Japanese, general discussion on the language
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Post by tanuki » Mon 09.26.2005 7:56 pm


How are you doing?

Well, I've learnt these numbers in Kanji, but I've noticed that in "actual" Japanese Arabic numbers are written very often.

For example, September is 九月, but I've seen that it's usually written 9月.

So, I was wondering...when do you use numbers in Kanji and when Arabic numbers? For example, if I'm giving a date or I'm saying that I have four cats:).

Well, thanks in advance! Bye!

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RE: Numbers...

Post by Gaijinian » Mon 09.26.2005 8:02 pm

If you spell it out, and it comes as kanji, than kanji. If you type the Arabic number, why waste your time converting it? That is MHO!:p
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RE: Numbers...

Post by Harisenbon » Mon 09.26.2005 8:47 pm

It's the same in english. We have a word for one, which we can write, or we can write the arabic numeral 1. Either one is fine. In english writing out the word is considered more formal, but in Japanese it seems to matter less.

For example, for graduation ceremony at the school I work there is a big sign that says 平成17年度関ヶ原中学校卒業式

So, like Gaijinian said, either one.
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RE: Numbers...

Post by ryuubu » Mon 09.26.2005 8:47 pm

Usually when Japanese is written vertically, you use kanji. Horizontally, in Arabic.

(Haha there are rules about the writing of 'one' in english too btw...)
Last edited by ryuubu on Mon 09.26.2005 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RE: Numbers...

Post by Kates » Mon 09.26.2005 8:50 pm

The date is typically written in Arabic numerals. Unless it is on an official or a we-want-it-to-look-really-cool document (a certificate or a diploma or something)》hen it's often in kanji.

When counting, I'd say it's about half and half. You might see 2人 as often as you see 二人.

On menus, or signs advertising prices, I'd say it's more often in kanji (with 'Arabic' zeros). Often you might see a tall flag outside a shop that says something is on sale for 五〇〇円. I'd say a lot of menus write this way as well.

Time is usually in Arabic numerals. 11時23分

Addresses on apartment doors are usually Arabic, I would say. I can't really say for sure about houses (and I bet most house don't even HAVE numbers on them like most American homes), but I would bet they are often Arabic--for readability. HOWEVER, when addressing a letter or postcard, it's often kanji (especially if you are written vertically)--and if you want it to look formal/official, it's in kanji.

Random numbers on pencils/pens, nutritional ingredients on packages, etc are normally Arabic.

Any others I may have missed? ^^; I'd imagine so... numbers are used so often in daily life...

Edit: Ha, cool. Those two posts weren't there when I saw this thread. (: Rule for writing numbers in ENGLISH: If it's ten or below, written is preferred in essays, articles, etc. Otherwise, either is fine. (That's what I was told.)
Last edited by Kates on Mon 09.26.2005 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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