assimilation of numbers and counters

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Languagelearner123456

Senior Member
English-UK
So I know that there are excpetions to how counters are pronounced depending on what number they are used with. My question is do the hard pronunciations not change?

Example:isshuu-one week
ichiji-one hour

Doumoarigatougozaimasu
 
  • frequency

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    isshuu-one week
    ichiji-one hour
    The difference between them? Irregular. I recommend you memorise a lot of examples, because it's faster than wonder why they're so.
    But you know, easier pronunciation is chosen:
    Ichi-ko(一個):arrow:Ikko
    Ichi-shū(一週、一周):arrow:isshū

    Try speaking "ittuji" (いっじ), not ichiji. It's got harder conversely.:D
     

    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    there are excpetions to how counters are pronounced depending on what number they are used with
    It depends on the fact that some numbers end with an unstressed syllable formed by a stop consonant and an "i" or "u". In these cases, when the following counter begins with a voiceless stop or an "s" (note that in Old and Middle Japanese "h" was pronounced "p" [ɸ], so it counts as a stop, and sometimes it has become, intervocalically, w, like in the particle は), the vowel was dropped and the two sounds merged. It happens also with (it was pronounced zipu in Middle Japanese). The process is very regular.

    h (p in Middle Japanese):
    一 => iti + pai > itpai > ippai
    六 => roku + pai > rokpai > roppai
    八 => pati + pai > patpai > happai
    十 => zipu + pai > zippai > jippai
    百 => hyaku + pai > hyakpai > hyappai

    with a preceding n it becomes b:
    三 => san + pai > sambai
    千 => sen + pai > sembai
    万 => man + pai > mambai

    common counters with h are hai, hon, hiki, hako 杯,匹,本,箱.

    w assimilates with 六, 八, 十. A common counter is wa 話 (for example roppa).
    w becomes b after 三 千 万. A common counter is wa 話 (for example samba).

    Other letters don't change after n.
    k assimilates after 一, 六, 八, 十. Common counters are ko, ken, kai  個,軒,階 (for example ikko).
    s assimilates after 一, 六, 八, 十. Common counters are satsu, shū 冊,週 (for example issatsu).
     
    Last edited:

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    十 => zipu + pai > zippai > jippai
    The pronunciation was extremely unpopular already in the last century. The assimilated form of now is juppai by analogy of more regular numbers such as roku v. rop (as in roppai).

    A common counter is wa 話 (for example roppa).
    This depends on the vocabulary. While wa written 話 never changes pronunciation, wa witten 把 and 羽 follow the assimilation rule. But the assimilation is not mandatory, at least in some cases; e.g., rokuwa no usagi, or six rabbits, is not unheard of.
     

    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    While wa written 話 never changes pronunciation, wa witten 把 and 羽 follow the assimilation rule.
    Hi, Flaminius.
    Is the reason why 話 is always pronounced [wa] the fact that this is a kan'yōon reading?
    Is it possible that it was never pronounced [ɸa] in Middle Japanese?
    Do you know the historical pronunciation of this word and its diachronical changes?
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    Pronouncing 話 as [wa] is derived from the standard Middle Chinese pronunciation, which was [ɣwai] or [wai] according to this database. It is safe to say that 話 was pronounced わ from the time it was first introduced to Japanese.
     
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