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Telling Time- Beginner's Question

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Telling Time- Beginner's Question

Postby Just Barb » Mon 02.25.2008 6:08 pm

Hi,

Wow! The new site looks great! :D

I’ve been taking Japanese classes and I’ve just started to learn how to tell time. I’ve been wondering, is there any definite reason for the word for minutes to sometimes be ふん and sometimes be ぷん. I’ve been told that it is a matter of pronunciation and that I should just remember which one is correct, but, I’ve wondered if there is more to it.

Sorry, to bother you with such a beginner’s question.

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Re: Telling Time- Beginner's Question

Postby sei » Mon 02.25.2008 6:30 pm

I think that really is the only explanation. Depending on the sound before ふん, it can alter it to ぷん for easier pronunciation.
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Re: Telling Time- Beginner's Question

Postby Just Barb » Mon 02.25.2008 6:46 pm

Are some sounds more likely to use ぷん? :?
They all sound fine to me! :lol:

Thanks,

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Re: Telling Time- Beginner's Question

Postby richvh » Mon 02.25.2008 10:45 pm

いち+ふん≫いっぷん
さん+ふん≫さんぶん
ろく+ふん≫ろっぷん
はち+ふん≫はっぷん
じゅう+ふん≫じっぷん (officially) or じゅっぷん (colloquially)

Note that よん, unlike さん, does not alter the sound of the following counter.
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Re: Telling Time- Beginner's Question

Postby Just Barb » Tue 02.26.2008 12:52 am

Thanks, Rich!

That’s really interesting! It looks as if you have ぷ sound appear, whenever the last syllable gets shortened.

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Re: Telling Time- Beginner's Question

Postby Valatunda » Wed 02.27.2008 8:38 am

According to Genki and EDICT, three minutes is さんぷん not さんぶん, which according to EDICT is (vs) to divide into three (parts); to trisect. さんぷん and さんぶんare written with the same kanji though. Also Genki has four minutes as よんぷん.
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Re: Telling Time- Beginner's Question

Postby richvh » Wed 02.27.2008 9:57 am

I'll have to check my own textbooks (which don't include Genki) when I get home, but in general, 三 + ハ行 becomes 三パ行.

三匹(さんびき)
三百(さんびゃく)
etc.
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Re: Telling Time- Beginner's Question

Postby furrykef » Thu 02.28.2008 8:25 pm

This phenomenon is called "rendaku" and it happens all the time in all sorts of compound words. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to know when it occurs and when it doesn't, so some memorization is required. Rendaku only occurs in the second part of a compound word; the -fun/-ppun part of time expressions is considered part of a compound word, as are all counter words.

Are you familiar with the names "Hiroshima", "Iwo Jima", and "Nakajima"? The "shima" and "jima" is the same word (島, meaning "island") in all of them; "shi" becomes "ji" when affected by rendaku. Rendaku always manifests itself as a simple addition of a ゛ or ゜ mark. In the particular case where ha/hi/fu/he/ho is preceded by つ or ち, the つ or ち also becomes a っ in the process. (This つ/ち becoming っ happens all the time, so you should get used to it quickly.)

The process sounds more complicated than it really is. "Ippun", for instance, is a simple word: 一分 = いち + ふん... according to the rule, when applying rendaku, the ふ becomes ぷ, and it's preceded by ち, which becomes っ, yielding いっぷん = ippun!

Oh, by the way, note that ha/hi/fu/he/ho only become pa/pi/pu/pe/po in rendaku when it is preceded by つ or ち (which, of course, become っ). Otherwise, it always becomes ba/bi/bu/be/bo instead.

Just keep your eyes open for rendaku and watch when it occurs, and you'll get a good feel for it before long. :)

EDIT: A bit of clarification. The つ/ち becoming っ is actually not limited to rendaku. It will occur in many other words as well and in fact it will not occur with rendaku except in the specific case of ha/hi/fu/he/ho. (In fact, except in foreign loanwords, っ will never precede a character with ゛, only a character with ゜ or with no mark at all.) I've modified some of the above post to reflect this better, too.

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Re: Telling Time- Beginner's Question

Postby EvanT » Sat 03.01.2008 10:44 am

Last year, when we started learning about counter nouns, I made this table with different counters so I could see how this "rendaku" happens (i.e. which mora interact with which). I hope this table will help. (It's a screenshot and it's in greek, but I doubt that will be a problem). It's also rather old, so I'm sorry if any errors have slipped in while I was writing it. The image is located here.
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Re: Telling Time- Beginner's Question

Postby Just Barb » Fri 03.07.2008 1:01 pm

I was having trouble with logging on this last week.

It’s really great to see everyone’s responses! I am so surprised!

Valatunda - I’m using Nakama right now. When I compared Genki to Nakama, I noticed that Nakama has a few more variations than Genki.

Richvh - It’s amazing to see the variation. Thanks so much for helping!

Kef- Great answer! That’s really answers what I was seeing happen. Thanks for explanation! It’s great to know that it has a name!

EvanT - That’s a great idea! Your chart really looks as if it would be really helpful for studying! Thanks!

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