How to Use Japanese Counters to Express Quantity

June 15, 2008 by admin 

How To Use Japanese Counters To Express Quantity

One of the biggest problems and frustration most beginner Japanese learners face is to study Japanese grammar counters. Mastering Japanese counters can be quite tricky since each counters has a different set of rules that will affect how a quantity should be pronounced.

For simplicity sake, let’s use the basic Japanese counter hai which is used to measure how many cupfuls of liquids. You normally use this Japanese counter for water, beer, tea and so on.

Now, the interesting this about Japanese counter is that the quanity will change the way you pronounce a Japanese counter. For example: One cup is ippai. How about 2 cups? Well, it’s nihai. 10 cups? Juppai. See the difference here?

Most beginner Japanese learners find this inconsistency very annoying and bothersome and I agree with them totally. But such strange rule is not constructed without a valid reason. The true reason behind this is simple: It sounds better. That’s right.

See, ippai sounds better than ihai. Try pronouncing it for yourself. I’m sure you will agree on that. Nippai doesn’t sound as good as nihai. Nippai sounds a bit silly. Juppai sounds more in quantity than juhai.

There are many more Japanese counters that you can learn to expand your knowledge on classifying objects in Japanese. For example, counter for people should never be used for anything else and vice versa.

To learn more about basic Japanese counters, you can view the original article here:

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