Pronouncing hundred


i just started Genki one and i am really confused how to seperate or when to use the different hundred types

i mean:
百 = ひやく
三百 = さんびゃく
六百 = ろっぴゃく really don’t get this one with the six. why not ろくびゃく? the same goes for
八百 = はっぴゃく

can anyone explain this differences to me? cause I thought the numbers were easy at first but now I am really confused on how to pronounce them or write in hiragana for that matter


Some numbers are exceptions, it’s not a constant formula. Hence the diacritical marks. You just have to learn those by heart.

No real answer to this I’m afraid (as far as I’m aware) - it’s just how it is. I guess it’s like asking why we don’t say oneteen and twoteen in English. You’ve just got to memorize it.


Try and say ろくびゃく quickly and see what happens


The main reason is that it’s just easier to say stuff like ろっぴゃく and はっぴゃく than it is to say ろくひゃく and はちひゃく. Same for さんぜん instead of さんせん or はっせん instead of はちせん. You start to notice the pattern crop up a lot, particularly in numbers.

You do also get stuff like がっこう「学校」 instead of がくこう which would be what you’d expect from combining the two kanji 学「がく」and 校「こう」. The Japanese basically figured that having two seperate k sounds one after the other was stupid, so they combined them into a doubled consonant.

Linguistically, this is known as euphony:

  • The quality of being pleasing to the ear.
  • The tendency to make phonetic change for ease of pronunciation.

Read up a bit on rendaku! These aren’t really exceptional, and are not without a pattern. Rendaku happens in so, so many words.


As I’ve gone on, it’s become much easier to guess what gets rendaku’d. It’s just started to feel and sound right sometimes. I’d just do your best to memorize it for now, and not worry too much beyond that because it’ll probably get easier for you too as you go. At worst, I think most people could figure out what you meant if you accidentally said ろくひゃく rather than ろっぴゃく, etc.


It’s probably just a typo, but this should be ひゃく

You will start to notice this is a pattern with many counters. 1, 3, and 6 + counter often change their pronunciation, and it’s fairly predictable how this will happen, but at first when you’re not familiar with the language you’ll just have to memorize it. There are linguistic reasons behind these changes which are interesting, and actually make them predictable, but if you’re not looking to go down that rabbit hole, it will just take some extra effort to memorize them.

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yeah. sometimes I use wk on my phone and it happens.

thx everyone those where some really great reply’s. I will look into rendaku but for now just memorize everything. just started learning about 6 weeks ago so it probably gets easier

thanks everyone

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