "fu" with a hard "f" and "hu" like the English "who". All of the "h" row are a similar mix to a lesser extent, but it can become more pronounced in certain contexts, such as this one.
That's all true. Depending on the speaker/singer, sometimes an H sound, like "Hitotsu" for instance, can sound like "Shitotsu" because the speaker is breathing out the sound with no obstruction from the tongue. Great explanation JoshuaLore9!
いる also means to have (a living thing) So this sentence could also mean "i have 2 dogs"
The dictionary form いる (いります) also means to need. So while youre learning japanese, also pay attention to context. They don't use such perfect sentences. They often drop their subjects.
So, really, depending on the context, this stentence could also mean "he has 2 dogs"
You're right that this sentence can mean "I have two dogs" or "he has two dogs", but it's not because いる means "to have". The possessive is implicit by the interaction of the particles は and が for the verbs いる and ある; namely, "as for [topic], [subject] exists (in [topic]'s possession)."
Also, いる typically means "to be, to exist" when written as hiragana. It can also be written as 居る. However, "to need, to require" is written as 要る (even though it's also pronounced いる). いるcan also mean "to fry" (炒る), "to boil" (煎る), or "to cast, to mint (a coin)" (鋳る) depending on the context and the kanji.
It depends on the sound before it (try looking up "rendaku" for a more in-depth explanation.) In the case of 匹【ひき】, rendaku looks like this:
That's because it is correct.
...this sentence can mean "I have two dogs" [...] The possessive is implicit by the interaction of the particles は and が for the verbs いる and ある; namely, "as for [topic], [subject] exists (in [topic]'s possession)."