Home Forums The Japanese Language 十は七じゃありません Pronunciation

This topic contains 6 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  kanjiman8 10 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #44824

    Alexis
    Member

    Can anybody explain why 七 is read as nana?
    Aren’t numbers supposed to be read with ON reading?

    #44825

    kanjiman8
    Member

    As far as I’m aware, the readings for 七 and 四 are interchangeable if purely saying the numbers on their own. なな is easier to distinguish than saying しち, as しち sounds similar to 一 (いち). As for 四, よん is preferred as し sounds similar to the reading for the word ‘death’ in Chinese 死 (sǐ). When you say the numbers 40 and 70, it’s 四十 (よんじゅう) and 七十 (ななじゅう) respectively.

    When it comes to counting things, し and しち are both used with certain counters. For example:
    四月 (しがつ) = April
    七月 (しちがつ) = July
    七人 (しちにん) = Seven people
    七時 (しちじ) = 7 o’clock

    If you’re interested, you can read more about unlucky numbers in Asian cultures here http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/01/why-the-number-four-is-considered-unlucky-in-some-east-asian-cultures/.

    #44837

    Joel
    Member

    As for 四, よん is preferred as し sounds similar to the reading for the word ‘death’ in Chinese 死 (sǐ).

    Never mind Chinese, it’s an exact homophone for “death” in Japanese. Also, one of the readings for the number nine is a homophone for “pain, suffering”, but that doesn’t seem to come up in conversation quite as often. Can’t type it at the moment, because the IME on this computer isn’t being nice.

    #44847

    Alexis
    Member

    As far as I’m aware, the readings for 七 and 四 are interchangeable if purely saying the numbers on their own. なな is easier to distinguish than saying しち, as しち sounds similar to 一 (いち). As for 四, よん is preferred as し sounds similar to the reading for the word ‘death’ in Chinese 死 (sǐ). When you say the numbers 40 and 70, it’s 四十 (よんじゅう) and 七十 (ななじゅう) respectively.

    When it comes to counting things, し and しち are both used with certain counters. For example:<br>
    四月 (しがつ) = April<br>
    七月 (しちがつ) = July<br>
    七人 (しちにん) = Seven people<br>
    七時 (しちじ) = 7 o’clock

    If you’re interested, you can read more about unlucky numbers in Asian cultures here http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/01/why-the-number-four-is-considered-unlucky-in-some-east-asian-cultures/.

    Thank you very much for the explanation! So the reason why it is read like that is so as not to confuse it with another number?

    #44860

    kanjiman8
    Member

    Yes, that’s the main reason I’ve heard of. Perhaps there are more, but I’m not aware of them.

    #44868

    Joel
    Member

    Perhaps there are more, but I’m not aware of them.

    Etymology. =P

    #44876

    kanjiman8
    Member

    I’d like to read more about etymology, but I reckon it will eat into valuable study time. Ages ago when I bought a “Teach Yourself Japanese” book, it did have a section showing how kanji changed over time which was quite interesting.

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