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Video:Learn Japanese: How to Count People

with Michael Metcalf

Learn how to count people in Japanese with the proper counter word and Kanji, the Japanese written character for people. You will be able to count people from one to ten in Japanese with this tutorial.See Transcript

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Transcript:Learn Japanese: How to Count People

Hi, My name is Michael Metcalf, I'm a student of Japanese at the University of Missouri in Columbia, for About.com. In this video I will show you how to count people in Japanese.

Learn to Count People in Japanese

In Japanese, whenever you count something, you say the number of whatever it is you are counting and then you attach that to a special counter word that relates specifically to whatever it is that you are counting. For people, the Japanese use the special counter word... "nin". A Kanji is basically a pictograph that illustrates a certain meaning but not necessarily a pronunciation, the Japanese use them often.

For example if your reading a book or a newspaper or something and it talks about a certain number of people. Let's say we're talking about a couple in a book, two people. In written Japanese you would see the kanji for two right next to the kanji for people, literally meaning, two people. Now let's try counting people from one to ten.

Japanese Pronunciation Varies for Certain Numbers

For one person, it's not as simple as you might think. For example one in Japanese is "ichi", but you don't simply attach this to nin. It's not itchinin, it has it's own special word, it's "hitori". So one person in Japanese is "hitori".Two people is also the same, for example this right here. It's not "ninin" it's "futari". Now after hitori and futari it gets more regular. For three people we simply have "sannin" . For four, the sound changes just a little bit, it's "yonin" not "yon nin" but "yonin". Five people, "gonin", six " rokunin". seven "shichinin", eight people "hachinin", nine people "kyuunin" and for ten people, it's "juunin".

Thanks for watching, and if you'd like to know more about counting in Japanese, check us out on the web at About.com.
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