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Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by akuto, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. akuto Junior Member

    French-France / English-Australia
    Hello all, I'm struggling with a sentence in a 1957 text I'm translating as an exercise, and would love to have your opinion. The problem is deciding who's doing what in one particular sentence.


    I'm having trouble grasping the meaning of the 解るまと言う顔 and 命じ直したり in this context.
    In this sense, is it really= 解らないだろう or actually something like 解らないつもりだ, and most of all, who is saying the name of a dish in English and who's making the face ... I guess the situation is the father, ordering in a restaurant, and there is a waiter.
    Is it the father, ordering in english, and the waiter's face who seems to not want to understand, or the waiter who's giving the name of a dish thinking the father will not understand ?

    Right now I'm translating into something like this, but I'm really not sure about the meaning of this sentence, ie who is saying 料理の名. I think it's the waiter who's doing the talking and has the look on his face, but it's still strange because the father repeats ? corrects? the order in correct English....

    my father would usually get upset about trivial things, that most people usually wouldn't care about. He'd get angry when someone would treat him like a country bumpkin,

    1 or when someone would give him the name of dish in English, with a look on their face saying he'll never understand. My father would the repeat the order straight away, in correct English.

    2 or when he'd say the name of a dish in English, and the waiter would look at him like he didn't understand. My father would the repeat the order straight away, in correct English.

    3 or when a waiter would say the name of a dish in English, my father would look at him with a look saying I can't understand. My father would then would then correct the order in English.

    Any tips on deciding who's doing what? thanks for your input.

  2. kinakosan New Member


    I don't know who exactly "彼ら" are but they are the one who make the face that they think he doesn't know the name of the food when they say it in English.

    命じ直す、he corrects it with the right English.

    My father gets mad at things that people usually don't care.
    He gets mad when they treat him like a hillbilly, or when they make a face thinking he doesn't even know what it is when they say the name of the food in English.
    He immediately corrects it with the right English or there was one time...

    Hope it helped!
  3. akuto Junior Member

    French-France / English-Australia
    thanks, it's really very helpful. For 彼等、the sentence before mentions diffrent people like a train master, rickshaw driver and "精養軒のボオイ”, so I she's probably talking about the Seiyôkan restaurant's waiter.

    With this in mind, how do you understand 正しい英語で命じ直したり? I see you wrote "correct", but in this context I'm not sure, since 直す has two meanings. If it's the waiter giving the name, I think it's either that the father "corrects the order" (which is a little strange, i think, since it would mean the waiter made a mistake in giving the name of the dish), "repeats the order" or "continues his order" in English (to show that he speaks English well. The father talked about here is actually... Mori Ôgai).
    thanks again

  4. Nobu.0

    Nobu.0 Senior Member

    Overall, I think your translation no.1 is the right one.

    And yeah, I'm also having difficulty in 命じ直す (believe me I'm a Japanese...).

    One point is that they don't use 命ずる to mean to place an order, at least in modern Japanese. But assuming this conversation is taking place in a restaurant, this has to mean ordering.

    On the use of 直す, when this verb is attached to another verb, it always means to do something again. (e.g. やり直す, 書き直す, 作り直す) It is only when the verb is used alone that it means to correct.

    Another difficulty is that I don't quite see what happened when between whom. My guess about the context in chronological order is that:

    1) The waiter says a name of dish in 'incorrect' English, like in a shortened form, English pronounced like Japanese or possibly translated into Japanese.
    2) The father notices the look on the waiter's face saying he'll never understand, and gets mad.
    3) So the father repeats the name of the dish in authentic English.​

    If something like this is what's going on in the passage, the translation of it would be he repeats the order right away in correct English.

    Hope this help!

    Nobu :)
  5. Flaminius

    Flaminius coclea mod

    capita Iaponiae
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    The Japanese language surely changed a lot in the modern times. I am not sure if they used 命ずる for ordering food in restaurants some 50 years ago, but I'd like to take into account that 森茉莉 (akuto, I believe it's one of her essays that you are reading. Please always source your quotes, thanks!) is speaking about her father. So she may be telling the story in a language that he would have used in recounting the same.
  6. frequency

    frequency Senior Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    Akuto, the sentence doesn't specially mention that he has selected the dish, because whether or not to order it once again isn't important here. I think this sentence says that he corrected the error by mentioning, giving a sample how he had a short temper.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  7. akuto Junior Member

    French-France / English-Australia
    this is from 『父の帽子』by 森茉莉 (1957), an extract we were working on this extract in translation class. Which means I got a correction for it. In the versions the teachers in charge (5 of them, but none native speakers I must say) understood the sentences as the restaurant waiter speaking, and 命じ直す as repeating the order.
    This is is the translation they offered :
    "ou encore par exemple quand un serveur prononçait le nom des plats en anglais en ayant l’air de penser qu’il ne pourrait pas comprendre. Dans ces cas-là, mon père répétait aussitôt la commande en bon anglais."

    a rough translation in English would be "when a waiter would say the name of a dish in English as if my father wouldn't be able to understand it. In such cases, my father would repeat the order straight away, in good English."
    They chose to add the waiter, but I must say i'm still not sure this is 100% correct after reading your comments.

    The version I gave in was more neutral, I left out the waiter and chose a slightly ambiguous verb:

    (ce qui le faisait bouillir, c'était d'être traité comme un vieux rustre)

    "ou comme s'il était incapable de comprendre le nom d'un plat donné en anglais.Mon père le reprenait alors aussitôt, dans un anglais impeccable"

    In French "reprendre" has a dual meaning of "repeating" and "correcting someone's mistake" which struck me as pretty adequate in this case.

    anyway, thanks for your helpful and instructive input


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