When learning Japanese, many people start from learning the numbers from one to ten. It’s an easy and fun way to get started and doesn’t take long, but did you know that you can make words from the numbers? First, lets review the Japanese words for the numbers from one to ten. One, two and three are ichi, ni, san. Four can be shi or yon. Five and six are go and roku. Seven can be nana or shichi. Eight is hachi, nine is kyu or ku and ten is ju.
By putting together the sounds from two numbers, you hachi-papa can make a word. For example, if you are hungry you may want some 15. What’s 15? – take the sound of one, which is ‘ichi’ and put it together with the sound of five ‘go’, to make ichigo – strawberries. How about some 29? Putting the sound of the word of two ‘ni’ with nine ‘ku’ makes ‘niku’ which means meat. In Japan people eat with chopsticks, which is ‘hashi’ in Japanese. To make ‘hashi’ out of numbers, take the first part of the word for eight which is ‘ha’ and add ‘shi’ to make 84. If you are asked to go along to a party, you could reply 19 – i + ku = ‘iku’, which means to go!.
There are a couple of numbers to be careful of. If you put the sounds of four and two together, you get shi+ni, which in Japanese means death. Many buildings such as hotels or hospitals won’t have a room with the number 42. 24 is another number that you won’t find in many buildings as it makes the word ni+shi = nishi meaning double death.
You can even make some English words from Japanese numbers. Lets see how. If you take the Japanese word for three ‘san’ and put it together with the word for nine ‘kyu’, then you get ‘sankyu’. If you say it out loud quickly, you can probably guess which English word it is – that’s right – Thank-you. You can also say Hello in English using Japanese. Remember the word for eight – ‘hachi’ if you take the first part ‘ha’ and put it together with the first part of six – ‘ro’ – you get ‘haro’ – Hello. Using numbers for words is popular when writing messages on cell phones in Japan.
If you are creative, you can probably think of more Japanese words that you can make from numbers. It’s a fun way to keep on learning more Japanese.
Can you work out the number for the Japanese word for white? Go to http://www.learn-hiragana-katakana.com to find out and for more tips about how to keep your Japanese learning interesting.
To learn Japanese numbers easily and quickly by listening to a native speaker pronounce the numbers from 1 to 1000 and more simple