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Expanding on my previous question,

What if the range is not numerical? I encountered these on a book for learning Japanese.

The 初~中級編 book for beginner to intermediate level and 中~上級編 for intermediate to advanced level.

(Question) If I were to read "~" out loud, what would it be? Can I similarly use から and 乃至?

In English I can use "From One to ten" and "From beginner to advanced", is it reasonable for me to map this to Japanese? i.e. the use of から and まで?

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Should this be retagged from "readings" (which is about kanji having more than one reading) to "writing" (which is about written text in general)? –  Andrew Grimm Oct 8 '11 at 0:11
@AndrewGrimm: I think that the tag [readings] is fine here. The question is about how to pronounce a particular symbol. Although the term “reading” (読み) is most often used for a kanji, I find nothing wrong with using the term for a symbol. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 22 '11 at 11:39
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

This is an interesting question. In library catalogs and similar contexts, "初~中" tends to be treated as a variant of "初・中" (or vice versa), and assigned the pronunciation "しょちゅう". I assume the same applies for other non-numeric ranges. But I'm not sure if this is the result of a conscious decision by a human being, or just software limitations.

I recall reading that "~" should only be pronounced から when it is either explicitly paired with まで (e.g. "月曜日~水曜日まで") or, less ideally, not paired with anything at all (i.e. just meaning "From X [to an unspecified end point]"). In other cases, including when it is part of a pair that does not have まで after the second item, the rule was that it should not be pronounced at all -- as described in my first paragraph.

This is sort of like the pronounced hyphen in "4-6 mL" ("four to six milliliters") versus the unpronounced hyphen in English phrases like "the Boston-New York route", I guess. On the other hand, I don't remember exactly where I read this tidbit, but it was definitely in a prescriptive style guide so it could be an artificial rule with no basis in actual spoken Japanese.

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Some people combine the symbol “~” and the word まで as in “月曜日~水曜日まで,” but that notation drives me nuts. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 7 '11 at 11:13
@Matt Then would 初~上 be "しょじょう"? It feels weird when it's not a consecutive term. –  Flaw Oct 9 '11 at 14:04
Yeah, that would be the rule... it seems kind of weird to me, but just saying から does too. (Also, if you search for the book "名将・眞境名オスカー&知将・中村恭平のチームレベルが簡単にあがる5つの約束事 : フットサル超初心者〜上級者対応" at the Tokyo Metropolitan Library, the subtitle is given the reading "フットサル チョウショシンシャ ジョウキュウシャ タイオウ"... but again, I don't know if that's something a human decided, or just an overlooked edge case.) –  Matt Oct 9 '11 at 14:12
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