As promised I'll explain how counters work and I have a few charts to explain it in more detail.
Japanese has two different numerical systems:
- The Traditional Japanese Numbers like ひとつ、ふたつ、みっつ etc. which goes only as far as 10, after which the other system is used like じゅういち.
- The Chinese Origin Numbers いち、に、さん etc. combined with a counter such as だい when counting things.
The word order for counting in a sentence is as follows:
NOUN + を + QUANTITY
りんご を ふたつ ください
(Please give me two apples)
Now let us take a look at my freshly made charts:
Used for shapeless objects that are not categorized like apples, keys or even ideas.
For number 7 you can say しちにん if you like but I left it as ななにん because it is easier to remember seeing as most of the counters use it.
Used for ordinal numbers such as '1st place'.
Used for thin and flat objects like shirts, stamps, pieces of paper etc.
Used for TVs, computers, cameras or bicycles etc. just as I said last lesson.
In the other three Columns number 10 can also be じっ instead of じゅっ so じっさい、じっさつ、じっちゃく but I kept it the way it is because again to keep it simple. If everything looks similar it will make memorizing them a lot easier.
Used for a time or occasion of occurrence like 'twice a day' いちにち に にかい.
Used for small objects like dice, eraser or clips etc.
You can say さんぞく instead of さんそく and for 10 it's the same as before じっかい、じっこ、じっそく、じっけん.
Used for floors of a building. You can say さんがい for 3 instead and in the question you can say なんがい.
Used for thin and long objects like pencils, bananas, bottles etc.
Used for liquids in glasses or cups or spoonfuls etc.
Used for small animals like cats and used for fish and insects.
For the 10s in all these Columns the same sound is used as the last chart.
As I had said earlier that some of the sounds change so be sure to read them carefully.
In all the charts you will notice that they all have a question mark on the last row, it is the question you should use to ask about that specific object.
The yellow part is in Kanji and the sound is what you see in the hiragana that is red.Here's a cute song to help you memorize counters:
These are not the only counters, counters are endless but I'll work hard to provide you with as many charts as possible in time.