助数詞. Suffixes attached to numbers to indicate what is being counted. In linguistics, these are sometimes called 'classifiers'. The combination of a number plus a classifier forms a type of 'quantifier', and the movement of quantifiers into other parts of the sentence is called 'quantifier float'.

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Why was “一匹” used for Godzilla?

I've heard someone say that "一匹" was used at the end of the original Godzilla movie, with Dr. Yamane saying that Godzilla wasn't the last one of "them". Why did he use that, as opposed to "一頭"? Do ...
22
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4answers
2k views

Differences between 度 and 回 when counting occurrences

What are the differences between using 度 and 回 when used to count number of occurrences? For example: そんなことは一度もしたことがない そんなことは一回もしたことがない Are there any restrictions on what kind of actions referred ...
18
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1answer
4k views

Can you say “half hour” or must you say “30 minutes”?

I know that to say an hour and a half you can say 一時間半, but is it possible to express simply half an hour even though the counter comes before 半? Or would you just have to say 三十分? If both ways are ...
18
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4answers
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Why is the correct counter for rabbits 羽(わ)

Why is the correct counter for rabbits 羽(わ), the counter that is used for birds. I figured it is because they jump, cause fly and jump are the same verb in Japanese, but then frogs are 匹.
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2answers
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Is it okay to use つ counting for everything?

Instead of using the proper counter for each thing, is it okay to just use the つ counter? Like in: 彼女は子猫2匹を持っている。 Use つ instead of 匹: 彼女は子猫2つを持っている。 Are there situations when this is ...
15
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1answer
1k views

Temperature abbreviations?

A certain dialog in my book has a man describing the symptoms of his cold to the doctor. It reads thus: 医者:熱はありますか。 ...
15
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2answers
524 views

What are the rules for reading numbers before a foreign counter-word?

Is there a rule of thumb for knowing the reading of a number when it is written in western numerals, and is followed by a loaned counter-word? For example, how would you pronounce the "1" in 1セット? My ...
13
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4answers
2k views

Counter for chopsticks

Just curious about this one. I'm never sure what to say when I ask for chopsticks in Japanese. I know that "by-the-book", you can count them with ~そろい (揃い) or ~ぜん (膳). So I always say 「お箸を ...
13
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1answer
657 views

Why is 間{かん} used to denote some amounts of time but not others?

I've been thinking about how to express a duration of time and how in the past I have added 間{かん} in situations where I found that I shouldn't have. Take the following sentences as examples. ○: ...
12
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2answers
320 views

How to read the X in 5X4間?

A book about architecture I'm trying to read (it's a bit of a slog what with the technical jargon and such) contained this description of a temple building: 二重、初重5X4間、裳階 (もこし) つき、上重4X3間. So it's two ...
12
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1answer
460 views

Looking for a kanji/symbol used for counting noodles

Just to add some context: I was with a Japanese friend at a うどん and そば restaurant in 浅草 where they had a small sign by the counter to buy their fresh noodles. However, the size of the portion was not ...
11
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3answers
3k views

Are there native Japanese numbers greater than 10? What use are they?

Most people who've taken a Japanese 101 class know the 10 native Japanese numbers (一つ、二つ・・・十). It's always seemed odd that a system would stop at 10 when so many things in life need larger numbers. ...
11
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4answers
619 views

Counters In Japanese

I'm a super beginner in Japanese, so excuse me if this question is really simple. Or stupid. As an exercise, sometimes I count up the things on nearby desks or tables and try to list them in ...
11
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1answer
343 views

What counter words are used by animals for humans?

In Happy Feet 2, I noticed that the penguins used the hitori, futari, ... counter words for themselves, rather than 羽. In fiction involving talking animals where the humans are regarded as somewhat ...
10
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2answers
413 views

Counter for 熊 (bears): ひき or 頭?

While hiking I saw 3 bears, and I have heard a lot of people say ひき to count them. There was a mother and two small ones, if that matters. But when talking about it I also have been told that 頭 ...
10
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1answer
396 views

The first: 第一 vs 一番 vs 第一番

What are differences among 第一, 一番 and 第一番, all of which seem to mean "the first" in English? Are any of them more suitable for some specific scenarios than the others (e.g. 安全第一 but 世界で一番)?
10
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759 views

Why are movies/video-clips counted with 本?

