親密な関係にある目上の人

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

  1. wonlon Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese - Cantonese
    It is from a grammar book:
    丁寧さを表すxxxを付ければ、親密な関係にある目上の人に対しても用いることができる。

    If it was 親密な関係ある目上の人 , I would have understood. But I have a problem if it is 親密な関係にある目上の人. It concerns about the use of に which I still have not completely grasped.

    Would you explain the phrase and the use of here?
     
  2. blutorange2 Junior Member

    Saxony
    German
    Rule of thumb: に(ni)=in (location, in space, time or abstract)
    ~な関係にある人 => people (who are) in such a relationship
    に's fundamental meaning is to indicate a location, and here we are talking about people who are metaphorically "located in" (=>part of) a relationship.
     
  3. wonlon Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese - Cantonese
    Thanks a lot, I actually didn't know に can be used to mean metaphorical location.
     
  4. blutorange2 Junior Member

    Saxony
    German
    As another rule of thumb, pretty much anything can be used metaphorically, especially common vague words with many meanings. and metaphors of the type X is space or X is time are common in English as well, to the point we don't even notice. there is a good book by steven pinker if you're interested.
     

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