Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Japanese Numbers

Japanese has a rather unique number system in that the sound of the numbers change depending on the object or item you are counting.
Objects are normally classified into shapes and size.

Regular numbers Romaji Hiragana Kanji
1 ichi いち
2 ni
3 san さん
4 shi, yon し、よん
5 go
6 roku ろく
7 shichi, nana しち、なな
8 hachi はち
9 kyuu,ku きゅう、く
10 juu, tou じゅう、とう

Notice how some numbers have two sounds, e.g. 4, 7, 9 and 10. The pronunciation generally changes depending on whatever comes before or after the number. I will explain that in another post.

Going back to the counting again, the easiest one to learn is the general counter system. This can always be used if you don't know the correct counting system for any particular object.

Counter Romaji Hiragana
1 hitotsu ひとつ
2 futatsu ふたつ
3 mittsu みっつ
4 yottsu よっつ
5 itsutsu いつつ
6 muttsu むっつ
7 nanatsu ななつ
8 yattsu やっつ
9 kokonotsu ここのつ
10 tou とう

Counting people

As you should be able to see below, apart from the first two, the rest just the basic numbers with -nin added to the end.

Counter Romaji Hiragana
1 hitori ひとり
2 futari ふたり
3 sannin さんにん
4 yonnin よんにん
5 gonin ごにん
6 rokunin ろくにん
7 nannin ななにん
8 hachinin はちにん
9 kyuunin きゅうにん
10 juunin じゅうにん

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