The reading of a kanji character or a word written in kanji characters refers to how it is “read” in terms of kana characters.

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How to choose between “よん” (yon) vs “し” (shi) for “四” (4) and “しち” (shichi) vs “なな” (nana) for “七” (7)?

Two numbers in Japanese have two pronunciation alternatives. 四 / 4 can be pronounced either "よん" (yon) or "し" (shi) 七 / 7 can be pronounced either "しち" (shichi) or "なな" (nana) I know that "し" ...
19
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2answers
473 views

Why is 二十歳 pronounced はたち?

二十歳 is a (to me) bizarre exception to the usual number+さい rule for discussing age. Is this rooted in 20 being the Japanese age of majority? Added: To be more specific: why isn't it pronounced にじゅうさい ...
18
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7answers
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Does anyone have advice on how to get over/through/around the intermediate language plateau? (Self-learner)

How do you get through this? Especially in regards to reading. How do you practice reading at beyond the beginner level (No little black sambo's or whatever other children's books like I found in the ...
17
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1answer
374 views

is there a difference between さみしい and さびしい?

Both mean "lonely" and appear to be valid readings for 寂しい. Is there a difference in nuance? Is this difference due to dialect?
17
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2answers
324 views

Reading (and usage) of 他: when is it 【た】, when is it 【ほか】?

他 is one of these common words that still to this day confuses me... My general assumption is that: used as a prefix, it should always be read 【た】, e.g.: 他人【たにん】 when treated as a "substantive" ...
15
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2answers
446 views

What are the rules for reading numbers before a foreign counter-word?

Is there a rule of thumb for knowing the reading of a number when it is written in western numerals, and is followed by a loaned counter-word? For example, how would you pronounce the "1" in 1セット? My ...
15
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1answer
300 views

When to read “その後” as “そのご”, “そのあと” or “そののち”?

I've recently been seeing あと as well as ご as Furigana on top of 後 in その後, but is there a difference in usage or meaning between the different readings? Looking at the Yahoo thesaurus, it seems it can ...
14
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4answers
584 views

What is the difference between 「食う」 and 「食べる」?

I've often seen 「食べる」 used, when should we use 「食う」 ? Are these two interchangeable ? Can you provide examples ?
14
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2answers
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Is there a specific time to pronounce 日本, にほん/にっぽん?

Are the two used completely interchangeably or are there specific situations where one might be used more than the other? For example I've never heard 日本語 said にっぽんご.
13
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1answer
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Words/characters for fast food meal sizes: 並, 大, 特

When dining at Yoshinoya I never know how to ask for the size meal I want. Their sizes are 並, 大, and 特. I only know that "大" means big, but it also has two readings so I have no idea whether to ask ...
13
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1answer
413 views

Do native speakers consciously use phonetic elements in 形声文字?

Do native speakers of Japanese use phonetic elements when reading less common kanji? For example, does the compound 咆哮 look like ほうこう because of the elements 包 and 孝, even if you haven't learned to ...
12
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2answers
247 views

How do I know when to read the kanji 抱 as 「だ・く」, and when to read it as 「いだ・く」, or even 「うだ・く」?

This sentence was in a grammar textbook: 彼{かれ}は同僚{どうりょう}にライバル意識{いしき}、ひいては殺意{さつい}すら抱いていた ... it means: "He regarded his colleague as a rival, even to the point of considering murder." My ...
12
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2answers
251 views

How to read the X in 5X4間?

A book about architecture I'm trying to read (it's a bit of a slog what with the technical jargon and such) contained this description of a temple building: 二重、初重5X4間、裳階 (もこし) つき、上重4X3間. So it's two ...
12
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2answers
484 views

Pronunciation of “何” as “なん” or “なに”

"何" is pronounced as "なん" before counter-words like in "何時{なんじ}", "何歳{なんさい}" etc; or before particles like in "何で", "何とか" etc. However, it remains to be pronounced as "なに" in some words like ...
11
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5answers
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What's with this “On reading”/“Kun reading” thing? Is it important to learn both as a beginner?

I was reading this article on Japanese numerals and I first encountered the whole On reading/Kun reading thing, with an additional column on "Preferred reading," which was almost always the On ...
11
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3answers
282 views

Do people actually ever say みょうにち?

I've heard people using あした (the common one) and あす (rather uncommon) to refer to "tomorrow". I was wondering does anyone actually uses the reading みょうにち ?
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4answers
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When Chinese personal names are written in Japanese in kanji is there always an obvious reading?

