TYJ Small numbers

By Takasugi · May 22, 2017 ·
  1. Takasugi
    5.1. Small numbers

    5.1.1. Small integers

    Being entirely decimal, the way of counting numbers (かず "kazu") in Japanese is much easier than in English, considering English has illogical number words (not wholly decimal) such as eleven, twelve, and twenty.

    NumberJapaneseDescription
    0れい
    re i
    The word ゼロ H L "zero" also means zero. The word まる H L "maru", which means a circle, is the same as oh in English and often used for zeros in phone numbers etc.
    1
    i ti
    -
    2
    ni
    -
    3さん
    sa n
    -
    4よん
    yo n
    Another word し H "shi" also means four, but you cannot combine it with units. It is less colloquial and less useful.
    5
    go
    -
    6ろく
    ro ku
    -
    7なな
    na na
    Another word し L H "shichi" also means seven, but you cannot combine it with units. It is less colloquial and less useful.
    8
    ha ti
    -
    9きゅう
    kyû
    Another word く H "ku" also means nine, but you cannot combine it with units. It is less colloquial and less useful.
    10じゅう
    zyû
    -
    .........
    11じゅうい
    zyû i ti
    10 + 1
    じゅう + い
    12じゅうに
    zyû ni
    10 + 2
    じゅう + に
    .........
    20にじゅう
    ni zyû
    2 x 10
    に x にじゅ
    21にじゅう
    ni zyû i ti
    2 x 10 + 1
    に x にじゅう + i ti
    .........
    30さんじゅう
    sa n zyû
    3 x 10
    さん x じゅう
    .........
    100ひゃく
    hya ku
    -
    .........
    1000せん
    se n
    -
    To read numbers in Japanese, just read pairs of digits (2, 3, ...) and units (10, 100, ...). For example, the number 452 is pronounced as やん "yon" ひゃく "hyaku" ご "go" じゅう "zyû" に "ni", which means 4 × 100 + 5 × 10 + 2.

    If a digit is zero, omit both the digit and the unit. If a digit is one, say only the unit.

    Further readings:

    5.1.2. Euphonic change

    There is some complicated rule to change sounds. The sounds of some combinations of a digit and a unit are modified for ease of pronunciation. This rule is applied only for units which begin with voiceless phonemes (/k/, /s/, /t/, /h/, and /p/). Note that units don't combine with the trailing digit. Pronouncing numbers without using this rule is still understandable.

    The rule is listed below. I think using phonemes is easier to understand.

    small-numbers-table01.png

    *1 Even though they are not digits but units, they can combine with the trailing units when they are the last word in a group. See the chapters of large numbers and counters.
    *2 Explained in the chapter of large numbers.

    Number examples:

    NumbersDigits and unitsDescription
    156100 + 5 × 10 + 6
    ひゃくごじゅうろく
    hya ku go zyû ro ku
    Omit the digit of 100.
    70087 × 1000 + 8
    ななせんはち
    na na se n ha ti
    Omit the digits and units of 100 and 10.
    3923 × 100 + 9 × 10 + 2
    さんびゃくきゅうじゅうに
    sa n bya ku kyû zyû ni
    The euphonic rule changes "san" × "hyaku" to "sanbyaku".
    2132 × 100 + 10 + 3
    にひゃくじゅうさん
    ni hya ku zyû sa n
    The euphonic rule is applied to a pair of a digit and a unit, not a unit and a digit. The number 10 + 3 is not "jussan".
    Further readings:

    ← Previous page (Punctuation) | Next page (Large numbers) →

    About Author

    Takasugi
    My name is TAKASUGI Shinji. TAKASUGI is my family name, and Shinji is my given name; a family name is placed before a given name in Japan, as in other Asian nations. My family name is capitalized to avoid misunderstanding.

    I have been living in Yokohama since I was born. Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan, which is just 30 kilometers away from the biggest city Tôkyô. It takes 30 minutes to go by train from home to Shibuya, which is the hottest town now in Tôkyô.

    I work as a display engineer.

    One of my hobbies is creating things with computers; creating programs, computer graphics and web pages is the thing I spent a lot of time doing. I am also interested in a wide range of sciences, and linguistics is my favorite. I like English and I like using it, but my focus is mainly on Japanese, which is my native language. I'm proud of knowing the language, and the difference between English and Japanese has been fascinating me. I have been thinking whether I can introduce it to people outside of Japan. My attempt of introducing Japanese with some Java applets has had more than 1 million visitors.


    More from JREF

Comments

In order to add your comment please sign up and become a member of JREF through the registration form at the top right of the page; you can also sign up under your Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ account.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice