JLPT N5 Kanji – 二, ni, two

This is 5 Minute Kanji, and today we are going to go over another simple kanji, the kanji for two.

Mnemonic:

There is a woman who is known for her TWO large FUTAs, by which I mean owls. All you Nied to know is that she will smack anyone WHO TATSU them. So hands off!

Onyomi:


ni

Kunyomi:

ふた、ふた.つ
futa, futatsu

If you recall from our previous lesson on the kanji for one, the onyomi or Chinese pronunciation is used to count up in Japanese. However, ふたつ, the kunyomi or Japanese pronunciation, is used as a generic counter for objects that don’t have a specific counter.

Mnemonic Factory

For the looks of the kanji, again it is as simple as the kanji for one. You can think of it as two swords or two fingers. Just remember the two strokes form a slight pyramid. The stroke on top is slightly shorter in length than the one on the bottom.

For the reading, there are several ways you can work in the onyomi ni. We can imagine two NI-edles, or a man named NEil that you know. Or even two KNEEs. For the kunyomi or Japanese pronunciation, it can be a little tougher. For FUTA, we have hooter for an owl, nose, or another piece of anatomy. For FUTATSU, you can use WHO TATSU, as in who touch or who taught you. Or even Who has that many tattoos?

Example Words

Let’s look at some examples where this kanji is used.

Onyomi
For onyomi, we have for two. But, as I said in the last video, the kanji is rarely written for counting, but can be used in formal documents, like awards or legal documents. It will sometimes be written in jukugo, or kanji compounds though, like 二月にがつ, for February. Although, even that will often be written with the Arabic numeral.

Kunyomi
For kunyomi, a common word is 二人ふたり, two people. Again here, the kanji for person has an irregular pronunciation for this kanji compound. It’s usually read as じん or にん. This compound 二人ふたり and 一人ひとり are the only two common words that use this reading.

We also have the generic counter ふたつ, like ひとつ, it is used to count objects that don’t have a specific counter or that you forgot which counter to use. You should use the specific counter for objects if it has one, but being able to fall back on these generic counters is useful.

Irregular
Like the kanji for one, the kanji for two has an irregular pronunciation for day of the month. We say ふつか, and not ににち for the second day of the month. You’ll find this in another useful compound – 二日酔いふつかよい, hungover, literally two days drunk.

Story Review

Can you remember the story from the beginning? Let’s give it a try, and yell out the words that are missing.

There is a woman who is known for her ___ large ____s, by which I mean owls. All you __ed to know is that she will smack anyone ___ _____ them. So hands off!

Were you perfect? Let’s give it another try.

There is a woman who is known for her ___ large ____s, by which I mean owls. All you __ed to know is that she will smack anyone ___ _____ them. So hands off!

Word Review

Can you read these? Hover over them to see the proper reading.

二つ
二月
二人
二日

That’s it for the kanji for two. Be sure to visit the Courses site to download the kanji practice sheet, which will walk you through how to remember this kanji’s reading and help you use it well.

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below. If you’d like to learn more kanji, hit the subscribe button. Also be sure to check out my other 5 Minute Kanji videos.

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