In their comment to an answer on the question "Are foreign personal names usually written in katakana rather than Romaji?", user sawa says: ... Chinese names should be written in kanji rather than ...
11
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1answer
397 views

Is かわいい wago or kango?

かわいい is sometimes spelled in kanji as 可愛い. This seems to be an 音読み reading which points to a Chinese loan, and Chinese does have this word. However, the meaning of 可愛 as "cute" in Chinese seems to ...
10
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1answer
292 views

Why is 五右衛門 read “goemon”?

Why is the name 五右衛門 read as ごえもん? How can the three kanji 五右衛 be read with only two syllables?
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4answers
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Does 一二三 mean “1 2 3” or “123”?

Is it possible, without any context, to tell whether 一二三 means "one, two, three" or "one hundred twenty-three"? In English, this kind of ambiguity would be removed by adding spaces between each ...
9
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2answers
336 views

What's the reading of -中 as a suffix?

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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3answers
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How do you read simple arithmetic equations in Japanese?

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 ...
8
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2answers
245 views

Pronunciation of 家 in …家ちんも安い

Here's the actual sentence: 私の部屋は、家ちんも安いし、駅にも近くて便利です。 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 ...
8
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2answers
283 views

When a number is written in western numerals, how do you say them?

Someone has said this in my manga. まず!我らの使命は2つ!! Does he actually say "two" or "に"? If the latter, why not use 二? I don't see 二つ as being any different.
8
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3answers
284 views

Multiple onyomi

If a kanji has multiple onyomi, which one do you use? Is there a rule governing this or can you use any one at any time?
8
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1answer
379 views

How is 名 pronounced in computer terms?

For usernames, etc., you usually see like ユーザ名 or something similar. Or like on my Skype, it says Skype名. How is the 名 pronounced in these situations? I've never been able to conclusively find this ...
8
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1answer
192 views

How to read single stand-alone language-name kanji?

So we all know that most (all?) countries' names can be written in kanji as well as kana. And occasionally kanji from these names are used to represent the language of those countries. For example, we ...
8
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3answers
225 views

Is the only time 得る read as うる when it's a suffix?

Just wondering If choosing a reading is as simple as whether 得る is a suffix. This is from tatoeba.org, a wiki-like sentence mine, so I'm not sure if える, the reading entered is correct. ...
8
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1answer
169 views

How do you read zeros in abbreviated years? (i.e. 03年)

I came across 03年度 and 09年度, and while the meaning is clear I didn't know the actual way of reading it. My first reaction was ゼロさんねんど, but I have no way of checking if that's right. I thought it might ...
7
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2answers
221 views

Reading a number range

I have a bottle of 洗顔料(facial soap), and the instructions are: ご使用量の目安 ポンプ1~2回 (use about 1 to 2 pumps) If I were to read 1~2 aloud, how would I do it?
7
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1answer
155 views

Pronunciation of 対応済

Is the pronunciation of 対応済 たいおうすみ or たいおうずみ ? Context: Software Example: ユーザが押したときに問題が起こらないように対応済
7
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1answer
204 views

Is “かいしゅん” a valid reading for 買春?

I have seen the words 売春 and 買春 pronounced "ばいしゅん". From my understanding 売春 is taken from the perspective of the "seller" whereas 買春 is taken from the perspective of the "buyer". However, when I ...
7
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2answers
251 views

Understanding the abbreviated labels on a Japanese driving license

I'm attempting to write a guide to understanding what is written on a Japanese Driving License for Wikipedia, but I've reached the limit of my reading comprehension abilities. Here's a labelled image ...
7
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1answer
106 views

Why is 左必之佐 read as サビシサ in 万葉集 entry 3734?

Entry 3734 of the 万葉集 reads as follows1: 等【ト】保【ホ】伎【キ】山【やま】 世【セ】伎【キ】毛【モ】故【コ】要【エ】伎【キ】奴【ヌ】 伊【イ】麻【マ】左【サ】良【ラ】尓【ニ】 安【ア】布【フ】倍【ベ】伎【キ】与【ヨ】之【シ】能【ノ】 奈【ナ】伎【キ】我【ガ】佐【サ】夫【ブ】之【シ】佐 【サ】 Transcribed in more modern ...
7
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1answer
143 views

Some Japanese dictionaries (e.g. 大辞林, 大辞泉, and 明鏡国語辞典) use this inverted triangle outline symbol (▽) for some kanji compounds. What does it mean?

