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Subject: math in Japanese
From: TAKASUGI Shinji (tssf.airnet.ne.jp)
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 10:31:04 GMT
References: 1


It's common to omit the copulas da and desu when you read an equation.

> One plus two equals (is) three.
1 足す 2 は 3 です。 (1 tasu 2 wa 3 desu.)

> Five times six is thirty.
5 かける 6 は 30 です。 (5 kakeru 6 wa 30 desu.)

> Five divided by two is two point five.
5 割る 2 は 2.5 です。 (5 waru 2 wa 2.5 desu.)

> One minus twelve is negative eleven.
1 引く 12 は マイナス 11 です。 (1 hiku 12 wa mainasu 11 desu.)

> Five squared is twenty-five.
5 の 2 乗は 25 です。 (5 no 2 jô wa 25 desu.)
xn 乗 (x no n jô): x to the nth power

> The square root of two is about one point four one four.
2 の 平方根は 約 1.414 です。 (2 no heihôkon wa yaku 1.414 desu.)
平方根 (heihôkon): square root
立方根 (rippôkon): cubic root
n 乗根 (n jôkon): nth power root

See also the site "Chinese Characters in Japanese Mathematical Terms" if you are interested. Its Japanese version works better.

By the way, Japanese is a very good language to memorize number sequences because you can use 語呂 (goro), a word play for numbers.

ex.1: 富士山麓、オウム鳴く。 (Fuji sanroku, ômu naku.)
Meaning: A parrot sings at the foot of Mt. Fuji.
Goro: fu (2) ji (2) san (3) roku (6) ô (0) mu (6) na (7) ku (9)
= 2.2360679 (the square root of 5)

ex.2: 産医師、異国に向こう。産後厄無く、産児、御社に。虫散々闇に鳴く頃には。 (San'ishi, ikoku ni mukou. Sango yaku naku, sanji, miyashiro ni. Mushi sansan yami ni naku koro ni wa.)
Meaning: An obstetrician goes abroad. No bale after the birth. The baby is put in a shrine when insects sing in darkness.
Goro: san (3) i (1) shi (4) i (1) ko (5) ku (9) ni (2) mu (6) kou (5) san (3) go (5) ya (8) ku (9) na (7) ku (9) san (3) ji (2) mi (3) ya (8) shi (4) ro (6) ni (2) mu (6) shi (4) san (3) san (3) ya (8) mi (3) ni (2) na (7) ku (9) ko (5) ro (0, this is out of the rule) ni (2) wa (8)
= 3.1415926535897932384626433832795028 (π)

ex.3: フナ一羽、二羽、一羽、二羽、至極惜しい。 (Funa ichiwa, niwa, ichiwa, niwa, shigoku oshii.)
Meaning: One carp, two carp, one carp, two carp, I miss them very much. (This sentence is strange because it counts carp with the bird counter "wa".)
Goro: fu (2) na (7) ichi (1) wa (8) ni (2) wa (8) ichi (1) wa (8) ni (2) wa (8) shi (4) go (5) ku (9) o (0) shi (4) i (5)
= 2.718281828459045 (e)

Japanese students often use goro to memorize historical dates.

ex.4: 意欲に燃えたコロンブス。 (Iyoku ni moeta Korombusu.)
Meaning: Columbus, highly motivated.
Goro: i (1) yo (4) ku (9) ni (2) = 1492



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