Question about the counting systems and the rendaku

Recently, I looked up some grammar about the different counting systems for objects, animals, etc. the language has. I noticed that there were some exceptions for certain numbers.

As an example, if you count long cylindrical things, you use the number and ほん, so 2 pieces would be にほん.
But there are some exceptions with the numbers 1,3 6,8,10. I guess these numbers get rendaku`d, so 1 is いっぽん, 3 is さんぼん, etc.

I read the article about the rendaku, hoping that I would understand the reason behind it, but I got more confused afterward.
I also looked at the other counting words like さつ (for books), ひき (small animals) and noticed that in most of the cases the numbers 1,3,6,8,10 will get a rendaku.

Why is that so and if 3(さん )will get one, why wouldn`t 4(よん) get one? Is it just because of the pronunciation?

1 Like

Maybe this article might help you further along:

There are also some more articles on special counters, but this is the basic one. I hope they address all of your questions :slight_smile:


This article is really helpful. Thank you so much for the link.
I feel dumb now because the solution was kind of right before me. Thank you for taking the time.


No worries, sometimes asking questions and sometimes helping others is what these forums are for :slight_smile:


Nothing to be ashamed of. It takes wisdom to know when to ask for help. We all can’t know everything especially when we are all learning. :grinning:


Wikipedia also has a pretty good article on counters, which even has a section on how they rendaku.


You are right, that looks pretty useful too, thank you very much for the link.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.