I just noticed in my Facebook uploads that for my videos, it says I have 25本. What's the reasoning behind using 〜本 to count videos or movie clips? The only line of reasoning I can come up with would ...
9
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1answer
1k views

Which counter do you use for counting TV series episodes?

I want to say "I saw 10 episodes", but I can't find the appropriate counter. I may use "つ" counter (十エピソードを見ました), but it's not very classy.
9
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1answer
956 views

Gregorian calendar year to Japanese era name, and vice versa [closed]

Just for fun, I'm curious about how native speakers do mental translation from Gregorian calendar year (e.g 2011) to Japanese era name 年号 (e.g. 平成23年), and vice versa. Do you have special and ...
9
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1answer
1k views

Why biiru hitotsu rather than ippai?

While having Ghengis Khan with some dou-min, one of them asked for "biiru hitotsu". While I could understand the biiru, I was surprised that ippai wasn't used. I understand that (number)-tsu is valid ...
9
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1answer
689 views

Is there a general counter word for objects that you can fallback on if you're not sure which one to use?

I guess we could use the native Japanese numbers, 一つ, 二つ, 三つ...but we'd run into a problem at or after ten (not sure how とお works — same for はたち). Is there a general counter word that we can fallback ...
8
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2answers
740 views

Why is another photo referred to as もう一丁?

一丁 is a cut of tofu or konyaku, so why is it also used for photos? I always imagined it as a Polaroid, flat, like もう一枚 but can't find out the original reason もう一丁 was used for it.
8
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3answers
274 views

How do you refer to items in a list?

Given a list of things... dog cat fish How would you say... the second item in the list: 2目番? all three of them: 全部三つ? two of them (not regarding the position in the list): 2匹 or 2目? Is this ...
8
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1answer
717 views

Why is 「人口」 used to denote population?

I'm just curious at the appearance of 「口」 that makes this word mean "population". Why should it be 「口」 as opposed to any other body part or anything else? Is there a definitive reason or story ...
8
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1answer
100 views

Counter for islands?

I have found the following sentence in my practising book (only 日本 is written in kanji because it's in one of the first lessons): 日本は しまが 6852 とう あります。 I am guessing that とう is the counter for ...
8
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1answer
350 views

How to list numbers of things

Where do you place the counter in Japanese when you want to specify how many of something there are, especially if you're listing multiple things? I believe the counter usually goes after the ...
8
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2answers
318 views

Can counter words also be nouns?

According to people I've asked, and this page, if I pay 20 Australian dollars for my meal, it seems I say ni ju doru (20-ドル), and that ni ju-en doru (20-えん-ドル) would be ungrammatical - "dollar" acts ...
7
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2answers
300 views

When to read 一人 and 二人 as いちにん and ににん?

WWWJDIC lists いちにん and ににん as alternative readings of 一人 {ひとり} and 二人 {ふたり}, but I can't recall anywhere I heard those readings except when counting more than 10 people for example 三十一人 {さんじゅういちにん}. ...
7
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1answer
129 views

Is repetition of words in questions, such as the 番 in 電話番号は何番ですか common in Japanese?

In this other question, the answers say that 電話{でんわ}番号{ばんごう}は何番ですか is a common way of asking for someones number. I was thrown off by the repitition of 番, but the answers say it's commonly used. So ...
7
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Is B2F, B1F, 1F, 2F, … wasei-eigo?

While visiting Tokyo, I noticed that most levels were indicated by B2F, B1F, 1F, 2F, ... . This doesn't look like the Romaji for -kai or -gai counter-words, which I assume would be chika ni-kai, ...
7
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1answer
123 views

What is a newspaper 段, exactly?

Does this bit contain 2段, for instance? Would 3段抜き refer to a write-up containing 3 such 段?
7
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2answers
316 views

Do we use odd day pronunciations outside of calendar ranges?

After reading @jkerian's comment in this post, I started thinking about this. Here's the comment in full: On a side note, all days ending in '4' are also irregular, and use ~よっか. So the 14th is ...
6
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List of Japanese counter words [closed]

What are the essential Japanese counter words? For example -dai for machines, -mai for papers and stuff like that. What else to expect/know? Thank you
6
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2answers
328 views

ひき or 頭 for horses?

