At the Restaurant (4)
Click here for the dialogue for "At the Restaurant."
Counting people and things
"Nin" is used for counting people, though one person and two persons are irregular.
"How many people" is "nannin" or sometimes "nanmei". "Nanmei-sama" in the sample dialogue is very polite. The waiter or waitress often use it.
"Sama" is a title of respect to address people. It can be attached to the family name, the given name or the full name. It is more polite than "san", though it is rarely used in casual conversation. It is used with the name of the addressee on a letter and also when addressing a customer.
|Kouen ni kodomo ga gonin imasu.
|There are five children in the park.|
|Gakusei wa nannin imasu ka.
|How many students are there?|
Native Japanese numbers are used for counting things. "Ikutsu" is "how many."
|Koohii o futatsu kudasai.
|Two coffee, please.|
|Kanji o ikutsu oboemashita ka.
|How many kanji did you remember?|
There is another way to count things by using a counter. The Japanese uses a variety of counters to count objects, often on the basis of their shapes.