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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:58 pm 
Lebom
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While discussing the use of logograms and syllabic characters in Japanese writing, Zompist provides an example from a manga. Ignoring the native writing system since it's irrelevant to my question, the sample goes:

Atashi wa oneechan to chigatte otoko nanka, daik-kirai na no.
1s topic elder.sister with differing boy* and.so.on / big distasteful is
"I don't share big sister's opinions about boys and such; I hate them."

It has always confused me how the gloss yields the translation, since the Japanese text is missing some critical details. It says nothing about opinions, only that the speaker differs from an elder sister in some unspecified manner. Nor does it specify the object of daikkirai (or more precisely its subject since it serves as a predicate). For that matter, the sentence appears ungrammatical since the verb chigatte does not end the clause and otoko nanka has no case particle. Though perhaps that reflects some complications in Japanese grammar not reflected in basic overviews.

*which seems to mean "man" by default...


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 5:22 pm 
Smeric
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It makes sense to me, but isn't it dai-kirai?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:19 pm 
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The sentence is あたしはおねーちゃんと違って男なんか、大っ嫌いなの。

The furigana for 大 is だい. I transliterated daik- to represent the っ.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:37 pm 
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Chigatte is the conjunctive form of chigau "to be different". It's not the main verb in this sentence. Oneechan to chigatte means like "unlike big sister". Kirai, or dai(k)kirai is special, because it acts like a verb, but formally it's an adjective. Kirai means dislike, and daikirai means hate (if you translate those words as verbs). Otoko nanka is the object of daikkirai here, and normally it would be followed by the particle ga. But this sentence is in casual speech wherein you can drop particles. In speech you can figure out, perhaps through prosody, what's going on; but here in writing they've marked the absence of the particle with a comma, to make it clearer.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:02 pm 
Boardlord
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Thanks, Qwynegold. I missed the bit about the comma. I'd change the translation, then, to the much simpler "Unlike big sister, I hate boys and such." "Unlike you" might be better.

(The speaker is 16, and responding to a comment from her sister that the boys at school think she's weird, so in English it would be strange to talk about "men".)


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:45 am 
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i don't think "otoko nanka ga" would be correct. That 'nanka' is difficult to describe but it's kind of like a particle in itself, so i'm pretty sure it outright replaces the subject particle. it's got a nuance of contempt, too - it's not exactly the same as saying とか, which i'd translate as 'such as'.

the translation is indeed a bit too formal and precise-sounding, and the word 'opinions' does indeed seem to come from nowhere..... but just because you don't know the japanese grammar doesn't mean it's ungrammatical or that the subject is unspecified (it's clearly 'otoko'). your issue should be with the translation, not the japanese sentence.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 4:48 pm 
Smeric
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zompist wrote:
Thanks, Qwynegold. I missed the bit about the comma. I'd change the translation, then, to the much simpler "Unlike big sister, I hate boys and such." "Unlike you" might be better.

(The speaker is 16, and responding to a comment from her sister that the boys at school think she's weird, so in English it would be strange to talk about "men".)

YW. :) Yeah, context is really important when translating Japanese.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 5:27 pm 
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I agree that nanka acts like a particle. Specifically, it's used to show disdain or contempt for what it's modifying and it commonly collocates with kirai.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:28 pm 
Lebom
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Qwynegold wrote:
zompist wrote:
Thanks, Qwynegold. I missed the bit about the comma. I'd change the translation, then, to the much simpler "Unlike big sister, I hate boys and such." "Unlike you" might be better.

(The speaker is 16, and responding to a comment from her sister that the boys at school think she's weird, so in English it would be strange to talk about "men".)

YW. :) Yeah, context is really important when translating Japanese.


I have often heard that and especially that Japanese often drops words when implied by context, although I have never understood how it works in practice. From my perspective, at least, it feels like every word I use serves some function and my sentences would hardly make sense if I dropped any of them.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:41 pm 
Boardlord
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malloc wrote:
I have often heard that, and especially that Japanese often drops words when implied by context. , although I have never understood how it works in practice. From my perspective, at least, it feels likeevery word I use serves some function and my sentences would hardly make sense if I dropped any of them.


A slightly more ruthless editor could strike out more.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:50 am 
Sanno
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zompist wrote:
malloc wrote:
I have often heard that, and especially that Japanese often drops words when implied by context. , although I have never understood how it works in practice. From my perspective, at least, it feels likeevery word I use serves some function and my sentences would hardly make sense if I dropped any of them.


A slightly more ruthless editor could strike out more.


Heard. Especially: Japanese elides implied words. Never understood, practically. Me, seems every word serves functions; sentences hardly make sense, eliding.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:17 pm 
Lebom
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Salmoneus wrote:
Heard. Especially: Japanese elides implied words. Never understood, practically. Me, seems every word serves functions; sentences hardly make sense, eliding.


Not sure about you, but I could hardly understand that post without looking at my original post.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:14 pm 
Niš
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malloc wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
Heard. Especially: Japanese elides implied words. Never understood, practically. Me, seems every word serves functions; sentences hardly make sense, eliding.


Not sure about you, but I could hardly understand that post without looking at my original post.


