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Number Making in Japanese language / Numerous (suffixes, prefixes)


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Hi every one. Today I would like to talk about number making in Japanese. I assume that many of you are already know that there is no a certain way to say that a noun in Japanese sentence is in a plural/singular form. Although you can define the form due to context and due to special forms (suffixes, prefixes and etc.) that indicate it.

So, there are at least six ways to indicate plurality in Japanese language:

1. Repetition of nouns:

人々 [hitobito] - people

山々 [yamayama] - mountains

家々 [ieie] - houses

島々 [shimazima] - islands

木々 [kigi] - trees

枝々 [edaeda] - branches

店々 [misemise] - stores

神々 [kamigami] - deities

花々 [hanabana] - flowers

日々 [hibi] - days

世々 [yoyo] - generations; or 代々 [daidai] - means the same

町々 [machimachi] - towns

Note: you are supposed to use repetition only to those nouns I listed above

2. Suffixing:

-たち [tachi]

男の子たち [otoko no kotachi] - boys; 子供たち [kodomotachi] - children; 学生たち [gakuseitachi] - students; 私たち [wata****achi] - we

-ら [ra]

私ら [watashira] - we; 彼ら [karera] - they; こいつら [koitsura] - these guys; これら [korera] - these

ども [domo]

子供 [kodomo] - children; 鬼ども [onidomo] - demons; 犬ども [inudomo] - dogs; 私ども [watashidomo] - we

-がち [gachi]

先生がち [senseigachi] - teachers; 先輩がち [senpaigachi] - seniors; お客様がち [okyakusamagachi] - customers

3. Chinese prefixes:

-多 [ta]

多文化 [tabunka] - many cultures; 他民族 [taminzoku] - many races; 多方面 [tahoumen] - many directions; 多言語 [tagengo] - multiple languages

-諸 [syo]

諸物価 [syobukka] - many prices; 諸学問 [syogakumon] - many branches of learning; 諸制度 [syoseido] - many systems; 諸理論 [syoriron] - many theories; 諸大学 [syodaigaku] - various universities

4. Non-modified phrases:

いろいろな人 [iroirona hito] - various people; 様々な考え [samazama kangae] - many ideas; たくさんの魚 [takusan no sakana] - many fishes;

5. Predicates:

数/多い [kazu/ooi] - many; おびただしい [obitadashii] - innumerable; 数えきらない [kazoekirenai] - countless

Note: the predicates imply that the subject or direct object is plural: 情報サイトの数は数えきれない。[seihou saito no kazu wa kazoekirenai] - The number of imformation sites is countless.

6. Quantifier suffixes

-人 [nin] (put suffix 人 everytime you talk about a number of people)

日本語の学生が約100いる。 [nihongo no gakusei yaku hyakunin iru] - There are about a hundred students who learn Japanese

-匹 [hiki] - is used to count animals

ねずみが五いる。 [nezumi ga gohiki iru] - There are five mice

-冊 [satsu] - is used to count flat objects (i.e. books, sheets of paper, photos)

本を五買った [hon wo gosatsu katta] - I bought five books

There are really a lot of quantifier suffixes in Japanese language. If you want find out more about this topic, don`t hesitate leave a comment and I`ll try to find more for you. Have a nice weekend!

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Quite a helpful post. DO you mind if I print this out to use for study? Plurals have always been a weak point to my learning


Of course you can print this info. Later I`ll try post here some more information about number making in Japanese

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