8

一丁 is a cut of tofu or konyaku, so why is it also used for photos? I always imagined it as a Polaroid, flat, like もう一枚 but can't find out the original reason もう一丁 was used for it.

18

Its use is not limited to photos. もう一丁 is an idiomatic phrase which just means "one more try", "give it another shot".

丁 is also used as a counter for dishes (of food), and today もう一丁 is typically heard as a vigorous call in some restaurants (「牛丼、並一丁!」「ラーメン大盛り一丁! もう一丁!」). I think you can just memorize it as it is.

Photographers may say もう一丁 to their subjects, but they never use 丁 to actually count the number of photos or trials (e.g. [*]写真が5丁, [*]あと3丁撮ってみましょう).

  • Do you happen to know the etymology/reasoning why of all the counters 丁 was picked? – jmac May 9 '15 at 18:08
  • I don't know, but maybe because 丁 is often said in a loud voice? – naruto May 11 '15 at 3:46
  • Because it sounds good, perhaps. – rjh May 12 '15 at 23:44
5

Formal and Informal Speech

「[丁]{ちょう}」, formally, is used like you said -- a counter for tofu, konnyaku, etc.

In informal speech (mostly among male speakers), however, it can be used to count many different inanimate objects. Saying 「[写真]{しゃしん}もう[一丁]{いっちょう}」 to mean "one more pic" is no problem.

I am sure that is not something they would actively teach in Japanese-as-a-foreign-language but among native speakers, it is just pretty normal.

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