日本語の秘密 21/33


日本語の秘密/ The Key to NIHON-GO

by 岸本建夫 [Kishimoto Tatsuo] 1999
OCR/Corr by most.cyak@gmail.com, Oct 2014


Section 4 Japanese is a Free-Spirited Language

→ There are Rules for Numerals too

  Japanese numerals (counter suffixes) are also thought to be difficult.

  The Japanese language is not concerned about differences between singular and plural, and yet it’s a downright bother when it comes to countable objects. (This is due to its influence from the Chinese language.) The suffixes used for counting change with each different noun. If you’re counting books, you use the suffix -satu, and if you’re counting cats, you use the suffix -hiki. So you’d say issatu no hon for “one book” and nihiki no neko for “two cats”, and so on.

  This certainly is more of a bother than with English, but the suffix that you use is determined by the noun that comes after it, so if you memorize their relationships, it’s not that difficult. Let me show you a few examples.

  Next, let’s take a look at the way numbers are read.

  These numerals and sufrixes, however, have liaisons in them, and so their pronunciations change. You may think that this is difficult to remember, but it’s not that hard if you understand the rules involved.

  How do these numbers change when you add suffixes to them? A few of the readings change, and below are three cases where the counter suffixes do not change.

  Next are three examples of counter suffixes in which the initial consonants change.

  When you take a look at these pronunciation tables for the first time, they may seem very confusing. However, if you look carefully you can see that there are clear rules involved. The numbers and counter suffixes are dealt with in an orderly manner. They are written like this because they are easier to pronounce this way, and you’ll soon understand this if you try and read them out loud.

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