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Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by Ghabi, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. Ghabi

    Ghabi Moderator

    Cantonese (Hong Kong)
    Hello everyone! Is the following highlighted sentence from Akutagawa Ryūnosuke's well-known story (鼻) idiomatic Japanese?


    According to this forum, the structure is simply a calque from English. Can you shed some light on this? Thanks a lot!
  2. mikun Senior Member

    Chiba Japan
    Well, it seems to mimic the English 'too to' structure.
    Sometimes these unusual or difficult phrase gives us an image that author has high intelligence in old days.
    There are saying, ’頼らしむべし、知らしむべからず’.
  3. frequency

    frequency Senior Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    Due to his ugly nose, he doesn't like the things like, 'Oh~ he's married despite of the nose' or 'Oh~ he's unmarried because of the nose'. He's too delicate to confront such an issue; therefore the way of avoiding marriage for him is to become a monk. The preceding sentence mentions, according to the person on the forum, that he feels like to be bothered by mockery, whichever he is.

    結果的な事実である、妻帯ということに左右される・・ is different from how influential a marriage is, and from any practical, general influences, e.g. distrubance in your free, easy single life. To him, an onwer of ugly nose, marriage is problematic: His pride is (was) too delicate to be swayed by marriage, a consequent fact.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
  4. Ghabi

    Ghabi Moderator

    Cantonese (Hong Kong)
    Thanks both for answering! So can we say that the sentence is unnatural Japanese? Does that strike a native speaker as odd?
  5. Wishfull Senior Member

    His sense of pride was too delicate to be influenced by the resulting fact that he has a wife.

    This sentence is thought to be a translated style, 翻訳体, 翻訳口調.
    This sentence adopts the style which is not the traditional Japanese style. It adopts the style as though it's a literal translation of English sentences.

    The style of the sentence is a little difficult for native Japanese speakers.
    However, almost all native Japanese speakers (or at least native Japanese people who have graduated from universities) can understand the style, because they are taught the 翻訳体、翻訳口調, when they are in junior-high or high schools.

    Nevertheless, I don't think the sentence is good. I don't think the sentence makes much sense at first. It takes a long time to interpret the meaning of it. I have to consider and interpret the sentence as though it were a foreign language.

    We might admire the sentence because we know that it was written by Akutagawa.
    If it was written by a non-native Japanese speaker or by a student, we would probably make a proofreading and correct the sentence into a easier-to-understand sentence.
  6. frequency

    frequency Senior Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    To us, that doesn't sound unnatural, because we're accustomed with calques/usages made through English expressions. Omitting ため would make this one finer, but that doesn't affect the whole much. I am not sure how the people how read (indeed, they could rightly get what they should from this?) and felt in the age when 芥川 was active.
  7. Ghabi

    Ghabi Moderator

    Cantonese (Hong Kong)
    Thanks a lot Wishfull and Frequency for your insights! So informative! Much appreciated!

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