Teach Yourself Japanese
Subject: Re: counters
From: TAKASUGI Shinji (tssf.airnet.ne.jp)
Date: Mon, 09 Dec 2002 01:43:04 GMT
> My question is this: if you are counting a part of an animate object would you use the counter for that that object (either for humans or animals) or would you use the inanimate because that seperate part itself can not have essence?
Use an inanimate counter for a part of the body of an animate.
人間には 耳が 2個 ある。 A human has two ears.
人間には 指が 20本 ある。 A human has twenty digits (fingers and toes).
Since a digit is a long inanimate object, the counter 本 is used.
Although I have shown the human counter 人, the animate counter 匹, and the inanimate counter 個 as the three basic counters, there are two other counters that can't be replaced by the three basic counters - the body counter 体, which is used to count dead bodies and robots, and the machine counter 台, which is used to count large machines.
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