Updated: Jan 25
Today, we’re back with a Japanese lesson! Alright! So, let’s get down to it. First off, remind me again, what did we learn in the last lesson? Oh, that’s right, how to count to 10! Do you guys remember? If not, here’s a reminder:
1 = いち
2 = に
3 = さん
4 = よん/し
5 = ご
6 = ろく
7 = しち/なな
8 = はち
9 = きゅう/く
10 = じゅう
Remember now? Ok, so last time, I told you we’d be learning more numbers today, and we will. The reason why is so that you can tell people how old you are. It’s a conversation starter, and if you’re in Japan, and, I don’t know, you go into a bar, and want to have some alcohol, you might get asked how old you are, so you’d probably have to tell them.
That’s why we’ll be learning more numbers! It’s not rocket science, or maths…well it is a little bit of maths, but not enough to get you to quit. So, are you ready? Because I am!
How Old Are You?
The first thing you need to know is how they say “how old are you”. It’s easy to just spew off a number, but you need to remember what you’re saying that number to. So, in Japanese, “how old are you” translates to:
Ok, as usual, this is the full ひらがな version. The standard version looks more like this:
As you can see, they use full Kanji symbols for the first part. Now, in romaji (if you don’t already know what that is, why not go back to my first lesson The Three-In-One Alphabet), the sentence looks like this:
Remember, in Japanese, they don’t use punctuation marks, like we do in English, they replace it with the syllableか.
Ok, But I’m Not A Ten-Year-Old
Of course, you’re not. That’s why we’re learning how to count further than ten, so we can say how old we really are. So, here’s how it goes. I’m twenty-six. Yes, I’m not afraid to say my age, because I’m still young! Now, how do I say that in Japanese?
Well, in romaji, just so we are clear about this, the sentence is:
Ni-juu-ro-ku sai des
Again, remember, a double vowel doesn’t mean you pause and say the vowel again, you just elongate it, so “juu” is “joooo…”, like “zoo” but just a millisecond longer. Now, in ひらがな, that would look like:
And, just like before, there is a Kanji version too, just to simplify the letters a little more, so you don’t have pages and pages of indecipherable ひらがな. It looks like this:
It’s not bad right? Ok, so here’s a little note about the number system in Japan. They don’t actually have words for “twenty”, or “thirty”, and so on, and so forth, because what they do is both a lot simpler than what we do in English, but also a little more complicated, because, they count like this:
Two ten, three ten, four ten, five ten
Do you see what I mean? They count their tens with the single digit before the word “ten”. So, when I say にじゅうろく, I’m saying “two ten six”. Easy right? Now, here comes the complication, when you’re reading it, or translating it, you might find yourself in a tongue twister, because when you think about it, you think that these numbers actually mean:
2, 10, 6
So, you’d expect to think of it as 2-10-6. Don’t get confused! I know, I do too, sometimes, but remember, when speaking Japanese, it’s easier to understand, because the number before the “ten” is like reading it in English, or romaji…so…
Ni-juu = 20 = 二重
Ni-juu-ichi = 21 = 二十一
Ni-juu-ni = 22 = 二重に
Ni-juu-san = 23 = 二重さん
Ni-juu-yon = 24 = 二十四n
Ni-juu-go = 25 = 二十五
Makes sense, right?
There’s More, But…
Ok, so I sorely underestimated how much work goes into remembering how to count, in Japanese, so we’ll leave it there, because there are a few different rules when it comes to saying your age. Right now, let’s just focus on how to count numbers above ten, so, you know how to do it. That’s your homework. Count up to 99, both in writing and aloud.
Well, that’s it from me today. I’ll see you guys next time, when we look at the rules of age. It’s not that hard, it’s just some words will be exchanged out, and you can’t say the other form of the number. Don’t worry, it sounds complicated now, but it’s really simple.
Anyway, don’t forget to like, subscribe and follow, for the latest updates and the newest posts here on Feather’s Charm, and on my social media. Also, please share these posts to friends and family, who you think might be interested. I’m sure they’d love to learn a new language, learn to crochet, or get stuck into a fandom that they never knew existed! I’ll see you guys later!