counting in japanese

Today, there are many methods to learn Japanese. Nevertheless, learning the language sometimes seems like a mountain to overcome for some people, cooled down by the writing of kanji in particular, or seems too vast for the simple tourist who wants to know just what is needed to make a successful trip...

Kappa Japan proposes you to start learning Tezuka's language with a series of thematic articles, simple and regular, where we will make you discover the basics of Japanese through small situations to learn the language progressively and to have some basics for your future trips to the land of the rising sun

But before we dive into the numbers, let's take a look at the quiz correction from the previous lesson. The questions were as follows:

Which particle indicates the subject in a sentence?

The answer is ha は.

Introduce yourself in Japanese using the pattern seen today.

私は [Insert your first and last name] です。

My name is [Insert your first and last name]

As a reminder, we take the pronominal sentence pattern as our basis: subject+particle+complement+desu

Couting in Japanese

Counting in Japanese is in some points easier than in English by not combining two systems in base 10 and 20. Japanese rests on a simple base 10. With this table, you can form all the numbers from 1 to a hundred million!

Nulmber in Kanji

Hiragana reading

Romaji reading

Traduction

いち

Ichi

1

Ni

2

さん

San

3

よん/し

Yon/shi

4

Go

5

ろく

Roku

6

なな/しち

Nana/shichi

7

Hachi

8

きゅう

Kyû

9

じゅう

10

ひゃく

Hyaku

100

せん

Sen

1000

まん

Man

10 000

えん

En

Japanese Yen

Let's take for example the number 23 which is written and read :

二十三

Nijûsan

Literally, this number reads 2-10-3. This is the model on which numbers are constructed in Japanese. We place in front of the tens symbol the number corresponding to the number we are looking for. It is the same for hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands. For example, the number 2 500 is written and read:

Literally, this number is 2-10-3. This is the model on which we build the numbers in Japanese. We put in front of the tens symbol the number corresponding to the number we are looking for. It is the same for hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands. For example, the number 2500 is written and read:

二千五百

Nisengohyaku

Some numbers have exceptions in their pronunciation :

300

さんびゃく

Sanbyaku

600

ろっぴゃく

Roppyaku

800

はっぴゃく

Happyaku

3000

さんぜん

Sanzen

8000

はっせん

Hassen

Finally, if you intend to buy particularly expensive items: the prices will be written by being reported to the ten thousand. So do not be surprised, it is based on the same principle.

Thus, 十万 100,000 reads じゅうまん Jûman. That is 10 times 10,000.

If we take it the other way around, this gives 1250万円= 1250 times 10,000 or 12,500,000¥

Finally, to ask the price of an item, we use the following sentence:

すみません、これはいくらですか。

Sumimasen, kore ha ikura desuka?

Excuse me, how much does this cost?

Age in Japanese

Now that we have seen the numbers in Japanese, we will see how to give one's age. Age is signified by the kanji 歳 and more rarely this one 才. Both are read sai. So to give his age, we indicate the number and then add the suffix sai. Let's go back to the example with dear John Smith.

おはようございます、私はジャン ・デュポンです。私は四十五歳です。

Ohayôgozaimasu, watashi wa Paul desu. Watashi ha yonjûgosai desu.

Hello, my name is Jean Dupont. I am 45 years old.

As we have seen above, there are some pronunciation variations for some numbers but nothing too serious. For the ages, there are only 4 to remember!

一歳 いっさい issai 1 yo
八歳 はっさい hassai 8 yo
十歳 じゅっさい jussai 10 yo
二十歳 はたち hatachi 20 yo

When one of the ages ends in 1, 8 or 10, you just need to change that part in the pronunciation. Therefore, 21 years old will be said nijûissai にじゅういっさい.

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