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 09:40 PM.