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Translation issue. Dialect?

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Translation issue. Dialect?

Postby Issac » Wed 09.28.2005 6:30 am

Hi all. I've been practicing my reading skills with hiragana using a manga called よつば. I kept reading then randomly decided to try to translate something, so I went through my dictionaries. I just couldn't figure it out.

なにしてるのかな?

I know that なに is obviously "what" and の is the joining particle "and."
But what about everything else?

In the scene, a little girl has climbed up a telephone pole and the older women is shouting up at her, in distress. This is a rather specific question, but do any of you have advice on how I could figure this out on my own next time?
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RE: Translation issue. Dialect?

Postby Daichi » Wed 09.28.2005 6:49 am

I think this means something like "I wonder what you're doing" or "What are you doing?".
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RE: Translation issue. Dialect?

Postby Issac » Wed 09.28.2005 6:53 am

"してる"

What is that? I looked it up and found nothing.
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RE: Translation issue. Dialect?

Postby Daichi » Wed 09.28.2005 7:12 am

I'm only a beginner, but I thought shiteru was the plain form of "to know", although like you I couldn't find it. I suspect it has a different meaning here though.

'nani', as you say means 'what'.
'no', is the possessive particle, and I'm not familiar with it meaning 'and'.
and 'kana' is 'I wonder'

With this information I was able to make a reasonable guess at the meaning.

Luckily, however, I Googled the phrase, and would you know it... this is also a line from a song!
http://www.corichan.com/lyrics/albums/ai-2004a.i.html#15
Last edited by Daichi on Wed 09.28.2005 7:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Translation issue. Dialect?

Postby lomagu » Wed 09.28.2005 7:31 am

ya, it does mean, "what are you doing?" but here, の is actually a question marker. の has many uses.

してる is the "ing" form of する - to do... i.e., "doing". It's actually している but people often use してる when talking informally. かな is just kinda like "I wonder". I don't think you need to add it in English unless the woman is thinking to herself.
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RE: Translation issue. Dialect?

Postby Issac » Wed 09.28.2005 7:35 am

Er, oops. I'm an extreme beginner, so it's not uncommon for me to mix up things. x_x So no is possesive, thanks. Mistakes to learn?

Anyway, my paper dictionary doesn't have it, nor any variation of it. Honestly, I'm confused.
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RE: Translation issue. Dialect?

Postby Daichi » Wed 09.28.2005 7:36 am

Thanks Iomagu. Verb forms are far from being my forté, so it was only a matter of time before I got stumped by the notorious 'suru'!

Also, thanks for clarifying the 'no' for me, I couldn't at all figure out what it was doing there!

I didn't think the "I wonder" was necessary in the translation either, but I thought it best to suggest both variations.
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RE: Translation issue. Dialect?

Postby Issac » Wed 09.28.2005 7:46 am

Could someone link me to a lesson on how that systematically works, please? And by this, I mean conjugations of "suru" because I'm quite confused. :P

And thanks for the help on this. =D
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RE: Translation issue. Dialect?

Postby Daichi » Wed 09.28.2005 9:26 am

http://japanese.about.com/blverb3.htm

I think I'll take a good look at that myself, actually.:p
Last edited by Daichi on Wed 09.28.2005 9:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Translation issue. Dialect?

Postby skrhgh3b » Wed 09.28.2005 5:06 pm

let me break it up for you piece by piece. it's a simple sentence, but the grammar is obviously new to you.

なにしてるのかな?

なに, as i'm sure we're all familiar, is the question word "what" in this sentence. note that this sentence is in casual japanese, most likely because it's the speaker's monologue question. so, as is common in casual speech, the direct object marker を has been dropped following なに. the explanation of してる is a little more involved, but is essential japanese grammar. する is the all purpose verb "to do" or "to make," but the question isn't what will you do, but what are you doing and continuing to do right now. this is expressed in japenese by the so-called て-form of verbs plus the verb いる, which means to exist. so, "the state of doing exists" --> "doing." think of it as their -ing gerund form. however, in casual conversation, 〜ている is often contracted to てる, so i hope you can begin to see how なにしてる means "what are (you) doing?" oh, i forgot の. to make it simple, the particle の can express reason in japanese, and since this is a question, it's asking for an explanation. lastly, かな is a combination of the particles か and な, and as i foreshadowed earlier, expresses the speaker's monoluge question, "i wonder." so, we have "i wonder what you're doing," or "i wonder what you're up to," or something along those lines. but since it may be illicting a response, a simple "what're you doing?" could be enough.
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RE: Translation issue. Dialect?

Postby Daichi » Thu 09.29.2005 6:56 am

so, we have "i wonder what you're doing," or "i wonder what you're up to," or something along those lines. but since it may be illicting a response, a simple "what're you doing?" could be enough.


Thanks, skrhgh3b, it was good of you to break it down like that.

Although I'd eventually managed to understand the construction of the sentence, I'm terrible at describing the break-down to others!

I'm a little curious however, about the 'I wonder'.
Is this another example of the Japanese avoidance of confrontational speech? They say "I wonder what you are doing?" instead of demanding to know "What are you doing?"?
Last edited by Daichi on Thu 09.29.2005 6:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Translation issue. Dialect?

Postby Issac » Thu 09.29.2005 11:50 am

I need a lesson that fully explains in plain english how the two irregular verbs work. My head is spinning, and I really don't understand a thing...

While any of you were learning Japanese, did you come across any useful pages that explained the irregular verbs (i.e. suru)? I looked at about's page and it didn't give me enough info on suru, or I couldn't understand what the heck she was talking about. It was just a 3-page basic overview of ALL verbs, and I'm looking for something that concentrates on the irregular ones...

Thanks so much for any help.
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RE: Translation issue. Dialect?

Postby skrhgh3b » Thu 09.29.2005 12:09 pm

this isn't complete, merely off the top of my head, but i hope it helps you a little.

present/future: する
present/future negative: しない
past: した
past negative: しなかった
te-form: して
volitional: しよう
potential: できる
causative: させる

present/future: くる
present/future negative: こない
past: きた
past negative: こなかった
te-form: きて
volitional: こよう
potential: こられる
causative: こさせる
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RE: Translation issue. Dialect?

Postby Harisenbon » Thu 09.29.2005 6:51 pm

Daichi wrote:
I'm a little curious however, about the 'I wonder'.
Is this another example of the Japanese avoidance of confrontational speech? They say "I wonder what you are doing?" instead of demanding to know "What are you doing?"?


It's strange, but when I look at that sentence, I don't hear it as someone chiding someone at all. It actually seems like the speaker is talking to herself. I don't think you really wouldn't say かな if you were asking someone what they were doing.

I could be being used rhetorically, towards the little girl, but even then, it doesn't feel very japanese. I could be completely off my rocker, but that's just the feeling I get from it.

Can you type out the sentences around it? I'm kind of curious about the context.
Last edited by Harisenbon on Thu 09.29.2005 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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