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Why is there so many counters?! I have used Rosetta stone recently and noticed the different counters for different types of things like nandaika, nanwaka, and nantooka. (Forgive the romaji, I cannot type in Japanese and I am still learning basic kana and kanji). I was wondering if there is an easier way to remember the different counters or if there is maybe, an informal way to count items in general.
Jun 6, 2013 8:31 PM
Answers · 3
Like any language, Japanese has its particular challenges that a person wishing to learn it must "confront" and "accept." To the Japanese, for example, articles such as "the" and "an" are difficult (and unnecessary, because Japanese does not have any articles at all). Japanese also does not really have plural forms for most nouns. Instead, they have counters. Using the wrong counter will generally not impede comprehension. If you wish to use a short-cut (that is *not* always correct), you can use the generic counter for everything *for now.* Use the Chinese numbers ichi, ni, san, yon, go, roku, nana, hachi, kyuu, jyuu, etc and form the generic counters as ik-ko, ni-ko, san-ko, yon-ko, go-ko, rokko, nana-ko, hakko, kyuu-ko, jyukko to count things. Alternatively, you can temporarily use the generic Japanese counters hitotsu, futatsu, mit-tsu, yot-tsu, itsutsu, mut-tsu, nanatsu, yat-tsu, kokonotsu, and too for now. Ultimately, just like foreigners can drop all articles and prepositions in English and still make themselves understood in general (e.g., "I go movie because I like film") it won't sound natural to take the short cut. As you progress in Japanese, try to learn the counters one by one and they will eventually become less daunting! Best wishes on your quest to learn Japanese, which is one of my favorite languages.
June 7, 2013
Language Skills
English, Japanese
Learning Language