Take the 2-minute tour ×
Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

My dictionary (EN->JP) suggests to translate "Three multiplied by four is twelve" as

3 × 4 = 12

without giving a hint as to how to read this in Japanese.

How do you read simple arithmetic equations (involving only +, -, × and ÷) like the one above in Japanese?

share|improve this question
1  
    
It seems fitting that I add: fractions are read in reverse order to common U.S. English. 3/4, Three over four is read, 四分の三. 4 parts 3, or more appropriately translated "of 4 parts there are 3." –  mwjohnson Aug 30 '13 at 9:42
add comment

3 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

+: 足{た}す
-: 引{ひ}く
/: 割{わ}る
*: 掛{か}ける

And you just say the terms normally in order. So your example of 3 * 4 = 12 would be 3かける4は12. Note that = becomes は, similar to how we use "is" in English. As @blutorange mentioned, you can use イコール to mean "equals," however in most situations you'll be good using は.

You learn these things quickly when listening to students recite their 九九{くく}.

For some bonus terminology, you can refer to exponents by using #乗{じょう}, so like 2の二乗は4 or 2の3乗は8. Similarly you can refer to roots with #乗根{じょうこん} (although as @jovanni points out it's normal to use 平方根{へいほうこん} for square roots).

share|improve this answer
    
I was four seconds too slow! ;-) –  snailboat Aug 15 '13 at 8:29
2  
now fate will decide –  ssb Aug 15 '13 at 8:37
    
The 九九 in Japanese is usually learnt with a very different reading, though. E.g. 3*3=9 is さざんがく. –  Earthliŋ Aug 15 '13 at 11:26
1  
interesting. the kids i've heard have just been saying ~かける~は~ –  ssb Aug 15 '13 at 11:40
1  
Especially in math (classes) and with equations such as x+3=7, the "=" sign is also read イコール("equal(s)"). –  blutorange Aug 15 '13 at 12:09
show 2 more comments

You can read the arithmetic operators as follows:

   +   たす    (足す)
   -   ひく    (引く)
   ×   かける   (掛ける)
   ÷   わる    (割る)

In place of the equals sign, you'd most likely use a particle such as , much as we might say "three times four is twelve" in English to make a complete sentence out of it. Your example looks like this:

  3   ×   4 = 12
  さん、かける、よんは、じゅうに
share|improve this answer
1  
As an aside, if you want fancy math symbols like × and ÷ instead of * and /, you can type かける and わる to get them. (On this computer, I can also get them by typing すうがく, which has lots of math symbols, and きごう, which has all sorts of symbols.) –  snailboat Aug 21 '13 at 7:47
add comment

I would like to offer one more alternative, that of using になります at the end of this sentence. This is more formal and less common than just leaving it out.

3 × 4 = 12

さんかけるよんはじゅうにになります。

share|improve this answer
    
Please correct me if it is never said this way. –  yadokari Aug 21 '13 at 14:40
    
I think となります is also used. –  istrasci Aug 21 '13 at 15:03
    
I think である and なり should be listed as well, but I am not 100% on their usage--just rephrasing a previous sawa answer. –  yadokari Aug 21 '13 at 16:28
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.