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いいじゃないか

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いいじゃないか

Postby Michael_SD » Tue 01.26.2010 2:10 pm

タイで働く日本人が「タイでは、なかなか物事がきまらないと思っていると、ある日突然きまる」と不満を言うのを聞いたことがある。タイでは「あらかじめておく」ということがあまりない。「きまりですから」もタイ語には訳しづらい。代わりにタイには"Mai pen rai"という言葉がある。「気にするな、ま、いいじゃないか」という意味で、どんなに常識的で正当な理由もこの言葉にはかなわない。

"I have heard Japanese people working in Thailand express their discontent, saying 'I think that in Thailand, when matters just don't get decided, they will be, one day -- (but) suddenly.' In Thailand, there is really no 'do so in advance.' It's even difficult to translate 'because it's a custom' into Thai. Instead, in Thailand the words are 'Mai pen rai'. That means, 'if you feel like doing so, well, that's okay, isn't it?' That's an argument (those words) I couldn't prevail against, with any number of common-sense, legitimate reasons."



I think I have a handle on everything in that passage, give or take, except the final sentence (which is highlighted in blue).

The final sentence is the only one I really had a question about, and of that, really only about the [気にするな、ま、いいじゃないか] part. As far as I can tell, that's fairly colloquial. And [いいじゃないか] is something I don't totally understand yet. Could [いいじゃないか] be rewritten (with the same basic meaning) as [よくないか]? What is a good reading for [気にするな、ま、いいじゃないか]?



Thanks in advance for any corrections, explanations.
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Re: いいじゃないか

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 01.26.2010 2:15 pm

じゃないか? or じゃない? can be added to anything to mean "Isn't it X?" or "X, right?" or the like. If the question mark is absent so that the intonation is falling, it's more of a rhetorical question and just means "X, I guess" or something like that.

よくないか? can sometimes mean the same thing as いいじゃない?, but it's a bit ambiguous because it can also mean "It's not good?" いいじゃないか can only mean "It's good, isn't it?" because いいじゃない is not a grammatical way to negate いい.

気にするな - don't worry
ま、 - well then
いいじゃないか. - It's OK, I guess.

ま、いいじゃないか is a pretty common phrase to basically mean "Hey, it's OK." IMO substituting よくないか here is not natural.

(Note that when this comes after nouns, it's ambiguous and depends on context and vocal intonation -- that is, 先生じゃないか could either mean "He's not a teacher?" or "He's a teacher, right?")
-Chris Kern
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Re: いいじゃないか

Postby Michael_SD » Wed 01.27.2010 3:34 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:じゃないか? or じゃない? can be added to anything to mean "Isn't it X?" or "X, right?" or the like. If the question mark is absent so that the intonation is falling, it's more of a rhetorical question and just means "X, I guess" or something like that.
I appreciate your going into detail on this point. I had seen [じゃないか] once in the past, and thought it an anomaly, but having seen it a second time, and especially your pointing out in your post that [いいじゃないか] is pretty commonly seen, now with your explanation, I finally feel confident with this phrase.
Yudan Taiteki wrote:よくないか? can sometimes mean the same thing as いいじゃない?, but it's a bit ambiguous because it can also mean "It's not good?" いいじゃないか can only mean "It's good, isn't it?" because いいじゃない is not a grammatical way to negate いい.
Got it. Your alertly pointing out about いいじゃない not being grammatical way to negate いい really explains a lot, very concisely.
Yudan Taiteki wrote:気にするな - don't worry
ま、 - well then
いいじゃないか. - It's OK, I guess.
That usage of な was new to me, but I will keep an eye out for it being used in that way in the future.
Yudan Taiteki wrote:ま、いいじゃないか is a pretty common phrase to basically mean "Hey, it's OK." IMO substituting よくないか here is not natural.
That's totally doable for me. I knew they'd be different at times, but wasn't sure until you pointed it out, here.
Yudan Taiteki wrote:(Note that when this comes after nouns, it's ambiguous and depends on context and vocal intonation -- that is, 先生じゃないか could either mean "He's not a teacher?" or "He's a teacher, right?")
I learned a lot here and my notebook got a bit fuller. Thanks for the enlightenment on these points.:)
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Re: いいじゃないか

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 01.27.2010 4:42 pm

Michael_SD wrote:
Yudan Taiteki wrote:気にするな - don't worry
That usage of な was new to me, but I will keep an eye out for it being used in that way in the future.


Any plain verb + な becomes a negative imperative (i.e. "Don't do X!") It's a very direct and often rude imperative , so a number of the uses you'll see will be in cases like the one you quoted -- this person is "quoting" something he's thinking to himself, so the "rude" imperative is fine.
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Re: いいじゃないか

Postby Michael_SD » Fri 01.29.2010 9:37 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:Any plain verb + な becomes a negative imperative (i.e. "Don't do X!") It's a very direct and often rude imperative , so a number of the uses you'll see will be in cases like the one you quoted -- this person is "quoting" something he's thinking to himself, so the "rude" imperative is fine.
The first-year textbook I used (up to about a year and a half ago) was excellent, but one of its very few weak points was that it barely mentioned commands/imperatives, other than the [~てください], [~ないでください], [~てくださいませんか], and [~ないでくださいませんか], and my intermediate textbook doesn't teach them at all, explicitly, if I recall correctly, and so I appreciate your clarifying that point about the negative imperative.
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