5

Reading a text like:

海の深さが200m以上{いじょう}

The first thing that came into my mind was:

Above a level of 200m depth

But then I realized that my understanding can be wrong and it may mean something like:

At a depth over 200m

Which interpretation is correct?

It can be associated with this question but the answer may be different in this particular context.

Source for an example usage: NHK Easy News

4

As Kentaro Tomono noted in a comment, this particular context is talking about the depth of the water, so it would have to be "more than 200m", not "less deep than 200m". Although the 以上 refers to "above", it's like saying in English, "200m or more".

以上 and 以下 are, strictly speaking, inclusive. If we say in Japanese, 「200m以上【いじょう】」, we're technically saying "200m or more", and including the 200m in the range of values we're talking about. If we say in English, "more than 200m", we're being exclusive, so that a value of 200m is excluded from the range of values we're talking about.

Writers in Japanese often use 以上 and 以下 in their original inclusive senses. Possibly due to influence from English, they sometimes also use these terms in a way closer to the English "more than" or "less than" in their exclusive senses. So you really need to pay attention to context to discern the best way of translating these terms -- especially in fields like finances or medicine.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.