Dealing with “Asian Numbers”

I started school just yesterday, everything is fine and I actually haven’t started to study yet, I have to meet new teachers so I still can consider myself a free girl. Usually I wake up really really early in the morning, I am really slow and I prefer to do things without rush. Said that, I usually am ready to at 7.30, it’s a pity that school starts at 8.30 ^^` A whole hour for myself, what to do? Personally during exams time I use this time to review subjects but since I had nothing to do for today I decided to review some Korean and Japanese!

Since I started I always had problems with numbers, in every language I’ve studied. Numbers are a very simple thing, it’s beginner level but for me it has always been difficult, not memorizing them but use them in everyday life. Sometimes I would pick up my phone and say out loud the numbers in my contact list but sometimes it’s not enough, especially with Asian counting systems.

after some time you can get used to it but, in my modest opinion, Asian languages(Japanese, Korean and Chinese, I can’t speak for the others because I don’t know about them unfortunately) have a particular relationship with numbers. I am talking about counters, and dual number system things..

Both Korean and Japanese have 2 counting system, and one of them is based  on the Chinese numbers.

I actually love studying Chinese because of this too… You know, this connection between these languages, it’s what keeps me motivated, and also because it’s beautiful! 

Back to the numbers…

    Chinese                  Korean            Japanese

一 yī                          일   il                 一  ichi

二 èr                         이   i        二  ni  

三  sān                      삼  sam           三  san

四  sì                         사  sa                四  yon\shi 

五  wǔ                       오  o                  五  go

六  liù                       육  yuk               六  roku

七  qī                        칠  chil               七  nana\shichi

八  bā                       팔  pal            八  hachi

九  jiǔ                       구  gu                 九  kyuu\kuu

十  shí                      십  sip       十  juu  

Of course languages evolve but you can see an obvious connection between these three languages. I wondered about this all the morning  at school :

If they already had their own numbers why to adapt a language to another one?

And, How to use them? Are there specific rules  or motivations to use one instead of the other?

The first one can be easily answered looking through an history book, or a Wikipedia page if you prefer. I think we could say that Chinese people were to Asia what Romans were for Europe, no matter what, the influence is visible. I don’t know it this comparison can work, but Chinese left its mark around! At a certain point the populations who had commercial or political relationships with China had to adapt to deal with Chinese and its writing, that’s how it worked. I recall I watched a episode of 日本人の知らない日本語 about this matter but I really can’t remember which one…

The second one is more difficult, because after hours and hours on the Internet I couldn’t find a proper answer>< I got that usually Native numbers are mostly used with things that express a ordinal usage, but I am not that sure of it and I am almost sure there are more exceptions than actual rules….

I am really sorry for this long and boring blog post, but this is basically how I demonstrate my love for languages, I don’t just learn them but I wanna go to the roots and understand more and more! 

Now I go, tomorrow I will have my first philosophy lesson and I am pretty nervous… wish me good luck! I hope you all will have a wonderful day!!~

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