完全に染みるまで頭脳を日本語の考え方に浸かれば、サルモネウスさんが書いた変な英語でもすんなり耳に入り、混乱なく理解することもできるようになります。

Kanzen ni shimiru made zunō o nihongo no kangaekata ni tsukareba, Sarumoneusu-san ga kaita hen na eigo de mo sunnari mimi ni hairi, konran naku rikai suru koto mo dekiru yō ni narimasu.

completion ADV soak-in until brain OBJ Japanese-language GEN think-shape DIR immerse-in-if, Salmoneus-HON SUBJ wrote strange ADJ English-language COP even smoothly ear DIR go-into, confusion not-ADV understanding do act-of even be-doable apparent-state DIR become-POLITE.

If you immerse your brain in the Japanese language's way of thinking enough for it to really soak in, odd English like what Salmoneus wrote above will parse easily, and you'll get to where you can understand it without getting confused.

[Updated: Derpitude in quote misattribution fixed in an edit.]


Last edited by Eiríkr Útlendi on Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:59 pm 
Smeric
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You mean like what Sal wrote?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:20 pm 
Niš
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Vijay wrote:
You mean like what Sal wrote?


Derp derp. Thank you! I looked at the wrong [quote="..."] value. Fixed.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:01 am 
Lebom
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malloc wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
Heard. Especially: Japanese elides implied words. Never understood, practically. Me, seems every word serves functions; sentences hardly make sense, eliding.


Not sure about you, but I could hardly understand that post without looking at my original post.


This is very largely just an experience thing, I think. If you spoke a language which left lots of things out, as many languages do, you'd get much better at inferring what is missing in a given context.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:09 pm 
Lebom
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Curlyjimsam wrote:
This is very largely just an experience thing, I think. If you spoke a language which left lots of things out, as many languages do, you'd get much better at inferring what is missing in a given context.


But what if you infer incorrectly because the information you need is simply not present? There are many situations where such sweeping ambiguity is simply unacceptable and indeed catastrophic. Imagine working with dangerous chemicals with such ambiguous instructions explaining how to handle them, or facing charges for a capital crime under such an ambiguous law code.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:39 pm 
Smeric
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Eiríkr Útlendi wrote:
Vijay wrote:
You mean like what Sal wrote?


Derp derp. Thank you! I looked at the wrong
... wrote:
value. Fixed.

No worries. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:26 am 
Sumerul
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malloc wrote:
Curlyjimsam wrote:
This is very largely just an experience thing, I think. If you spoke a language which left lots of things out, as many languages do, you'd get much better at inferring what is missing in a given context.


But what if you infer incorrectly because the information you need is simply not present? There are many situations where such sweeping ambiguity is simply unacceptable and indeed catastrophic. Imagine working with dangerous chemicals with such ambiguous instructions explaining how to handle them, or facing charges for a capital crime under such an ambiguous law code.

Think about it for a damn second. Obviously such things aren't written in an ambiguous way. And sometimes they most certainly are incorrectly understood, but that's the same for English too. A lot of what goes on in court rooms is people arguing over semantics.

In other words, just because Japanese can leave out information, doesn't mean it has to. You can write every subject and object if you want. It's just not good style in speech.

考えろさ!明らかに、そんなことは曖昧に書いてない。でも本当は、たまに正しく別れてない。英語でもあるよ。裁判所では意味を議論することはたくさんあるの。
Think!! Obviously, don't write such things ambigously. But really, sometimes don't correctly understand. English also has. In courts, there is a lot of arguing meanings.

ていうより、日本語では抜かすことが出来ても、しなくちゃいい。欲しかった、全ての主語を書いてもいいけど、普通の話ではやらない方がいい
Said better, in Japanese even though can leave out, not doing's fine. If wanted, writing all subjects is also fine but, in normal conversation not doing is better


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:35 am 
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To be fair, it did take until after the Meiji Restoration for the Japanese to realise that renga format was unsuitable for law codes and a lot of innocent people (both samurai and peasants) died unnecessarily before the existing statutes could be completely changed over.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:30 pm 
Avisaru
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malloc wrote:
But what if you infer incorrectly because the information you need is simply not present? There are many situations where such sweeping ambiguity is simply unacceptable and indeed catastrophic. Imagine working with dangerous chemicals with such ambiguous instructions explaining how to handle them, or facing charges for a capital crime under such an ambiguous law code.


In my experience in Japanese, if the information is left out, it's almost always what most people with simply infer given the context. If you need to provide something else, you can, and that's perfectly fine. It's more an elimination of redundancy than it is an elimination of information (and, if I may be cynical, provides more space to stuff in the million extra syllables to add to be polite).

In other words, if two people are discussing an airplane, at the beginning it'll be established that they're talking about an airplane—and then for the rest of the conversation, they don't need to keep saying "the airplane" or even "it"; until the actual context/subject is established as something else, it's known that they're still discussing the airplane.

But much like in English, where you can still elide information for the sake of brevity (e.g. "What color is the pen?" "Red" instead of "The pen is red." or "It's red" or "The color of the pen is red"), when information is important to be clearly communicated, it is. Much like how American laws are written with far more words than a person explaining the concept would use. We all elide in everyday speech, and stop eliding when it's important; Japanese is just willing to elide a whole lot more than English is, on the whole.


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