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counters for classifications of people

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counters for classifications of people

Postby squarezebra » Fri 06.12.2009 4:48 am

Hi,
If you are using counters for classifications of people (eg Friends, or foreigners etc) is the pattern (x人) の(classification)?
For example, 二人の友達、三十人の外国人...

or am I simply barking up the wrong tree here, and there isnt really a set pattern as such.
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Re: counters for classifications of people

Postby keatonatron » Fri 06.12.2009 6:59 am

It's the same with all counters. Your "classifications of people" is really just normal nouns, with the "people" counter added on.

There are generally two ways to express numbers.

[number + counter]の[noun]

or

[noun]が/は/rest of sentence [number + counter] [verb]。

So, starting with a simple sentence like "I have two apples," you can follow the first pattern and use:

[私は]二個のリンゴを持っています。

Or the second and use:

[私は]りんごを二個持っています。

Using this for what you are asking, simply replace the counters and nouns:

二人の友達が待ってる。 (not 持ってる!)
友達が二人待ってる。

Things get a bit more complicated when you want to add extra stuff in, in which case the first way is much easier to understand. The second way seems to be more common than the first when used with short sentences.
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Re: counters for classifications of people

Postby squarezebra » Sat 06.13.2009 6:24 am

Thanks Keatronaton ...
That was really helpful :)
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Re: counters for classifications of people

Postby Dehitay » Mon 06.15.2009 11:29 pm

keatonatron wrote:[noun]が/は/rest of sentence [number + counter] [verb]。

This is new to me (either that or I completely forgot even hearing about it in my long absense from studying Japanese). Though now that I think about it, it does make sense if you compare it to an adverb.

But I was under the impression that the #+counter came right after the particle of the noun it was counting. So if I wanted to say "Two Canadians went to America", it would be (just now realized that I can't type in Japanese on this computer)
kanadajin wa amerika ni futari ikimashita
rather than
kanadajin wa futari amerika ni ikimashita
Actually, just looking at it, the former seems better, but I want to make sure since I've been assuming the latter was correct for a while now.
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Re: counters for classifications of people

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 06.15.2009 11:38 pm

Either of those sentences is fine; my instinct is to put the counter immediately after the ga/wa/o but it may depend on the exact context.
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Re: counters for classifications of people

Postby AJBryant » Tue 06.16.2009 4:28 am

The thing is, I wonder why all Canadians are the subject when only two of them went to America.

My initial response would be "futari no kanadajin wa amerika ni ikimashita."
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Re: counters for classifications of people

Postby NocturnalOcean » Tue 06.16.2009 5:13 am

AJBryant wrote:The thing is, I wonder why all Canadians are the subject when only two of them went to America.

My initial response would be "futari no kanadajin wa amerika ni ikimashita."


Yep this is definitely the way to go.
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Re: counters for classifications of people

Postby keatonatron » Tue 06.16.2009 5:48 am

Dehitay wrote:kanadajin wa amerika ni futari ikimashita


AJBryant wrote:The thing is, I wonder why all Canadians are the subject when only two of them went to America.


Well, this sentence should actually be カナダ人が and not カナダ人は.

With the way it is above, the meaning is closer to "As for the Canadians, well, only two of them went."

If you change it to カナダ人が, it's not all Canadians that are the subject :wink:
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Re: counters for classifications of people

Postby NocturnalOcean » Tue 06.16.2009 6:07 am

keatonatron wrote:
Dehitay wrote:kanadajin wa amerika ni futari ikimashita


AJBryant wrote:The thing is, I wonder why all Canadians are the subject when only two of them went to America.


Well, this sentence should actually be カナダ人が and not カナダ人は.

With the way it is above, the meaning is closer to "As for the Canadians, well, only two of them went."

If you change it to カナダ人が, it's not all Canadians that are the subject :wink:


And why would using が change if it is all candians or not?

You would still have to use 二人のカナダ人がアメリカに行きました for it to sound nice in my ears.
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Re: counters for classifications of people

Postby keatonatron » Tue 06.16.2009 7:07 am

NocturnalOcean wrote:And why would using が change if it is all candians or not?


Because that's one of the uses of は-- it is used to talk about universal truths.

リンゴは赤です means "Apples are red." whereas リンゴが赤です means "The apple is red."
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Re: counters for classifications of people

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 06.16.2009 9:32 am

NocturnalOcean wrote:You would still have to use 二人のカナダ人がアメリカに行きました for it to sound nice in my ears.


Are you just talking about this specific example or are you saying that in general, X wa/ga/o + counter + verb is bad?
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Re: counters for classifications of people

Postby NocturnalOcean » Tue 06.16.2009 9:36 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
NocturnalOcean wrote:You would still have to use 二人のカナダ人がアメリカに行きました for it to sound nice in my ears.


Are you just talking about this specific example or are you saying that in general, X wa/ga/o + counter + verb is bad?


Just for this example.

I mean, 切符を二枚買う and similar structures are perfectly fine.
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