Initially I'd thought ひき is for small animals and 頭 is for animals that are not small ("big" animals) however EDICT (http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/cgi-bin/wwwjdic.cgi?1MUE%E3%81%B2%E3%81%8D) ...
6
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2answers
220 views

Numbers and Counters

I am still in a very early stage in learning Japanese, and just I have just learnt some numbers and my first counter words, such as the ones for telling time and まい. Do you ever use "regular" numbers ...
6
votes
1answer
199 views

Reading of 組 as a Counter Word With Numbers

I'm confused about how to pronounce a word such as 一組. Are Japanese or Chinese numbers used when using 組 as a counter, and if the former how does it change phonetically? For example, jisho.org lists ...
6
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1answer
235 views

What does 着 mean in 「六時着」 and in 「六着」?

One of the kanji we recently learned in class was 着. We learned it could be used for to wear [着]{き}る, to arrive [着]{つ}く, and as either a "classifier for arrival" or a "counter for jacket". In our ...
6
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1answer
291 views

Placing a quantifier between a noun and particle?

this is my first question here so please bare with me. Until the other day I was aware of two different ways use counters As an adverb. ペンを3本買いました。 As a noun. 3本のペンを買いました。 ...
6
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1answer
250 views

What is the counter used for doors?

This is from deceze, but what is the counter used for doors. Is it 枚(mai) or something else?
5
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2answers
735 views

How do you use counters past 10?

Counter words have different readings for 1 through 10. How do I use them for number 11 and beyond? Do I change the counter's pronunciation based on the last digit of the number? So if the number ...
5
votes
1answer
711 views

Japanese counter for exercise repetitions

Recently, I've been attempting to incorporate Japanese into my daily life more frequently. As I went through my morning exercises, I realized that I wasn't sure if simply counting 一,二,三... was ...
5
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1answer
258 views

Counter word for prepackaged instant ramen

What would be the most adequate counter word for this type of instant noodles? Like '1 package of ramen'.
5
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272 views

How can I say “counted in (specific unit)”?

Specifically, I am trying to say something like "a semester's length is counted in months" in order to imply how short it is as compared to, say, your whole life. When I tried to look this up in my ...
5
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2answers
252 views

Counters for graphs in oral presentations?

I have to make a Japanese presentation and I'd like to say "I'll explain japanese demographics using three graphs", but then realized I didn't know the counter for graphs. Can someone help me out?
5
votes
1answer
138 views

“め” in “五匹め” implies some sort of “ordering”? Where it makes sense, the default is “time”?

め after a counter implies some sort of ordering, right? Say that you are shopping for a cat. scenario #1 You look into a room with 5 cats in it. Does saying 五匹めが好きです。 mean anything? In that ...
5
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2answers
83 views

Difference in counters for spoons

I know that there are several types of counters of spoons/cups. For example, a counter for cup is はい while another counter is カップ。 Also さじ and はい are also counters for spoons. What exactly are the ...
5
votes
2answers
190 views

Are ~つ and ~り the only two counters that can occur with the native Japanese numbers (ひと~, ふた~, etc)?

Please go easy on me if this seems too basic and obvious, I'm a beginner. I always had the impression that there were counters that went with the native Japanese numbers and counters that went with ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

How to say “Episode 22”, “Chapter 22”, “Act 22”, etc?

I just wanted to make sure that my understanding is correct. When saying Chapter 22, Act 22, or Episode 22 (basically parts of a larger piece), it normally starts with 第22 (or 第[number]) and then the ...
5
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1answer
164 views

Is 圧力 countable?

Consider the following sentence (emphasis mine): ひょっとしたら僕が​圧力の一つや二つをかけられて​いることも知っているのかもしれない。 The bolded part is kind of confusing me. I get that 圧力をかけられる means "to be pressured" or "to have ...
5
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1answer
210 views

Exceptions in pronouncing the counter for minutes (分)

I'm learning the counter for minutes, which is 分. I know, there are several exceptions in reading this counter. 1 min = いっぷん 2 min = にふん 3 min = さんぷん 4 min = よんぷん 5 min = ごふん 6 min = ろっぷん 7 min = ...