Hi, I'd like to ask some questions regarding counters and question words.
First, I have a question concerning the following textbook sentence: Three slices of pizza please. Pizaを さんまい ください。 When I think about a slice of pizza, what first comes to my mind is some triangular shaped piece of pizza. But I think "Pizaを さんまい ください" literally translates to something like "3 flat pizza things, please" So couldn't that also mean 3 whole pizzas? And how can you differentiate between both? Is it context or some more advanced grammar?
Next, let's say we talk about a coin. You would use the nanmai counter, right? But let's imagine we would expand the coin. So it would slowly become thicker and at some point you would have a long cylindrical object. Now you would probably use the nanbon counter. But at which point do you switch? I know that's kind of theoretical but regarding real objects, when would you use which counter?
The last question is not about counters and probably not relly important but I'm still curious. It's about "nanijin"(for nationalities) and "nanji"(for time). In a different book I read, that it depends on what comes after nani whether you drop the "i" of nani or not. But in this case there is always "ji" after nani. However one time the "i" is droped and the other time it's not. So, I was wondering why that's the case.
I guess, that's about it. I hope i expressed myself understandably. Thank you in advance.
For example, there are three whole pizzas, which are sliced into 8 pieces, sold at a store. If you say ピザをさんまい、ください (PIZA O SAN-MAI KUDASAI), they will give you three slices of pizza, not three whole pizzas.
If I want to order three whole pizzas there, I would use the つ counter and maybe say ぜんぶ (ZENBU/all, whole) or まるごと (MARUGOTO/whole, wholly) to make my order clear.
このピザを３つ、ぜんぶください。(KONO PIZA O MITTSU ZENBU KUDASAI) = Please give me (all of) these three pizzas. (I would also point to them.)
ピザをまるごと、３つください。(PIZA O MARUGOTO MITTSU KUDASAI) = Please give me three whole pizzas.
They normally sell whole pizzas online in Japan just like America. There are three sizes (S, M and L). If you want to order one small pizza, you can say;
Ｓサイズのペペローニ・ピザを１つ、ください。(ESU SAIZU NO PEPEROONI PIZA O HITOTSU, KUDASAI) = One small pepperoni pizza, please.
2) The counter for coins
They use the NAN-BON counter for rolls of coins. One roll has 50 coins in Japan. A roll of quarters is $10.00, so there are 40 coins in a roll in America. It is less than Japanese coin rolls, but we would still use the NAN-BON counter for it. It is hard to say at which point we switch the counter.
If 20 coins are stacking up on the table, you can say;
コインが20まい、あります。(KOIN GA NIJYUU-MAI, ARIMASU) = There are 20 coins. or コインが ひとまとまり、あります。(KOIN GA HITO MATOMARI ARIMASU)
ひとまとまり (HITO MATOMARI) is a different counter which means “ a block of, a batch of or a bundle of something.” It really depends on the speaker’s viewpoint.
As for your third question regarding “NANI” and “NAN”, please read the following question and answer.