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Here's the actual sentence:


How do you read '家ちん' and what does it mean? It's most likely that ちん is usually written in kanji since I got the sentence from a Japanese textbook for beginners.

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As you correctly guessed, the word is usually written in kanji. Honestly speaking, the Japanese text in learning materials is sometimes more difficult for me (a native speaker of Japanese) to read than the “usual” Japanese text because of lack of kanji. – Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 4 '12 at 22:31
That's quite understandable. As a beginner, I find it hard to read words such as the above that require two or more kanji but not all of them is given. It's easier for me to search up all the kanji as one word (thank you, Rikaichan and WWWJDIC) than one kanji and its many readings to match the kana. – Knockycode Jun 5 '12 at 10:21
up vote 11 down vote accepted

It's pronounced やちん, and written 家賃 if using all kanji. It means "rent", as in "the rent for this place is expensive".

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You beat me to answering this one =(. I was just typing the answer. Oh well. (deletes) – Flaw Jun 3 '12 at 15:30
@Flaw Haha, sorry. Newt is good for that (but it's also one of my main distractions from getting actual work done :P) – ジョン Jun 3 '12 at 15:32
Thanks ジョン and Flaw for the quick replies! – Knockycode Jun 3 '12 at 15:54
Hmm, chin is a strange reading for a character pronounced lin4 in Mandarin... Does anyone know when this was borrowed, or indeed whether it's even on'yomi at all? – jogloran Jun 4 '12 at 1:30
@jogloran: The Mandarin pronunciation is rèn, not lìn. The Middle Chinese initial was 娘, with final 侵 and departing tone; the expected go-on outcome is ニン, while the expected kan-on outcome is ヂン. – Zhen Lin Jun 4 '12 at 8:02

This is a continuation of my comment on the question, but it became too long for a comment, so I am posting it as an answer.

As you correctly guessed, this word is usually written in kanji. Writing 家ちん instead of 家賃 is an instance of [交]{ま}ぜ[書]{が}き: writing a word partly in kanji letters and partly in kana letters because there is a factor which prevents the use of certain kanji letters. 交ぜ書き occurs even in text not specifically written for learners of Japanese. For example, the word [斡旋]{あっせん} (recommendation of a person to a job or a job to a person, matching of employers to employees) is often written as あっ旋 because kanji 斡 is not a joyo kanji.

As you experienced, it is sometimes difficult to read a word written in 交ぜ書き. Although 交ぜ書き is usually used to allow intended readers to read the text more easily, it is debatable whether it actually accomplishes its purpose, and some people (including me) prefer to avoid 交ぜ書き and write whole words in kanji letters and add ruby to difficult letters instead. There are discussions about 交ぜ書き available on the web, including the one in a report by the Japanese Language Council in November 1995.

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