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25 votes

Why does 前 mean "past" in terms of time, but "forward" in terms of direction?

Probably for the same reason that someone who is "ahead" of someone else is both in front of them physically and also arrives earlier. For that matter, the English word "before" also shares the same ...
Ben Roffey's user avatar
  • 6,711
23 votes

No word for "time" until 1871?

I think the word [時間]{じかん} was created in the Meiji era, but the word [時]{とき} is older. So it's definitely wrong that "the Japanese didn't have any interest in clocks (until 1871)". I searched in an ...
Faily Feely's user avatar
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20 votes
Accepted

No word for "time" until 1871?

Addendum The word 時{とき} is probably the oldest native Japanese word for "time". This term appears in the 万葉集{まんようしゅう} written in Old Japanese and compiled from poems composed from the 300s through ...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

How to read 24-hour clock format

You can read the time of day in 24-hour format using the pronunciation for the numbers 13–24 as for the numbers 1–10 followed by 時【じ】, e.g. 15:40 = 15時40分 = じゅうごじ よんじゅっぷん 19:20 = 19時20分 = じゅうくじ ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
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13 votes
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Use of suffix 後 in place of a verb

It is a bookish construction frequently seen in newspapers and academic papers. You can simply understand it as a する omitted (with its tense). 大学を卒業[後]【ご】 → 大学を卒業した後【あと】 デパートで買い物[前]【まえ】 → デパートで買い物する前【...
broccoli forest's user avatar
12 votes

Why does 前 mean "past" in terms of time, but "forward" in terms of direction?

As a Chinese native speaker who knows a little bit about Japanese, I would like to talk about this character on a Chinese perspective. I believe the origin of your question can be traced to the ...
zhxq's user avatar
  • 121
11 votes
Accepted

Why is 切 on microwaves instead of 分?

切る means 'to cut off' or 'to turn off', and it's likely used here to mean to turn off the power and finish using the microwave.
keithmaxx's user avatar
  • 1,402
11 votes

Saying you'll do/have done something for a certain amount of time?

For the first four of your sentences (or, for "for X years / months / days / minutes / seconds"), I would use 「~[間]{かん}」, or just a counter such as 年, ヶ月, 日, 分 with no suffix (~間), or 「~の[間]{あいだ}」 ...
chocolate's user avatar
  • 65.6k
10 votes

最中に and うちに differences

There are two reasons. Unlike ~の間に, it seems that ~のうちに cannot be directly used with nouns that denote an event. (As long as it's used with the noun that denotes a time span, it can be very short) ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 321k
10 votes

Why does 前 mean "past" in terms of time, but "forward" in terms of direction?

My understanding is that it's analogous to English usage of the word before. In some cases, before in English has the connotation of something that occurs prior: 学校から帰る前に、図書館に行かなきゃ。 Before I go ...
psosuna's user avatar
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10 votes
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Is there anything wrong with the sentence "今午前七時間です"?

Adding 間 turns a fixed point in time into a period of time. "It's 7 o'clock" is a fixed time so it would just be 七時. You would add 間 if you wanted to say that you'd been doing something for ...
user3856370's user avatar
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9 votes
Accepted

How do you express time duration when mixing time units?

"1年3ヶ月22日19時間25分14秒" works fine in scientific/technological contexts. In real conversations or mails, people usually add some と, typically after 1年, 22日 and/or 25分. と is sometimes mandatory because ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 321k
9 votes
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Morning, Afternoon, Night Kanji

Google Translate, and indeed just about any machine translation engine, is still often shit for the Japanese ↔ English language pair. Do not rely on Google Translate to learn another language, ...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Use of に with 先週

As a native speaker, I also feel uncomfortable with 事故は先週に起こった, which can be said to be a little unnatural but probably cannot be said to be ungrammatical. 先週 plays the role of an adverb in this ...
samhana's user avatar
  • 1,259
8 votes
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When would you use 30分{ぷん} versus 半{はん} for telling time?

In most situations, including ordinary business exchanges, they are completely interchangeable. Maybe 半 is a bit more common in casual conversations simply because it's easier to pronounce, but saying ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 321k
7 votes
Accepted

Why で in 今日で最後にしたいです?

Both 今日を最後にしたいです and 今日で最後にしたいです are perfectly fine. In the latter case, で is a particle used to mark a time limit, deadline, finish time, etc. 明鏡国語辞典 says: ⑤㋑区切りをつける点。期限。限度。「三日で仕上げる」「この作業で終わりだ」「...
naruto's user avatar
  • 321k
6 votes

今(temporal counter) vs. 本(temporal counter)

本週 does not exist in the first place. BCCWJ returned virtually zero result, and there is no dictionary entry for 本週. 本月 is very rare. Most examples in BCCWJ are either from legal documents or quotes ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 321k
6 votes

Is 「今朝」 or 「今日の朝」 more natural?

I think in spoken language 今朝 is perfectly acceptable and certainly not less natural than 今日の朝. 今日の朝 may be more colloquial than 今朝, but saying that 今朝 is "very formal" or "old-fashioned" seems to be ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
  • 48.2k
6 votes
Accepted

o'clock kanji pronunciation 時

When following a number 時 is read 'ji'. It is pronounced 'toki' when it refers to a point in time, in which case it will often take a relative clause that simply means 'when...' (literally 'the time ...
Mathieu Bouville's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Confusion about time scope of 日をもって

The previous state continues until the time specified by 〜を以って / 〜を以て (written in 漢字 so people are aware this is not 持つ). So: 10月10日をもって辞めさせていただきます。 would mean: I will work through October ...
sbkgs4686's user avatar
  • 3,060
5 votes
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how to tell date?

2017年5月5日 にせんじゅうななねん ごがつ いつか In Japanese it goes Year >> Month >> Date.
rgolden's user avatar
  • 739
5 votes
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Why does 前 mean "past" in terms of time, but "forward" in terms of direction?

There are many issues with the question, because it doesn't differentiate between words and characters. Fully addressing the question requires a discussion of the following: The glyph origin of「前」 ...
dROOOze's user avatar
  • 9,120
5 votes

what is relative time in Japanese language?

Absolute times are ones that stay where they are as time moves onwards, or to think of it another way they're the ones that you can circle on a calendar or measure on a clock. So "Tuesday" or "May ...
ConMan's user avatar
  • 1,592

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