L5 grammar 3

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  • Lesson 5

    Grammar Notes

    Counters

  • Counters

    There are two important things you should know about counting items in Japanese.

    One, we use dierent number words as counters for dierent kinds of items; the counter used for counting shirts are dierent from the counter used for counting bottles.

    Two, counters often come after, rather than before, the items counted in a sentence.

    san

    shatsu o mai kudasai

    item number counter

    (Ill have) three pieces of shirts, please.

    5 go

    bi i ru o hon kudasai

    (Ill have) five bottles of beer, please.

  • In this lesson, we learn

    counters mai and hon on

    the text book,

    go-hon

    Besides, Ive introduced

    kai for oors of a building

    and satsu for books and

    magazines in the chart as

    right.

    There is also unique way of

    counting without a counter

    as the traditional Japanese

    way for small things such as

    hitotsu as one piece,

    futatsu as two pieces,

    and so on up to ten.

  • Unique Counters

    Let me introduce an unspoken unique system of the Japanese traditional counting way :

    hitotsu futatsu mittsu yottsu itsutsu muttsu nanatsu yattsu kokonotsu too

    As you see the color-highlighted letters, we learn how to count numbers in the

    traditional Japanese way as and as

    the shorten version for memorizing in childhoods. Now you see 5 dierent colors

    with 2 numbers paired as below :

    hi

    fu

    mi

    mu

    yo

    ya

    (i)tsu

    too

    nana

    koko

    1

    2

    3

    6

    4

    8

    5

    10

    7

    9

    1 3 4 5 72 6 8 109

    hi fu mi yo itsu mu nana ya koko too

  • Lets see each pair in the Hiragana chart below :

    1 x 2 = 2 3 x 2 = 6 4 x 2 = 8 5 x 2 = 10

    HIRAGANA

    a Gyou

    ka Gyou

    sa Gyou

    ta Gyou

    na Gyou

    ha Gyou

    ma Gyou

    ya Gyou

    ra Gyou

    wa Gyou

    n

    a Dan

    i Dan

    u Dan

    e Dan

    o Dan

    i in itsutsu can be the supplemental syllable sound for the rest.

    *

    (1) x 2 = (2)(3) x 2 = (6)(4) x 2 = (8)

    *(5) x 2 = (10)

    *

    hi fu

    mi mu

    yo ya

    (i)tsu too

    Now you can see the rule in each pair, the doubled relationship. Paired numbers are not only in the same Gyou (line), but also they are in a multiple relationship as well.

  • he who me yo its moo nahnah yah coco toe

    n a n a t s u k o k o n o t s u

    7 9

    Although numbers that can not be doubled, (7) and (9), they are doubled in repeating same syllables as :

    nana koko

    Lets see the shorten way again and read them in applied English sounds as below :

  • Other Counters

    satsu

    Lets see various counters for things below :(*counter-less means the Japanese original way of counting as hitotsu futatsu.

    mai

    mai

    hon hon dai

    daiko

    haihiki

    ko

    **nin*Counter-less

    *Counter-less

    dai is for mechanical goodssuch as cars and machines like PC and TV.

    **There are exceptionsfor one personand two people.

  • (hiki/smallanimals

    100

    100

    toosuto ichi mai kami hyaku mai

    ringo ikko koppu hyakko

    1000wain ippon enpitsu sen bon

    1000kohii ippai inu sen biki

  • hon issatsu

    pasokon ichi dai

    00kuruma hyaku dai

    ringo hitotsu koppu too

    otoko no hito hitori

    onna no ko yo nin

    yo nin