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Lesson Transcript

Do you know how to count objects in Japanese? In Japanese, special counters are used to count different things. The counters depends on the shape or the characteristics of the objects. In this lesson, you are going to learn the general counter つ (tsu) such as ひとつ、ふたつ、みっつ。 (Hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu.) . For example, I have some candies here. How do you think we count these in Japanese? 一つ、二つ、三つ、四つ、五つ、六つ、七つ、八つ、九つ、十。 (Hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu, yottsu, itsutsu, muttsu, nanatsu, yattsu, kokonotsu, tō.) つ (tsu) is a counter which can be used for generic objects but look at 十 (jū ) is not used here. つ (tsu) is only used for 1 through 9. These set of words doesn’t follow any kind of pattern and must be memorized. So now let’s practice. Repeat after me. ひとつ、ふたつ、みっつ、よっつ、いつつ、むっつ、ななつ、やっつ、ここのつ、とお。 (Hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu, yottsu, itsutsu, muttsu, nanatsu, yattsu, kokonotsu, tō.) Now it’s time for Hiroko’s tip. I am going to teach you a secret song for memorizing this counting system. ひい、ふう、みい、よ、いつ、む、なな、や、ここの、とお。 (Hī, fū, mī, yo, itsu, mu, nana, ya, kokono, tō.) Okay let’s practice now. Here I have some objects. How would you count these objects in Japanese? ひとつ、ふたつ、みっつ、よっつ。 (hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu, yottsu.) So the answer is よっつ。 (yottsu.) ひとつ、ふたつ、みっつ。 (hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu.) So now we have みっつ。 (mittsu.) but I am going to eat one now. So now ひとつ、ふたつ。 (hitotsu, futatsu.) So it became ふたつ。 (futatsu.) . In the next lesson, you are going to learn more counters. See you next time.

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JapanesePod101.com
Friday at 6:30 pm
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Hi everyone!

Now you can count objects up until 10! Try counting some items around you 😄

Zrinka
November 16th, 2017 at 2:51 am
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@Mark, the small tsu っ is used as a slight pause and a bit prolonged sound of the first letter that follows. so thats why there are two tt o.o

Mark
November 6th, 2017 at 9:27 am
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I think I figured out the answer to my previous comment regarding the extra “t” in the following counters. In the Hirangana Column should there be and extra character as I posted below?

mittsu  みっつ
yottsu よっ​つ
muttsu むっつ
yattsu や っつ

Mark
November 6th, 2017 at 8:57 am
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mittsu
yottsu
muttsu
yattsu

In the lesson notes, there seems to be an extra “t” in these words. Is that correct?

August 23rd, 2017 at 10:04 am
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Gabriele-san konnichiwa,

Thank you for your comment.
Good point! Unfortunately you cannot use -tsu for 11 and more objects.
Instead, you can use -ko, which is introduced in the next lesson!

Hope this helps,
Motoko
Team JapanesePod101.com

August 23rd, 2017 at 10:01 am
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Dirk-san konnichiwa,

Thank you for your comment.
You can say
[item you want] o mittsu kudasai. “I’ll take 3 [item you want].”
If you want different three items, you can say
[item1] to [item2] to [item3] o kudasai.
For more details, Newbie series Season 2 Lesson 6 introduces this pattern!
https://www.japanesepod101.com/lesson/newbie-lesson-s2-6-nihongo-dojo-style-you-and-beyond-6/

As for money, we use ‘en (えん).’ When you count coins and notes, you need to use other counter, -mai, but you can use this counter as well.

Hope this helps,
Motoko
Team JapanesePod101.com

July 14th, 2017 at 12:44 pm
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Hi Joe,

Yes, sandwiches can be quite cheap to buy in Japan especially in コンビニ (convenience stores), which are local supermarkets like stores. They are often sold for about 200 yen!

Piers
Team JapanesePod101.com

Joe
June 24th, 2017 at 5:21 am
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Are sandwiches really that cheap in Japan?

Gabriele
January 31st, 2017 at 6:32 pm
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Hi, thanks for this lesson.

I have a question: now we can count general things from 1 to 10, but what if there are 11 or more objects?

Thank you in advance.

Dirk
December 7th, 2016 at 11:20 pm
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Could you please give me a Japanese example sentence like I want to buy three things? Do we need any particle? Do we count money as well this way?

July 5th, 2016 at 5:17 pm
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Starr san,
Konnichiwa.😄
Tsu is a general counter.
However, we have many counters so you should use them if you can.
Yuki 由紀
Team JapanesePod101.com