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Old 08-30-2009, 08:37 PM   #2
Josh Reyer
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Location: Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 644
Re: Using "Yon" instead of "Shi"

The pronunciation yon comes from the native Japanese word for four: yo or yotsu. It's believed it came into use as a way to avoid the bad luck of the shi pronunciation; in kanji cultures the word for four (shi in Japanese) and the word for death sound too close for comfort.

Generally, in counting things, yon is used, while shi is used in on-yomi (Chinese pronunciation) compounds. For example, "April" is Shigatsu ("four month") while "four months" is yonkagetsu. There are, of course, always exceptions.

Last edited by Josh Reyer : 08-30-2009 at 08:40 PM.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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