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My kanji textbook contains this example text excerpt from a leaflet [1]:

各種家具を破格値で!

I would assume that it would be 「チ」 because 「ハカク」 is an Onyomi-Reading, but I believe I have heard 「はかくね」before. I could not find it in 大辞林, so could someone who knows better please enlighten me?

Thank you.


[1] 第6週2日目 in 佐々木仁子、松本典子:日本語総まとめ N2 漢字。株式会社アスク出版、東京都、2012.

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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

As @ssb demonstrated, はかくね is a word and *はかくち is not, so 破格値 can only represent the former. But why is it ? Let's take a closer look!

破格{はかく} is a Sino-Japanese word (or 漢語{かんご}), and for this reason it uses 音読{おんよ}み. Since many 漢語 come from Chinese, they generally reflect Chinese word order rather than Japanese; the same thing is true of 漢語 which were coined in Japanese, with few exceptions.

In this case, 破格 is a Verb-Object compound, a single word with the verbal morpheme first. Since verbs come last in Japanese, to put this into Japanese word order we'd need to turn it around (and mark the object): we get 格を破る (meaning 通例、常識を破る). In contrast, *格値 is not a word and there is no such relationship between and . Therefore, when we break down this compound, we break it down like this:

  [ 破格 ] 値

In general, large compounds can be broken down into one- and two-kanji pieces in this manner. In this case, the compound as a whole does not form a single 漢語, so your assumption doesn't hold--we don't need to use the on'yomi for . Compare the following words, where I've put the on'yomi in katakana:

  言い値     いい      訓-訓
  返り値     かえり     訓-音
  新値      シン      音-訓
  数値      スウ      音-音
  破格値     ハカク     [ 音-音 ] 訓
  期待値     キタイ     [ 音-音 ] 音

As you can see, you can't predict how to read simply by whether the previous character or compound has an on reading or not. That's not to say there aren't patterns, but you need to understand the reasoning behind them to apply them. And after all, there are plenty of mixed compounds in Japanese! So how do we decide between , , or for that matter あたい?

The truth is that these are all different words, and we can observe relatively consistent distinctions in their usage and meaning. Their meanings are close and sometimes even overlapping, which means we can't always determine with certainty which is correct, and in some contexts more than one reading might be appropriate. However, most of the time we can figure it out. There are syntactic considerations (e.g., あたい doesn't generally form compounds) and semantic considerations--which word has the most appropriate meaning?

Let's simplify a little here and give a pair of customary translations:

  ち Value
  ね Price

Compare the following words:

  安値   やすね   Low price
  高値   たかね   High price
  卸値   おろしね  Wholesale price
  終値   おわりね  Closing price
  半値   ハンね   Half price
  言い値  いいね   Asking price
  破格値  ハカクね  Absurdly [low] price

All of these are about the price or cost of some object or commodity, and they all use , meaning roughly 値段. Contrast with the following words ending in :

  価値   カチ     Value
  数値   スウチ    Numerical value
  同値   ドウチ    Equivalent ("equal value")
  経験値  ケイケンチ  Experience points [in a video game] ("EXP value")

In each of these words, 値 is used to write , meaning roughly 値打.

Knowing this difference, we can decide 破格 + is probably はかくね, since the focus is on the actual cost or price of the item in question.

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wonderful answer –  ssb Aug 15 '13 at 5:11
    
ご迷惑をお掛けして大変申し訳ありません。 –  Tobias Aug 15 '13 at 5:54
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It's はかくね. See here, but the following links can lend some extra evidence.

http://yomikatawa.com/%E7%A0%B4%E6%A0%BC%E5%80%A4
http://reader.bz/%E7%A0%B4%E6%A0%BC%E5%80%A4
https://www.google.com/search?q=はかくね (note the 'showing results for')

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Thanks, I didn't know these sites! –  Tobias Aug 14 '13 at 14:51
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