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If you've ever tried to learn to speak another language, you'll know that there are easy ways and hard ways to learn. One of the best ways to try is to incorporate something you "do' with something you "say". Not only is this a lot more fun than just repeating things over and over but doing an action as well as speaking helps you remember things more quickly.

For example, below are some ideas about how to remember the numbers one to ten in Japanese. Even if you have never done it before, you should be able to easily work out pretty good pronunciation and meaning. Practice by saying the words and doing the movements at the same time until you think you know them. When you think you have mastered the numbers 1-10, have a look at the bottom of the page for how to count even higher!

Ichi - easy to remember as 'itchy' - Scratch your knee to get ready for number 2...

Ni- transition from one 'knee' - keep scratching your knee

San - pronounced like 'sun' - make a circular sun in the sky with your hands

Shi - sounds like 'she' - indicate a girls hair by brushing your hands down the sides of your head

Go - pronounced like you would expect - point as though telling someone to leave

Roku - similar to 'rock' although with an 'oo' sound at the end - fold your arms as though you are holding a baby and rock them

Nana - pronounced just like you would for your grandmother - pretend you are walking with a cane

Hachi - sounds like a sneeze but with 'chi' on the end instead of 'choo' - pretend you are sneezing

Kyuu - sounds like 'queue' - stand in a line

Jyuu - pronounced like 'dew' - cup your hand to hold the dew

Counting past 10
Luckily Japanese is very regular and, when you get past ten, all you have to do is follow this simple formula:

10&1, 10&2, 10&3 etc
juu ichi, juu ni, juu san etc

20 - 99
2&10, 2&10&1, 5&10&6, 8&10&8, 9&10&9
ni juu, ni juu ichi, go juu roku, hachi juu hachi, kyuu jyuu kyuu

Have you got them all? Test yourself by writing the numbers one to nine on pieces of paper and putting them face down in front of you. Pick up two pieces of paper and say the number they make when they are put together. To really test yourself, say the two individual numbers and then the two possible combination numbers.

Example: You pick up 3 and 5
You say san (3), go (5), san juu go (35), go juu san (53)

Keep practicing and you will soon have mastered 1 to 99.