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Rei or Zero? Yon or Shi? Shichi or Nana? Kyu or Ku?

Hanada Tattsu

Kouhai
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Well, there are a number of ways to say the numbers in Japanese, which do the people of Japan use more?

a) Rei or Zero?
b) Yon or Shi?
c) Nana or Shichi?
d) Kyu or Ku?

Thanks!
 

jspecdan

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A) Rei is more formal. If you're announcing a phone/fax number on TV, you might use Rei if a zero comes up. Zero is used to announce phone #s and what not, but it's more familiar.

B) I dunno, I use both.
C) Likewise
D) I use kyu cuz i always feel wrong when saying ku. just me.
 

Maciamo

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All are correct. Actually counting in Japanese in much more complicated than that, as there are dozens of counters. If you want to say "one", it could be : hitori (for people), ippiki (for some animals), ippon (long objects, bottles...), itchimai (falt things, pages...), issatsu (books), etc.

So for "4" in your list, you can say "yonin" (4 people), yonhon, yonmai, but shigatsu (month 4= April), etc. depedning on the counter.

To make things worse, Japanese often invent new pronuciation for numbers in ads on TV to make them easier to remember or more musical. So 0 can be read as "maru" (round), and 1717 could become "iina iina" (short for "itchi nana", but phonetically it means, "so good, so good"). Sometimes they say any number in English.

Maybe you should have a look at this site to learn some Japanese : http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~tx2h-mtok/jalearn.html

Or buy a book like "Japanese in 3 months" or basic grammar. They should explain the countig system.
 

avarame

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"Shi" is also the word for death, so it's avoided. I've read that sometimes hospitals and hotels will skip room number 4; in many ceremonies, great pains are taken to avoid the occurrence of sets of four. It's kinda like the Western "13" superstition but even bigger. So in some situations it's better to go with yon.
 

Maciamo

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Originally posted by avarame
"Shi" is also the word for death, so it's avoided. I've read that sometimes hospitals and hotels will skip room number 4; in many ceremonies, great pains are taken to avoid the occurrence of sets of four. It's kinda like the Western "13" superstition but even bigger. So in some situations it's better to go with yon.

Lot's of Japanese don't care so much about number 4 nowadays. I've been told to avoid presents by group of 4, etc. but nobody seem to care.

Koreans and Chinese have the same superstition. I've seen that buildings in Korea don't usually have a fourth floor (in the lift/elevator). I've never seen a building in Japan that "skipped" the 4t floor. Anyway that's plain stupid as the floor itself doesn't disappear. Besides, Europeans count from "0" (ground floor), but American, Japanese and Korean from "1", so that the 4th floor in Europe is the 5th in the US, Japan and Korea, and the 4th is these countries is thus the 3rd in Europe. But people who believe in superstitions aren't logical beings. :cautious:
 

Elizabeth

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Originally posted by Maciamo
But people who believe in superstitions aren't logical beings. :cautious: [/B]
No more logical really than the revulsion or recoil response supersitious people or ideas themselves often seem to bring out. The real logic it seems would forthrightly and and matter-of-factly reason out the advantages, disadvantages functions and puposes, etc of superstitious behavior -- just to appreciate without judgement why it is so persistant even in outwardly Western places like Japan, Hong Kong, China and Korea.
 
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