TIL: Pimsleur 1-7, and Human Japanese Ch:9

Silly me, I decided to take my gym bag home from work over the weekend so that I could wash my clothes. I managed to leave my mp3 player out in a place where my 1 year old was able to get his hands on it, and before I knew it he was banging it around the inside of a pot. It only plays out of one ear now. So I guess I’m going to use my phone from now on when at the gym.

Pimsleur Lesson 7:

I’ve been kind of cheating with these. As you know, I listen to them at the gym, and I think I’m picking it up alright. But I’ve been reviewing by looking at Susan’s notes over here.

    ここで – here at this location
    ここでたべます。 – I’m going to eat here.
    どこで – which location
    あそかで – that location
    レストラン – restaurant
    レストランで – at the restaurant
    レストランはどこですか。 – where is the restaurant?
    なに – what
    なにか – something
    ビール – beer
    さけ – sake
    お酒をのみますか。- I’m going to drink sake. (In this case, sake is written with kanji!)
    ほしです – I want
    ほしくありません – I don’t want
    お酒がほしです。 – I want sake.
    どこでたべますか。- Where will you eat?
    いま – now
    あとで – later
    いいです – All right / Ok.
    いいですね – It’s ok, right?
    いいですか – Is that ok?
    わかりませんか – you don’t know?

While I haven’t been focusing on kanji at all yet, I think it’s a good idea to get started when it comes to numbers. Numbers are generally not written in hiragana just as numbers in English are generally not spelled out. ななじゅうなな would be as annoying as seventy-seven. That said, numbers seem like a deceptively in-depth topic to cover. While I’m going to just focus on the basics that are covered in this chapter of Human Japanese tonight, I’ve already got a second resource lined up to go through soon. Though I think I’ll wait to review it until I start learning the dates.

The Numbers:


Human Japanese Chapter 9 actually has a great application for practicing listening to numbers.

1 いち  
3 さん The number 4 is considered to be an unlucky number, so gifts are never given in units of 4. It’s better to give 3 of something, than 4 of something.
4 よん
し is used more frequently. The Chinese word for four (四), sounds quite similar to the word for death (死), in many varieties of Chinese. Similarly, the Sino-Japanese, Sino-Korean, and Sino-Vietnamese words for four, shi (し, Japanese), and sa (사, Korean), sound similar or identical to death in each language.

In Japan, many apartment houses and parking lots skip 4. Many hotels skip the 13th floor, similar to some western hotels. There is also much wordplay involved such as 24 can become nishi, aka double death (ニ死) 42 can become shini, aka “death” or “to death” (死に) 43 can become shisan which sounds like shizan, aka stillbirth (死産) 45 can be shigo, or “after death” (死後).

5 Gifts are given in units of 5 as well, to avoid the number 4.
6 ろく  
7 なな
なな is used more frequently. I can’t really find a solid explanation as to why, but I’d assume it’s the same as with the number 4… people wish to avoid the word “shi”.

Like many countries throughout the world, Japan considers the number seven lucky. This is not imported, but steeped in the country’s religious traditions. Seven is an important number in Buddhism. Japanese Buddhists celebrate a baby’s seventh day and mourn the seventh day after a person dies when the soul is said to cross over.

In Japanese folklore there are the Shichifukuin (七福神 – the Seven Gods of Luck). Tanabata (七夕 – Evening of the Seventh) is an important summertime holiday that’s celebrated on July 7th (7/7). The number seven also makes many appearances in pachinko parlors and scratch tickets.

8 はち Although slightly less well-known, eight is also a lucky number. This is due to its shape – 八. Called suehirogari (末広がり), it’s lucky because it widens at the bottom which reminds one of prosperity and growth.
9 きゅう
きゅう is used more frequently. く is generally skipped, especially in hospitals, due to the sound “ku” being associated with the word “to suffer” (「苦しむ」 “kurushimu”). 49 is considered to be an especially unlucky number as it is evocative of the phrase “To suffer until death.” (「死ぬまで苦しむ。」 “Shinu made kurushimu.”)
10 じゅう  

The easy thing, is once you have these numbers down, counting up to 99 is just a matter of stating combinations of the above numbers. 11, is just ten-one, or じゅういち twelve is じゅうに. よん and なな are used rather than their alternatives. 20 becomes にじゅう 30 becomes さんじゅう etc. Which when combined, you state numbers simply as にじゅうに for 22.

100 ひゃく  
150 ひゃくごじゅう 百五十  
200 にひゃく 二百  
300 さんびゃく 三百 notice the euphony
400 よんひゃく 四百  
500 ごひゃく 五百  
600 ろっぴゃく 六百 notice the euphony
700 ななひゃく 七百  
800 はっぴゃく 八百 notice the euphony
900 きゅうひゃく 九百  

There’s a couple of numbers there that stand out as slightly different. “san-hyaku” sounds wrong to the Japanese, and so they add ten-ten to it to change hya to bya. This is called euphony.

When we count over 999, we need a word for “thousand”. Some Euphony happens here as well.

1000 せん  
2000 にせん 二千
3000 さんぜん 三千 notice the euphony
4000 よんせん 四千
5000 ごせん 五千
6000 ろくせん 六千
7000 ななせん 七千
8000 はっせん 八千 notice the euphony
9000 きゅうせん 九千

In the western world, we decided early on to separate things into groups of 3. 1,000,000,000 for example. In Japan, numbers get divided into groups of 4. 10,0000,0000 for example. This means that instead of 10,000 we end up with a new number 1,0000 :: better known as まん. For all numbers above まん, it is important to always specify a number in front of it, even if it’s just a one. いちまん not just まん.

1,0000 いちまん Notice that for 万, you don’t need to write 一 in front of the kanji.
2,0000 にまん 二万
3,0000 さんまん 三万
10,0000 じゅまん 十万
100,0000 ひゃくまん 百万
1000,0000 せんまん 千万
1,0000,0000 いちおく Notice that for 億, you don’t need to write 一 in front of the kanji.