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More from "The Little Prince"

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More from "The Little Prince"

Postby sampaguita » Wed 08.12.2009 9:16 am

Hello everyone,

Here are more phrases from The Little Prince that I have difficulty with. Although I get the general idea of the sentence, I cannot understand the Japanese grammar itself. Specifically, I couldn't understand the words in bold. Could you please help me? Thank you!

1. しじゅう、これはこうだと説明しなければならないようだと、子どもは、くたびれてしまうんですがね。
2.おとなたちのようすを、すぐそばで見ました
3.一週間の飲み水が、あるかないくらいでした
4. すると、どうでしょう、おどろいたことに、夜があけると、へんな、小さな声がするので、ぼくは目をさましました。
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Re: More from "The Little Prince"

Postby NileCat » Wed 08.12.2009 9:38 am

First one,

I'll give you a simpler example.

だれも いない      nobody (is ) here
だれも いない ようだ  it seems nobody (is) here
だれも いない ようだ と the function of と here can be ' then ' or ' since' or 'if '

Strictly speaking, the example above differs somewhat from your sentence,
but I think it helps you to analyse yours rather than some explanation of its complicated definition. 
Last edited by NileCat on Wed 08.12.2009 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: More from "The Little Prince"

Postby NileCat » Wed 08.12.2009 9:58 am

Second,

すぐ / そば / で / 見ました
I suppose now you understood.

すぐ そば (you can take it as one word if you like) means ' close distance in space '/' very near '
すぐ そば で means ' at close ' ( like... next to... or near by... )
the work of すぐ is something like "very" here. You could confirm it with your dictionary.

Thus, when he was watching the grown-ups, he was located near by them.
Ok ?
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Re: More from "The Little Prince"

Postby NileCat » Wed 08.12.2009 10:16 am

Next,

ある か ない くらい でした

This sentense sounds a little bit unnatural to me, but perfectly makes sense at least.

Literally translated,
is / or / isn't / like that / it was

In English, when you say ' I can take it or leave it ', you would mean you're in between, but generally it can mean 'almost no' depends on the context. Correct ?
It's a bit similar to that. Means that the amount of water was ' small ' or in between ' enough ' and ' not enough '.
Last edited by NileCat on Wed 08.12.2009 10:36 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: More from "The Little Prince"

Postby NileCat » Wed 08.12.2009 10:23 am

Last one, ....Wow !

すると then
どうでしょう guess what?
おどろいたことに to my surprise
夜があけると when the night was over
へんな strange (→ voice)
小さな声がするので because I heard a little voice
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Re: More from "The Little Prince"

Postby sampaguita » Thu 08.13.2009 11:00 am

NileCat-san,

Thank you very much for the detailed translations!

I have a question though. Can "kurai" in sentence 5 be replaced by "hodo"?

Thank you again!



NileCat wrote:Next,

ある か ない くらい でした

This sentense sounds a little bit unnatural to me, but perfectly makes sense at least.

Literally translated,
is / or / isn't / like that / it was

In English, when you say ' I can take it or leave it ', you would mean you're in between, but generally it can mean 'almost no' depends on the context. Correct ?
It's a bit similar to that. Means that the amount of water was ' small ' or in between ' enough ' and ' not enough '.
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Re: More from "The Little Prince"

Postby NileCat » Thu 08.13.2009 12:26 pm

Wow, it's actually a difficult question !
I vividly understand what you're wondering about.
In most situations, kurai and hodo is interchangeable.
Yes, you are right grammatically.
あるかないほどでした。 is grammatically correct.

But the thing is, ...like...well... " how popular the expression is ? "
3.一週間の飲み水が、あるかないくらいでした。

If I were the auther, I would say,

一週間分の飲み水が、あるかないかというくらいでした。
一週間分の飲み水が、あるかないかというほどでした。
一週間分の飲み水が、あるかないかという程度でした。

I added "分(ぶん)" and " という" in order to make the meaning clearer.
The three sentences I made up could sound more natural than the sentence in your book, at least to nomal Japanese today.
But, you know, this is " literature ".
Take, O.Henry's short novels, for instance.
There are tons of old expressions in them, aren't there ?
And If I were the professional translater, I would try to keep the old nuances in them.

Well, did my explanation make any sense to you ? :roll:
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Re: More from "The Little Prince"

Postby NileCat » Thu 08.13.2009 12:52 pm

Easier example:

Q. いくら持ってますか? How much money do you have ?(with you/right now)
A. あのパンが買えるか買えないかというくらいです。 I :roll: something something.. (to buy that bread)
  あのパンが買えるか買えないかというほどです。
  あのパンが買えるか買えないかという程度です。

How much does he actually have ?
Who konws ! :oops:
But he's telling that he doen't have much. That's for sure.
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Re: More from "The Little Prince"

Postby sampaguita » Fri 08.14.2009 8:36 am

説明してくれてありがとうございました! Your explanation was very helpful.

I understand it better now. Here's a grammar question though:

Why is it というほど/くらい

not

ということほどくらい?

Thank you!
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Re: More from "The Little Prince"

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 08.14.2009 8:50 am

ほど is a nominal/noun, so you can modify it directly with a verb (いう). ことほど is just two nouns stuck together so isn't correct in this context.
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Re: More from "The Little Prince"

Postby NileCat » Fri 08.14.2009 9:02 am

Great explanation !
Thank you, Chris !

EDIT:
I, by myself, wouldn't have been able to answer to the question clearly like you.
I had never thought about that and only had taken that for granted.
This forum is very inspiring to me.
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Re: More from "The Little Prince"

Postby sampaguita » Sat 08.15.2009 7:44 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:ほど is a nominal/noun, so you can modify it directly with a verb (いう). ことほど is just two nouns stuck together so isn't correct in this context.


But in the usage:

A wa B hodo <adjective> ja nai.


It would seem like it's an adverb, right? Thanks!
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Re: More from "The Little Prince"

Postby furrykef » Sat 08.15.2009 8:50 am

You could say it's a noun used adverbially. ;) Or maybe even like a conjunction.

To be honest, I don't think the grammar of it really makes sense on a logical level; it's just the way hodo is used. It's nice to be able to break things down neatly into nouns, adverbs, conjunctions, etc., but there's always something that throws a monkey wrench into it -- especially when dealing with a language like Japanese, which is an utterly unconventional language by western standards. :) After all, our understanding of parts of speech, while reasonably applicable to many languages, is still "optimized" for western languages.

- Kef
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
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Re: More from "The Little Prince"

Postby sampaguita » Sat 08.15.2009 10:26 pm

furrykef,

i agree. :D
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