Counting Japanese Number, How to Call 4, 7 Quite Wired 日本語で4と7を数える時の変な決まりごと

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Oct 8, 2012 22:11 how to count 数え方 number 数字 English Japanese 話題 学習 日本語 英語 勉強 topic study learn
Hi, everyone!
yesterday morning, I had caught up in preparing for a short trip on work. So I had no time to spare adding full Japanese text on my journal in English and it was already past midnight when I returned home.
Just now I've translated my previous post into Japanese for those who are learning Japanese. Please have a look at it!

Okay, here comes to the main subject.
The other day, I gave a suggestion on a journal entry in Japanese written by an Japanese learner who is an American woman. She was practicing Japanese numeric characters like the following.

一 いち
二 に
三 さん
四 よん

So, I gave her another way to read for 四, advising as:

"四 よん (or し is also available)"
"Nothing wrong to say よん. It's just an another way to call it."

And then she commented me back with the text as below.

"Now then, I was told that I shouldn't use し for 4, because it is rude... or has a bad meaning."

My answer is:
Oh, I believe it is totally not rude to call 四 as し! I assume what the person said to you before could be about the sound that has itself. Yes, it's true that there may be some cases to refrain from saying し. Because how to say like し possibly reminds us of the death, which is written as 死 in kanji and called as し. Even if it's so, it never sound offensive or wrong. In fact many Japanese people use し in their daily activity.

Thank you for giving me an opportunity to think about the matter.
Before writing this comment, I run over some different websites to make my explanation sure^^
Hope that helps!

I am just now thinking that I will bring up this matter on my journal entry today to deal with a bit deeper again.

Speaking of how to count the number, there are weird things about "4" and "7."
When reading the number from 1 to 4 as starting with a small figure, we say いち、に、さん、し (or よん), ご. But it comes to the case of reading from a big figure, we normally say ご、よん、さん、に, いち. Exclusively in this case, we never say ご、し、さん... We call 4 as よん, but not し.
Likewise, you can say about 7 as well. It's OK to call 7 as both なな and しち, when you read them from a small figure. Meanwhile, when starting with a large figure, you can only say なな for 7. In usual you can't say しち in this case.

し、ご、ろく、なな(or しち)、はち...
はち、なな(usually can't say しち)、ろく、ご...

Yeah, it's really strange (@o@)


一 いち
二 に
三 さん
四 よん

"四 よん (または、「し」という読み方も出来ます)"




Oops, Sorry, I have to go now. So please wait for the full Japanese transcription for a while! Thank you for reading!