Do you also want to learn numbers in Japanese?
Learning numbers in Japanese is not difficult at all. The Japanese numerals are the number names used in Japanese. In writing, they are the same as the Chinese numerals, and the grouping of large numbers follows the Chinese tradition of grouping by 10,000. Two pronunciations are used: the Sino-Japanese (on’yomi) readings of the Chinese characters and the Japanese Yamato kotoba (native words, kun’yomi readings).
There are two ways of writing the numbers in Japanese: in Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3) or in Chinese numerals (一, 二, 三). The Arabic numerals are more often used in horizontal writing, and the Chinese numerals are more common in vertical writing.
The Japanese number system has two sets of numbers: the Sino-Japanese numbers and the Native Japanese numbers.
The most common Japanese numbers are the Sino-Japanese numbers. But you will often come across 1 – 10 in Native Japanese numbers.
Let's learn numbers 1 to 10 in Japanese -
1: 一 (いち ichi , ichi)
2: 二 (に ni , ni)
3: 三 (さん san , san)
4: 四 (よん yon / し shi , yon or shi)
5: 五 (ご go , go)
6: 六 (ろく roku , roku)
7: 七 (なな nana / しち shichi , nana or shichi)
8: 八 (はち hachi , hachi)
9: 九 (く ku / きゅう kyuu , ku or kyuu)
10: 十 (じゅう juu , juu)
This is sort of like the hardest part, if you can get this right, you will not find it hard to learn larger numbers after 10. After 1 to 10, Japanese numbers follow a logical pattern, with a few exceptions.
You’ll notice that 4, 7, and 9 all have two possible readings. These two names are interchangeable when you’re counting in Japanese. Any native speaker will know both versions.
During the ancient period, the Japanese created the preferable alternatives, yon, nana, and kyu, because of superstition around the sounds shi, shichi, and ku (which can mean “death”, “place of death” and “agony”). You’ll notice that, after 10, only those preferred pronunciations – yon, nana, and kyu – are used for 4, 7, and. So for double-digit numbers ending in a 0, like 40, we usually say yon juu and not shi juu.
Once you know numbers from 1 to 10, you’re good to go ahead. You can create numbers after this pretty much on your own by adding the number that’s missing to get the number you want. For example – 10 +1 =11
So 11 in Japanese is “10-1”, or juu-ichi / じゅういち.
Here are numbers 11 to 19 for your practice!
Hiragana English Phonetics
じゅういち eleven juu-ichi
じゅうに twelve juu-ni
じゅうさん thirteen juu-san
じゅうよん fourteen juu-yon*
じゅうご fifteen juu-go
じゅうろく sixteen juu-roku
じゅうなな seventeen juu-nana*
じゅうはち eighteen juu-hachi
じゅうきゅう nineteen juu-kyu*
Seems pretty easy right?
Keep practicing this so that you have a strong base in Japanese numerals. Remember to repetitively write the numbers down and try to write till 100. If you go wrong, you can always check on the Internet! You can learn the correct pronunciation of numerals with the help of videos available on Multibhashi. You also get quizzed after every video to test your learning skills and help you retain what you’ve learned.
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