Counting Small Animals in Japanese

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How to Count in Japanese – Part Three – Review Notes

There are many ways to count things in Japanese depending on the type of object being counted! Today we will learn how to count small animals in Japanese!

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Today’s Counter is: 匹

 You can use the Japanese counter 匹 (ひき – hiki) to count small animals!

 When counting small animals, all of the numbers end in -hiki except the number 3 (which ends in -biki) and the numbers 1, 6, 8, and 10 (which end in -piki)

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Number 1:

 The Japanese word for one (small animal) is 一匹 (いっぴき – ippiki).

 Be careful! The ending sound changes to a p-sound in the number one; 一匹 is not spoken as (いちひき – ichihiki)!

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Number 2:

 The Japanese word for two (small animals) is 二匹 (にひき – nihiki).

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Number 3:

 The Japanese word for three (small animals) is 三匹 (さんびき – sanbiki).

★ Be careful! 三匹 does not follow the normal pattern and is not spoken as (さんひき – sanhiki)!

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Number 4:

 The Japanese word for four (small animals) is 四匹 (よんひき – yonhiki).

 Be careful! Although can be pronounced either よん (yon) or し (shi), cannot be pronounced しひき (shihiki).

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Number 5:

 The Japanese word for five (small animals) is 五匹 (ごひき – gohiki).

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Number 6:

 The Japanese word for six (small animals) is 六匹 (ろっぴき – roppiki).

 Be careful!  does not follow the normal pattern and is not pronounced as ろくひき (rokuhiki).

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Number 7:

 The Japanese word for seven (small animals) is 七匹 (ななひき – nanahiki).

 Be careful! Although can be pronounced either しち (shichi) or なな(nana), 七匹 cannot be pronounced しちひき (shichihiki).

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Number 8:

 The Japanese word for eight (small animals) is 八匹 (はっぴき – happiki).

 Be careful! 八匹 does not follow the normal pattern and is not pronounced as はちひき (hachihiki).

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Number 9:

 The Japanese word for nine (small animals) is 九匹 (きゅうひき – kyuuhiki).

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Number 10:

 The Japanese word for ten (small animals) is 十匹 (じゅっぴき – juppiki).

 Be careful! 十匹 does not follow the normal pattern and is not pronounced as じゅうひき (jūhiki).

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Exceptions:

 Generally, the counter 匹 (hiki) is used for counting small animals, such as cats and dogs. However, not all animals are counted using .

 Rabbits and birds are counted using a different counter, 羽 (wa).

 Large animals, such as horses or cows, are usually counted using the counter 頭 (tō)

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Counting Past 10:

 To count more than 10 small animals, refer to the numbers below. Same as with other types of Japanese counting, try to notice the pattern! (11 is 10 and 1, 12 is 10 and 2, etc.)

   十一    11    jūippiki

   十二    12    jūnihiki

   十三    13    jūsanbiki

   十四    14    jūyonhiki

   十五    15    jūgohiki

   十六    16    jūroppiki

   十七    17     jūnanahiki

   十八    18     jūhappiki

   十九    19     jūkyūhiki

   二    20    nijuppiki

   二十一   21     nijūippiki

   二十二   22    nijūnihiki

   二十三   23    nijūsanbiki

   二十四   24    nijūyonhiki

   二十五   25    nijūgohiki

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Example Sentence 1:

3匹飼っています。

Neko o sanbiki katteimasu.

I own three cats.

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Example Sentence 2:

あそこに犬2匹います。

Asoko ni inu ga nihiki imasu.

There are two dogs over there.

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Example Sentence 3:

六匹釣りました。

Sakana o roppiki tsurimashita.

I caught six fish.

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Test Time!

Question:

何匹いますか?
Inu wa nanbiki imasu ka?
How many dogs are there?

Answer:

二匹います。
Inu ga nihiki imasu.
There are two dogs.

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Question:

何匹いますか?
Neko wa nanbiki imasu ka?

How many cats are there?

Answer:

三匹います。
Neko ga sanbiki imasu.
There are three cats.

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Question:

たぬき何匹いますか?
Takuki wa nanbiki imasu ka?
How many racoons are there?

Answer:

たぬき五匹います。
Tanuki ga gohiki imasu.
There are five raccoons.

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Question:

ハムスター何匹いますか?
Hamusutā wa nanbiki imasu ka?
How many hamsters are there?

Answer:

ハムスター九匹います。
Hamusutā ga kyūhiki imasu.
There are nine hamsters.

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Conclusion:

Today we learned how to count small animals in Japanese! Next time we will learn more ways to count different things in Japanese so please look forward to it!

Do you know how to count flat, thin objects? Click here to find out!

Do you know how to count people? Click here to find out!

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Do you want a Japanese tutor?

Take Japanese Skype Lessons with Professional Japanese Teachers on kakehashijapan.com!

Find Your Japanese Tutor!

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