How to Count Words in Japanese

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Discover how to count words in Japanese in this free video on Japanese language and travel.

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Video Transcript

YUU ASAKURA: Speaking of numbers, in Japanese, we have a word called counter. Let's say you're talking about Japanese Yen, like 10 Yen, 100 Yen. Yen is considered as a counter, to specify what you're counting. In Japanese, every number has to count with a counter. Okay, so here's some examples. First one is ko, to describe a small object. Let's say, in English you can just say one apple, right? In Japanese, you say dingo ikko. Ikko, 1 and ko counter. And it's the same rule. Number, this one, nin, is for people. And the third one, hon, is for cylinder objects. It could be just a pen, a small pen, or could be a tree. It's the shape of the object. And this one, mai, is for a paper or a sheet of cloth. It's the thin object, yes? And a dai, is for machine. It could a car or a computer. If it's a machine, we count it with dai. And hai is for a liquid, in a glass or in a cup. So when you go to a restaurant, if you want a cup of water, you say, mizu, mizu means water, mizu iphai. That's how you say it, with the number, some pronunciation would change, but basic word is hai. And the last one is hiki, this is for animals. So nin is for people, hiki is for animals. So I have 2 cats at home, so I would say, I have neko, neko means cats, and I have 2, so ni hiki. That's how it works.


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