Class Session 8a
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Class Session 8a Chapter 5. Stating Your Age Counters Using a Number Phrase in a Sentence Using takusan and sukoshi to Express Quantity Question Words with Counters. Stating Your Age. To ask someone’s age: nan-sai desu ka. (nan-sai , what age? How old? )

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Class Session 8a

Chapter 5

  • Stating Your Age

  • Counters

  • Using a Number Phrase in a Sentence

  • Using takusan and sukoshi to Express Quantity

  • Question Words with Counters

Japanese 1100-L08a-07-08-2012

Stating Your Age

  • To ask someone’s age:

  • nan-sai desu ka. (nan-sai , what age? How old?)

  • o-ikutsu desu ka. (more polite) (ikutsu, how many? how old?)

  • To say your age, add the counter sai after the number:

    • ni-jū-sai desu. (二十歳, hatachi)

    • (I am) 20.

    • ni-jū-go-sai desu.

    • (I am) 25.

Japanese 1100-L08a-07-08-2012


  • The Japanese use a complicated counter system for enumerating things (similar to

  • the use of counters in English: a herd of cows, a flock of sheep, a gaggle of geese)

  • The counter system was borrowed from Chinese, along with the numbers

  • There is a different counter that varies according to the size, shape and type of

  • item being counted

  • There are about 240 different counters for things

  • Some of the counters cause minor sound changes or exceptional pronunciations

  • This lesson introduces several common counters

  • mai – for counting flat things (sheets of paper, tickets, towels, etc.

  • hon – for long cylindrical things (pens, bananas, cigarettes, bottles of beer, etc.)

  • nin – for people

  • tsu – for medium-size items1

  • -----------------------------------------------

  • 1This is an unusual treatment of native Japanese numbers

Japanese 1100-L08a-07-08-2012

Counters - Form and Pronunciation

(p81 of textbook)

Number Flat Item Cylindrical Item People Medium-size Items1

1 ichi-mai ip-ponhito-ri hito-tsu

2 ni-mai ni-hon futa-rifuta-tsu

3 san-mai san-bon san-nin mit-tsu

4 yon-mai yon-hon yon-nin yot-tsu

5 go-mai go-hon go-nin itsu-tsu

6 roku-mai rop-pon roku-nin mut-tsu

7 shichi-mai nana-hon shichi-nin nana-tsu

8 hachi-mai hap-pon hachi-nin yat-tsu

9 kyū-mai kyū-hon kyū-nin kokono-tsu

10 jū-mai jup-pon jū-nin tō


1 These are really the native Japanese words for the numbers 1-10.

Japanese 1100-L08a-07-08-2012

Using a Number Phrase in a Sentence

  • When using a number phrase in a sentence, place it after the item (and particle)

  • the number refers to:

  • watashi wa ane ga futa-ri imasu.

  • I have two older sisters.

  • watashi wa ane ga futari to, ani ga hito-ri to, otōto ga hito-ri imasu.

  • I have two older sisters, one older brother, and one younger brother.

  • When using the –tsu counters (native Japanese numbers), there are two ways to express the number of things :

  • enpitsu ga futatsu arimasu. There are two pencils.

  • futatsu no enpitsu ga arimasu. There are two pencils.

  • You can always use this method if you do not know the counter word

Japanese 1100-L08a-07-08-2012

Using takusan and sukoshi to Express Quantity (pp82-83)

  • Instead of using a number phrase there are two words you can use to express both

  • amount and quantity for both countable and uncountable items:

  • takusan (a large amount, a large quantity)

  • sukoshi (a small amount, small quantity)

  • Place the word where you would normally see the number

  • Examples:

    • kukkii ga takusan arimasu. kēki mo sukoshi arimasu.

    • There are a lot of cookies. There are some cakes too.

    • watashi wa chūgoku-jin no tomodachi ga takusan imasu.

    • I have many Chinese friends.

    • kankoku-jin no tomodachi mo sukoshi imasu.

    • I also have some Korean friends.

    • sūgaku no shukudai ga takusan arimasu. eigo no shukudai mo sukoshi arimasu.

    • I have a lot of math homework. I also have some English homework.

Japanese 1100-L08a-07-08-2012

Question Words with Counters

  • To ask the quantity or amount of some items, you can use the question word

  • nan (from nani) with the appropriate counter:

  • nan-mai how many (flat items)?

  • nan-bon how many (cylindrical items)?

  • nan-nin how many (people)?

  • iku-tsu how many?

  • Examples:

  • kono hako no naka ni origami ga nan-mai arimasu ka.

  • How many sheets of orgiami paper are there in this box?

  • gakusei ga nan-ni imasu ka.

  • How many students are there?

  • kyō wa kurasu ga ikutsu arimasu ka.

  • How many classes do you have today?

Japanese 1100-L08a-07-08-2012