The Chess Variant Pages



Enter Your Reply

The Comment You're Replying To
Garth Wallace wrote on 2009-12-14 UTC
To belatedly answer Charles Gilman's question about yo vs. yon: those lists of numbers in Japanese tend to gloss over a lot of things. Japanese actually has two full sets of numerals, one native and one originally borrowed from Chinese, but uses the same kanji for both (Japanese actually does this for a lot of things besides numbers: most kanji have both on-yomi, or Chinese readings, and kun-yomi, or Japanese readings, and may have more than one of each). The set used most commonly is the Sino-Japanese set: ichi, ni, san, shi, go, roku, shichi, hachi, kyuu, juu. In the modern language the native terms are more obscure (but do show up in certain restricted contexts, such as the 'tsu' counter and the first few counters for people) with the exception of 'yon' (4) and 'nana' (7), which are more or less interchangeable with the Sino-Japanese numerals when used stand-alone. In most kun-yomi compounds, though, the kanji meaning 4 appears as 'yo', sometimes doubling the following consonant (as in 'yottsu', 'four things'). I don't know the history of the language that well, but if I were to guess I'd say that 'yo' is the original form (or derived directly from the original form), and the '-n' was added just to the form that is used stand-alone and in compounds with on-yomi.

'Yon' is about as common as 'shi' (unlike most other numbers) because 'shi' is also an on-yomi for the kanji meaning 'die', and is therefore considered unlucky. This homophony was inherited when the kanji and their on-yomi were borrowed from Chinese, which has the same superstition about the number 4. Not sure why 'nana' is also an exception.

There is no kanji with the reading 'n'. All of them can function as a complete syllable. (Syllable-final 'n' in Japanese is sometimes referred to as 'syllabic N' but it really isn't, it just gets its own kana unlike the syllable-initial N, and makes the syllable long)

Edit Form

Comment on the page Yonin Shogi

Quick Markdown Guide

By default, new comments may be entered as Markdown, simple markup syntax designed to be readable and not look like markup. Comments stored as Markdown will be converted to HTML by Parsedown before displaying them. This follows the Github Flavored Markdown Spec with support for Markdown Extra. For a good overview of Markdown in general, check out the Markdown Guide. Here is a quick comparison of some commonly used Markdown with the rendered result:

Top level header: <H1>

Block quote

Second paragraph in block quote

First Paragraph of response. Italics, bold, and bold italics.

Second Paragraph after blank line. Here is some HTML code mixed in with the Markdown, and here is the same <U>HTML code</U> enclosed by backticks.

Secondary Header: <H2>

  • Unordered list item
  • Second unordered list item
  • New unordered list
    • Nested list item

Third Level header <H3>

  1. An ordered list item.
  2. A second ordered list item with the same number.
  3. A third ordered list item.

Alt text for a graphic image

A definition list
A list of terms, each with one or more definitions following it.
An HTML construct using the tags <DL>, <DT> and <DD>.
A term
Its definition after a colon.
A second definition.
A third definition.
Another term following a blank line
The definition of that term.