Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Counting in Japanese!

Picture from

Our best friends are Japanese and children are little language sponges. So it was no surprise to me when my kids asked how to count in Japanese. This cute little YouTube video was a wonderful introduction to counting in Japanese. My kids both sing along and even on their own. But there is something way more interesting about counting in Japanese than the superior language-acquisition skills of young is the math learning that counting in Japanese affords us.

Not long after learning to count from one to ten in Japanese, Mikey asked how to count to twenty. So I did a little internet homework and learned that knowing to count to ten means you know how to count to 100.

1 - ichi
2 - ni
3 - san
4 - yon
5 - go
6 - roku
7 - nana
8 - hachi
9 - kyu
10 - ju

Get this: eleven is ju-ichi! (10 + 1), twelve is ju-ni (10 + 2), and so on until you get to twenty, ni-ju (2x10). Twenty one is then ni-ju-ichi (2x10 + 1).

Maybe it is the algebra teacher in me but the Japanese representation of numbers is so powerful!! I can hardly contain my excitement for using Japanese counting as a reference for helping Mikey and Anna with their math learning.

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