"It is 6:06."


June 11, 2017

This discussion is locked.


Looks like some confusion with the counter 分(ふん). It is interesting because this can count three different things.

  1. To count minutes
  2. To count fractions
  3. To count percentages (10 percent incremental)

And the pronunciations are different when counting these different types!!!

The table for counting "minutes" - only uses ふん fun and ぷん pun (no ぶん bun)

  • いっぷん one minute
  • にふん two minutes
  • さんぷん three minutes
  • よんぷん four minutes
  • ごふん five minutes
  • ろっぷん six minutes
  • ななふん (do not say しちふん) seven minutes
  • はっぷん eight minutes
  • きゅうふん nine minutes
  • じゅっぷん ten minutes
  • ひゃっぷん one hundred minutes
  • せんぷん one thousand minutes
  • いちまんぷん ten thousand minutes

The table for counting "fractions" - always ぶん bun

  • にぶんのいち (二分の一)half
  • さんぶんのいち one-third
  • よんぶんのいち quarter
  • ごぶんのいち one-fifth
  • ろくぶんのいち one-sixth
  • しち/ななぶんのいち one-seventh
  • はちぶんのいち one-eighth
  • きゅうぶんのいち one-nineth
  • じゅうぶんのいち one-tenth
  • ひゃくぶんのいち one-hundredth
  • せんぶんのいち one-thousandth
  • いちまんぶんのいち one out of ten thousand (I don't know how to say this in English :-) )

The table for counting "percentages" (10 percent incremental) - always ぶ

  • いちぶ 10 percent
  • にぶ 20 percent
  • さんぶ 30 percent
  • よんぶ 40 percent
  • ごぶ 50 percent
  • ろくぶ 60 percent
  • しち/ななぶ 70 percent
  • はちぶ 80 percent
  • く/きゅうぶ 90 percent
  • じゅうぶん 100 percent (don't ask me why)


Is the reason why we shouldn't say shichi because it sounds like the kanji for death?


I thought that was why, too. I read somewhere (tofugu maybe?) that it's actually to avoid confusion, because for children learning to count しち can sound alot like either いち or し. I can't say the other explanation is false, though, so I imagine both were at least contributing factors.


Isn't "half" hanbun?


Yes it is. 半(はん) half, 分(ふん/ぶん) portion = one(一) of(の) the two(ニ) portions (分)

Dividing 1 hour into 60 portions, so 1 portion = 一分 = 1 minute.


So ji is hour while hun is minutes O.o


yeah I think that's about right except that 分 has some different readings based on the number that comes before it.

If it is 1 then it's いっぷん (ippun) .

Not sure why this is.


I believe it's for the sake of speaking. Ichi ji ichi fun is harder to say than ichi ji ippun


Bridget is correct. It is that way for the sake of ease and flow of speech.


Bridget Kraus is the user in the comments section who explained why "1 minute" in Japanese is pronounced as "ippun" instead of "ichi fun" for convenience during conversations.


So it's roppun right?


Yep. Just an irregular form we have to memorize. ろっぷん。


If your mouth hangs open/flattened at the vowel, it will be i.e. 一分(ippun)、六分(roppun), 八分(happun). If your mouth is open more vertically, it will be i.e. 二分(nifun), 五分(gofun). The only exception is 三分 which is said 三分(sanbun). Overall, when counting 3 tends to be the exception.


It is さんぷん (San-pun) when it is counting minutes.


why do I need do I add 分?


分 means minutes. E.g. 五時三分 means 5:03. You are saying 5 hours and 3 minutes.


Japanese language has a lot of number counters for different situations like number of plates, number of animals and so on, and the best way to learn them is by memorizing them: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_counter_word


I am so confused about the way she s pronouncing 分... as hiragana it is written as ふん but she s reading it as a ぷん or even "hun" which my japanese keyboard also writes as ふん so what is right now?


The Japanese character ふ is a mix between an airy F and H sound.

The way I was introduced to the pronunciation is a little silly, but it might help you. Try pretending to blow out candles on a Birthday cake, without your teeth touching the bottom of your lips. The actual ふ sound is similar to that.

However, it's always best to listen to native speakers pronounce it and then try to mimic the sound yourself.


Do I need the です?


If you do not write です, you need a だ at the end instead.

Learn Japanese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.