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## Japanese Journey 八 — Numbers, Counters

If you have learnt numbers in Chinese language, you will master numbers in Japanese language faster. The reason is that both languages use the same concepts: counting units change every four digits and the use of counters (quantifiers in Chinese language). The difference is the pronunciation. There is irregular pronunciation in Japanese language.

Let’s go to numbers starting from one hundred.

Counting units change every four digits

10,000 is ten thousand in Western countries, but Japanese language has a name for the unit: 万. Thus, 100,000 is one hundred thousand in Western countries, but it is 十万 (ten 万) in Japanese language.

The use of counters

English language: two books

Chinese language: 两

Japanese language: 二本, where 二 = 2, 冊 = the counter for book and 本 = book

Just like Chinese language, you need to keep learning so that you can get yourself familiar with the use of counters.

Lesson learnt

1. Do revision.

2. Keep learning.

## 两个二哥

When you hear your 6-year-old child says: “我有二个书包。”, do not panic. It is a common mistake for young children for not differentiating “二” and “两”.

The reason is simple, the usage of “二” and “两” depends on whether you are using it with 量词 or not and 量词 is a concept in Chinese Language that does not have an exact equivalent concept in English.

1. 二十四 = 24 (整数 = whole number)
2. 二百三十五 = 235 (整数 = whole number)
3. 一点二 = 1.2 (小数点 = decimal point)
4. 二哥 = the second brother
5. 第二名 = the second prize

1. 两支铅笔 = two pencils
2. 两只老虎 = two tigers
3. 两个二哥 = two second brothers

The famous 成语 that uses 两 as a unit of weight measurement is 半斤八两, which means two people or things that are the same or similar. It is because in old times, 半斤 is the same weight as 八两, only in different unit of weight measurement.

With the examples above, hopefully you know when to use 二 and when to use 两. Happy learning!