Japanese counter word. In Japanese, as in Chinese and Korean, numerals cannot quantify nouns by themselves (except, in certain cases, for the numbers from one to ten; see below).
For example, to express the idea "two dogs" in Japanese one must say 二匹の犬 ni hiki no inu (literally "dog of small-animal-count-two"). Here 犬 inu means "dog", 二 ni is the number 2, "の" "no" is a possessive particle, and 匹 hiki is the counter for small animals. These counters are not independent words and always appear with a number (or question word) before them. If the number is unknown, a question word is used, most often 何 nan, as in 何名様 nan-mei-sama "how many guests", or sometimes 幾 iku as in 幾晩 iku-ban "how many nights? ". よろしく (^O^) LETS LEARN JAPANESE.