Why does 7時「七時」use "しちじ" and not use "ななじ" ?

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    Outside the classroom ななじ is equally common. In Western Japan (where consonants are less strictly pronounced) it is even used in official announcements. しちじ is confused with いちじ and if it's not obvious from the context you can hear someone told しちじ confirming with a question ななじ? – macraf Aug 16 '16 at 1:13

It is important to understand the difference between [音読]{おんどく} and [訓読]{くんどく} in Japanese. '音' means 'sound (pronunciation)' and '訓' means 'meaning'.

Reading '七' as 'なな' is '訓読' and as 'しち' is '音読'.

Reading '時' as 'とき' is '訓読' and as 'じ' is '音読'.

It is a kind of principle in Japanese to use both 音読 and 訓読 at the same time. Since you are using 'じ' for '時', it is appropriate to use 'しち'.

There are some exceptions like '四時' which is read as 'よジ' (訓読 + 音読), not ' シジ' (音読 + 音読) because the 音読 of '四' is 'シ' which is pronounced the same as '死 (death)'

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  • そですか。どうもありがとうございました。 – Nguyen Ngoc Quy Aug 16 '16 at 1:44
  • The part that says "because the 音読 of '四' is 'シ' which is pronounced the same as '死 (death)" is a myth. – user4092 Aug 16 '16 at 17:06

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