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Thread: Plurals (plurality?) in Japanese

  1. #1
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    Default Plurals (plurality?) in Japanese

    Hi- I was wondering if the Japanese language has a general rule for dealing with more than one of an item, such as adding an "s" in English. (I know, it isn't consistent- hence mouse/mice, goose/geese, moose/moose.)

    So, would two sensei be senseis? Two dojo be dojos? (I know, I am anglicizing (sp?) words from one language that have been written in a foreign alphabet.)

    I am hoping that some folks here can shed light on this for me. I did do a search, and didn't come up with any results that answered my question. If there is already a thread that I missed, please share it.

    Thanks, and have a great day!

    Bob
    Bob Hartley
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    Disclaimer- any typographical, grammatical or spelling errors are my own responsibility, and may not be blamed on anybody else.

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    Without going crazy, the simple answer is that there is no plural form in Japanese like there is in English. When there is more than one, additional words or context indicate quantity.

    On the other hand, the examples you bring up are Japanese loan words in English so "Queensberry Rules" so to speak. As loan words they begin to partake of Englishness when used in English.

    So when speaking Japanese, there can only be "sensei", but in English there can be "senseis", probably, and most certainly are "dojos".
    Doug Walker
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    Doug,

    Does that mean in Japanese "There can only be one."?

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    Thank you, Mr. Walker.

    Mr. Yamamoto... sigh. :-)

    I had never heard the use of the term "loan words."
    Bob Hartley
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    Disclaimer- any typographical, grammatical or spelling errors are my own responsibility, and may not be blamed on anybody else.

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    No, there is no rule that I know.

    There are occasions in which you can add -ra or -tachi to make it explicit that you are talking about multiple people, but nothing springs to mind about things. When speaking of multiple things, you'll specify the number, or a vague 'several' or 'some tens' or 'twenty something' if you need to be more specific that you're talking about more than one thing.
    Lance Gatling ガトリング
    Tokyo 東京

    Long as we're making up titles, call me 'The Duke of Earl'

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaitenage View Post
    Hi- I was wondering if the Japanese language has a general rule for dealing with more than one of an item, such as adding an "s" in English. (I know, it isn't consistent- hence mouse/mice, goose/geese, moose/moose.)

    So, would two sensei be senseis? Two dojo be dojos? (I know, I am anglicizing (sp?) words from one language that have been written in a foreign alphabet.)

    I am hoping that some folks here can shed light on this for me. I did do a search, and didn't come up with any results that answered my question. If there is already a thread that I missed, please share it.

    Thanks, and have a great day!

    Bob
    there are japanese particles called counters that deal with this kind of thing. they're a horrible pain because there's around 20 billion different ones for all kinds of different things. there are counters for big animals, small animals, long objects, thin objects, flat objects, cars, etc.

    depending on what you are trying to say and how you want your sentence to be, if you were talking about two specific teachers you may just have to say XとY先生 (x to y sensei).
    Cory Burke
    ゴゴゴ!

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