How To Count In Japanese 1-10
How to Count to Ten in Japanese
Practice the following:
Ichi means one.(一)
- The "i" sounds like "ea" in "each" and the "chee" is like "cheek."
- When spoken quickly, the "ee" part is not or barely pronounced and the whole word sounds like "each."
Ni means two. (二)
- It sounds like "knee."
San means three. (三)
- It sounds like "sahn."
Shi means four. (四)
- It sounds like "she."
- It can alternately be pronounced "yon" (sounds like "yohn", not like "yawn").
Go means five. (五)
- English speakers have a tendency to say the word "go" as if it were spelled "gohw". When you say "go" in Japanese, you need to leave your mouth rounded when you're done to prevent slipping towards a "w" sound.
Roku means six. (六)
- The R is pronounced like a cross between R and L, so when you say it it should sound similar to "loh-koo." But an English R is pronounced at the center of the tongue, and an English L is pronounced about a quarter of an inch from the tip of the tongue, but the Japanese R is pronounced using only the very tip of the tongue.
Shichi means seven. (七)
- Sounds like "she-chee", with a hint of tch on the "chee."
- It can also be pronounced "nana" (the As are pronounced "ah").
Hachi means eight. (八)
- It sounds like "ha!" then "tchee."
Kyuu means nine. (九)
- It sounds like the letter "q." Similarly to "go," English speakers tend to pronounce it as "kyoow" - make sure to keep your mouth rounded on the "oo" sound and not to slip towards "w".
Juu means ten.(十)
- It's pronounced "joo", with a teensy-tiny bit of zh on the j.
If you plan on speaking or are studying Japanese, it is useful to know the alternate counting system used to number objects. As mentioned below, different items have different counter suffixes attached to a number. In the case of long, thin objects like pencils, san-bon (３本), in the case of cats, san-biki (３匹). However, some items do not have suffixes, or you may not know them. In these cases, you can use the system below.
Hitotsu means one.(一つ)
- It is pronounced "he" (as in that guy over there) "toe" "tsu." (This is likely the most difficult sound to produce as it doesn't exist in English. Think 'sue' with your tongue starting between your teeth.)
- Notice that the kanji is simply ichi (一) and hiragana tsu (つ). This pattern will continue for all the other numbers in this system.
Futatsu means two. (二つ)
- It sounds like "foo" (the f is quieter, and not as distinguished as in English) "ta" (as in talk) "tsu" (that tricky tsu again).
Mittsu means three. (三つ)
- It sounds like "me" [unspoken pause for one beat] "tsu".
- Japanese is a rhythmic language. Each character or pause is given one beat. So if you spoke it with a metronome, the silences and pauses would be just as important as the spoken sounds. If you look at the phonetic characters of this word, "みっつ", it's not two sounds, but three; that little tsu in the middle represents a pause in speaking. When Japanese is written with Latin characters (called ローマ字 "rōmaji"), you can tell these pauses by two consonants next to each other - in this case, the two Ts (mittsu). It's tricky, but if you listen to it you'll start to understand.
Yottsu means four. (四つ)
- It sounds like "yo" [pause] "tsu."
Itsutsu means five. (五つ)
- It sounds like "ee" (as in eek) "tsu" "tsu" (double the tsus!).
Muttsu means six. (六つ)
- It sounds like "moo" (with a short "oo" sound - don't drag it out) [pause] "tsu".
Nanatsu means seven. (七つ)
- "nana" "tsu"
Yatsu means eight. (八つ)
- It sounds like "yah" "tsu."
Kokonotsu means nine. (九つ)
- It sounds like "coco" "no" "tsu."
To means ten. (十)
- It sounds like "toe", but again, don't let the "oe" slip towards a "w" sound.
- This is the only number in the system that doesn't have the つ at the end.
- It may seem complicated, but if you remember these, you can count practically any item and Japanese people will understand. It is much easier than learning all the different counters.
- Why does Japanese have two counting systems? In a nutshell, the first system's pronunciations are based on Chinese (音読みon'yomi"Chinese reading"), since the Japanese borrowed theirkanji(ideographic, or idea-expressing, characters) from the Chinese language centuries ago. The second system is derived from the native Japanese words (訓読みkun'yomi"Japanese reading") for numbers. In modern Japanese, mostkanjihave both anon'yomiand akun'yomi- and often more than one - and both readings are used depending on the (grammatical) situation.
QuestionIs it hard for the Japanese to write with drawings, not numbers?Top AnswererTheir drawings are their numbers. That's what they grow up with. It's no different in how we learn Arabic numbers, therefore it wouldn't be hard for people who grew up in Japan.Thanks!
QuestionWhy do some of the kanji characters look very similar to Mandarin?Top AnswererA lot of kanji is actually borrowed from Mandarin, and most have the same meaning.Thanks!
QuestionCould I learn Japanese while learning another language?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerOf course.Thanks!
QuestionIs counting objects different from regular counting?Community AnswerYes. Counting an object uses different writing and sounds than regular counting in Japanese. Ichi = Hitotsu.Thanks!
QuestionDoes the double U sound like oo?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYeah it does, but try not to say it as foo but as fuuu as in the memes. If you know Spanish, Japanese will be a piece of cake.Thanks!
QuestionHow long do you reckon it would take to become fluent in Japanese if I practice every day?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIn 2 - 3 years, you could be considered advanced.Thanks!
QuestionHow do you keep your mouth rounded when saying "6" in Japanese?Top AnswererJust finish it like you're going to whistle, or blow a bubble.Thanks!
QuestionIf I know Spanish, is this easy?Top AnswererSpanish numbers are quite different from Japanese numbers, so it probably won't make it any easier.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I pronounce 'tsu' properly?Top AnswererPractice saying "su", similar to "sue". Just add a 't' sound. Practice by blowing air through your teeth.Thanks!
QuestionHow do you say "I love you" in Japanese?Sun DonkunCommunity Answer"Aishite iru (yo)," pronounced "ai-shi-teh-ru-yo." In a full sentence: Watashi wa anata/kimi wo aishite iru yo (literally I-you-love).Thanks!
How do you say, My name is, in Japanese?
One - Ichi (each)
Two - Ni (knee)
Three - San (sahn)
Four - Shi (she)
Five - Go (goh)
Six - Rok (loh-koo)
Seven - Shichi (she-tchee)
Eight - Hachi (ha-tchi)
Nine - Kyuu (kyoo)
Ten - Juu (joo)
- Using the hitotsu-futatsu number system, you can attach 目me(pronounced "meh") to indicate order. So hitotsume is the first, futatsume is the second, mittsume is the third, and so on. "Nanatsume no inu" would be "The seventh dog" as in, "That is the seventh dog I have seen in my yard today". However if you wanted to say "There were seven dogs" you would use nana-hiki.
- Numbers from 11 to 99 are just combinations of the digits 1-10. For example, 11 is juu ichi (10 + 1), 19 is juu kyuu (10 + 9). For 20, it's monkets; 25 is ni juu go (2*10 + 5).
- Four and seven both contain the sound "shi," which also means death, so they have alternate pronunciations that are used at various times. When counting to ten, they use their normal "shi"-included names, but other numbers can use the alternate pronunciations. For example, 40 is yon juu, 41 is yon juu ichi. It just takes practice memorizing which ones are which.
- Japanese goes on to include an elaborate system for counting different types of objects, and which requires memorization because it does not follow rules well. For example, "-piki" is the counter for animals. Instead of "ichi inu" for "one dog", it's "i-piki" (ee-peekee). Three pencils are "san-bon" (san+bone).
- Go to Japanese Online and use their interactive learning program to learn how to pronounce these and other words.
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