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I see this all the time, but I don't know that I've heard it spoken.

For example: インストール中

Is it simply "なか"?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

The reading when used as a suffix in this case is ちゅう (the on-yomi of the character )

So インストール中 is pronounced インストールちゅう. The meaning is "installing", or "in the process of installation".

More generally, 〜中 used in this way can be thought to mean "in the process of ~"

Edit: There is another possible usage of 〜中 which Hyperworm describes in their answer.

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Does that mean inside installation? – dotnetN00b Apr 28 '12 at 20:24
@dotnetN00b It means "installing"/"in the process of installation". – ジョン Apr 28 '12 at 20:38
@dotnetN00b for instance 会議中 = in a meeting eow.alc.co.jp/search?q=会議中&ref=sa – yadokari Apr 28 '12 at 21:01

It depends on the meaning.

中 used to mean "during / in the process of" must be pronounced ちゅう (as in ジョン's post)

インストール中【ちゅう】 now installing
読込【よみこみ】中【ちゅう】 now loading
建築【けんちく】中【ちゅう】 under construction

But in other uses, such as "all throughout" or "out of (all the)", it is commonly read じゅう (although it seems that ちゅう is also an option?):

世界【せかい】中【じゅう】の人々 people all around the world
クラス中【じゅう】で一番【いちばん】背【せ】が高【たか】い tallest in the class

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+1 for the great examples, and because I totally overlooked that :) – ジョン Apr 28 '12 at 21:38
Is there a way to differentiate/tell between the "in the process of" and "all throughout/out of all the" definitions? – dotnetN00b Apr 29 '12 at 1:30
@dotnetN00b: The words themselves are your guide for which definition of 中 to use. 世界 is not something that is done, so you can't be in the middle of doing something with it. 建築 is something that can be done, so it's something that one can be in the process of. – Questioner Apr 29 '12 at 15:23
Extremely useful explanation and examples, thanks. – Jamie Taylor Apr 30 '12 at 7:26

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