It doesn't apply to all the words, just some. Here are examples of words from that are marked with that symbol 悪い (with reading にくい): 大辞泉; 大辞林 面倒くさい (with reading めんどくさい): 大辞泉; 大辞林 皆 (with reading ...
7
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3answers
238 views

How to read words like テスト with ordinal numbers?

Consider this: テスト1, テスト2, テスト3 etc. (Taken from my exercise books. The tests are labelled as such up to 30) (Question) Should numbers that are used with loanwords like テスト be read with いち, に, ...
7
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1answer
192 views

When and how to use 来る 【きたる】

Of course 来る is most often read as くる. However, it can also be read as きたる. Is きたる mostly an archaic reading? Does it carry a different, or any additional meanings?? When are "appropriate" ...
7
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1answer
166 views

Are both spellings for ふけ (fuke) “dandruff” ateji? If not what's actually going on?

The other day after washing my hair I decided to add the Japanese word for "dandruff" to my vocabulary. It turns out to be an interesting word. It has only one pronunciatation, ふけ (fuke), but two ...
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3answers
833 views

Reading of years

Years (Gregorian) can be read out in English: A – two digits at a time; B – each digit separately; C – full reading of the number. For example: 2012: "Twenty twelve"; "Two ...
6
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3answers
664 views

What are the rules determining the use of the dash in katakana?

As explained in this question, a dash character is used in katakana as an extension of a sound. First, what exactly is this character called? A "nobasu mark"? Anyway, I saw this sign in Shibuya the ...
6
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2answers
198 views

When to read 一人 and 二人 as いちにん and ににん?

WWWJDIC lists いちにん and ににん as alternative readings of 一人 {ひとり} and 二人 {ふたり}, but I can't recall anywhere I heard those readings except when counting more than 10 people for example 三十一人 {さんじゅういちにん}. ...
6
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2answers
135 views

-ei/-you alternation in some kanji: what's going on?

There's a reasonable number of kanji that have on-readings like めい・みょう, へい・ひょう (possibly modulo voicing), etc. For example: 平: 平均【へいきん】 vs. 平等【びょうどう】 兵: 兵士【へいし】 vs. 兵庫県【ひょうごけん】 明: 不明【ふめい】 vs. ...
6
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1answer
119 views

Reading of 組 as a Counter Word With Numbers

I'm confused about how to pronounce a word such as 一組. Are Japanese or Chinese numbers used when using 組 as a counter, and if the former how does it change phonetically? For example, jisho.org lists ...
6
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1answer
210 views

Which readings were changed in the 2010 Jouyou kanji reform?

I'm looking for pointers on which readings (on/kun) were changed in the 2010 reform. By that I mean which kanji has additional readings and which kanji has had one or more readings removed? Is there a ...
6
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1answer
181 views

Is there any relationship between the verb 死{し}ぬ and the 音読み 死{し}?

I noticed that both 死ぬ and the 音読み of 死 share a し sound. Is this a huge coincidence between Japanese and Chinese, or is there some sort of relation? I guess the former, because I don't know any ...
6
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2answers
363 views

Does the kanji 妾 still get used by women to refer to themselves?

In this answer, the kanji 妾 was defined as "mistress". I'm not so familiar with this kanji, so I looked it up, and it seems to have about four readings and two definitions. Although I think some of ...
6
votes
1answer
170 views

How to choose a reading for 降る? ふる & くだる

I always read 降る as ふる but for a particular sentence I noticed that the reading was written as くだる. Are there any tips to help figure out which reading to use? Examples: たとえ雨が降ろうとサイクリングにいくぞ。 I ...
6
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2answers
141 views

How do native speakers “read” single-kanji signs when those kanji are not also standalone words?

In my time in Japan I've noticed a few kanji that can be used on their own commonly in various kinds of signs, yet I don't think they are also words in their own right: 押 引 危 開 閉 Since all kanji ...
5
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2answers
187 views

What does 公け mean?

I am wondering what the reading and meaning of 公け is in the following sentence: 彼女のことが公けになることを好まず、ひそかに離縁しようと決心した。
5
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2answers
149 views

the reading for “魂”

I came across a N1 vocab list and came across 魂 with the reading as こん, and I had known that as たましい. I know is one is 'on' and one is 'kun', but if it's just by itself I was under the impression that ...