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Need help with a sentence from Harry Potter

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Need help with a sentence from Harry Potter

Postby ピーター » Sun 08.22.2010 10:55 am

I've finally gotten around to looking at my Japanese copy of Harry Potter, and overall, it doesn't seem so bad, at least grammar wise. Obviously there's a lot of vocab and some kanji I don't understand, so I'm using a dictionary a lot, but that was to be expected. There's one sentence really puzzling me though.

It's talking about the Dursley's son, Dudley, established in the preceeding sentence:

 ダーズリー夫妻にはダドリーという男の子がいた。
 The Dursleys had a boy called Dudley.

This sentence is causing me trouble:
 どこを探したってこんなにできのいい子はいやしない、というのが二人の親バカのいけんだった。

I understand the second part after the comma (and appreciated the translator's wordplay in making the ばか in 親ばか katakana), but I'm not sure what to make of the first part. Going by the fact that it obviously has to be a positive opinion of him, as it is described in the second part of the sentence of an opinion of some overly proud/doting parents, I can guess what it's saying in general, but I'm having trouble understanding it.
I particularly don't understand the function of the very first part, the どこを探したって, and the last part before the comma, いやしない. いやし seems to only mean comfort in the dictionaries I've looked in, but in that case I don't seem how it can make sense. Is there an ichidan verb いやしる which I just haven't found?

I'd guess it's saying something like, wherever you look, he's a good child with good grades, and then saying that that is the opinion of the boy's two overly fond parents, but I can't see how it says that. Thanks for any help.
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Re: Need help with a sentence from Harry Potter

Postby becki_kanou » Sun 08.22.2010 11:59 am

This たって is similar to ても so どこを探しても "no matter where you look".

I think where you went wrong was how you broke it up it's not いやし ない, but い(居)や しない. It's similar to いるはずがない or いったりはしない "there's no way/ no such thing" but can have a slightly sarcastic nuance to it.

So put them together and you get. "No matter where you looked you'd never find a finer child... at least that was the opinion of his two doting parents.

The original sentence for comparison is BTW "in their opinion there was no finer boy anywhere."
そうだ、嬉しいんだ、生きる喜び!
例え胸の傷が痛んでも。
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Re: Need help with a sentence from Harry Potter

Postby ピーター » Sun 08.22.2010 12:48 pm

 Ah, I see now. I never thought to try and seperate it up like that, although both that and the first part make sense now you've clarified it.

 Thanks for the help.
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Re: Need help with a sentence from Harry Potter

Postby Kukaelio'ono » Sun 08.22.2010 5:02 pm

Becki_kanou

Could you explain more of iya shinai (sorry I'm typing this on my phone and I don't have Japanese text) such as in examples and etc? Or maybe a site where they teach that kind of grammar (besides tae Kim's). Thanks!
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Re: Need help with a sentence from Harry Potter

Postby becki_kanou » Sun 08.22.2010 8:22 pm

It's colloquial version of い は しない with the contrasting は. It's stronger than just いない and has a bit of a feeling of there's no such thing, no reason that such a thing should exist.

Here are a few example sentences from google.
オバケなんていやしない. There's no such thing as ghosts.

たとえば、こんな鶏、現実にはいやしない. Chickens like these, for example, which in reality don't even exist. (comment on a screen painting of chickens)

だって、登場人物がカッコいいんだもん。こんな人現実にはいやしないよ. I mean, the characters are just so cool. These kind of people don't really exist.

この世の中に河童など本当はいやしないんだ。In this world there's really no such thing as Kappa (water demons), you know.
そうだ、嬉しいんだ、生きる喜び!
例え胸の傷が痛んでも。
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Re: Need help with a sentence from Harry Potter

Postby Kukaelio'ono » Sun 08.22.2010 11:37 pm

Ok I see now. Thank you!
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