Numerals are easy to understand, so we often don’t think of the sound until we get asked to read it out loud.
The proper word for “decimal point” in Japanese is 小数点 but when it’s used in a number, we read it as just 点 and temperature is normally measured with Celsius in Japan, so ℃ is usually just 度 . That makes it possible to read 36.3 ℃ in the picture above as 三十六点三度 , which is not wrong but …
Talking about 体温 (body temperature)
If we are talking about a body temperature, most people will read it as 三十六度 三分. This 分 (please note it’s read as ぶ, not ぶん) is the unit for one-tenth of 1.
Similar usage to this is:
レポートは九分通りできあがっていた。The report was almost (literally 90%) finished.
Talking about 気温 (atmospheric temperature)
However, if we are talking about atmospheric temperature, it can be different. According to the article whose link is given below, a survey conducted in the year 2000 showed that 60% of the participants read it as 三十六度 三分 and that most people who read it as 三十六点三度 were younger people. It could mean that these days, 23 years after the survey, more people prefer 三十六点三度 and the article mentions that some people claim that 三十六度 三分 refers to a body temperature only and they feel uneasy when they hear 三十六度 三分 being used for an atmospheric temperature.
By the way, a thermometer in general is called 温度計 but a thermometer for body temperatures is called 体温計.
Other Expression relating to Body Temperature
|熱||fever, a body temperature higher than usual|
|熱がある||to have a fever, to be feverish|
|熱が出る||(for a person) to become feverish, to run a temperature|
|平熱||the normal temperature|
|高熱||a high fever, a high temperature|
|熱が下がる||for a fever to go down|
|熱を測る||to take one’s temperature|
摂氏 and 華氏
Earlier I said ℃ is usually just 度 but if you want to emphasise “Celsius,” we use the word 摂氏 before the number (i.e. 摂氏三十六点三度 ).
If it’s Fahrenheit, that would be 華氏三十六点三度 .
I hope you have found this article interesting!
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One thought on “How to read temperature in Japanese”
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