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間に合わない, etc.

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間に合わない, etc.

Postby Frobnitz » Tue 08.25.2009 10:44 am

Hello; I have questions regarding a couple phrases in a shounen manga.

1. A teenage boy's father has died. The two had a poor relationship while the father was alive. Eventually, the boy finds a letter written to him by his father expressing his love. The boy breaks down crying and says:

「父はいない。もうなに一つ間に合わない」

I know that もう間に合わない would be "it's too late now" and that 何一つ is used generally to intensify negative phrases. I would assume that this would thereby translate into something like "I was just too late" (for us to build a good relationship, for me to apologize, etc.), though it doesn't really sound natural here. "I won't ever see him again", in an odd, roundabout sense, or "nothing will bring him back"? Would that be extrapolating too far?

2. A middle-aged executive is reviewing a younger associate's project proposal (which is more a personal endeavor with which he is asking help than official business). The executive is fond of the associate but finds him amusing and a bit dumb. He agrees to help, though, replying:

「建築資材の調達雑務なぞ任せて下さい」

(There might be a comma or such intended between 調達 and 雑務; the arrangement of the words on the page obscures this.)

It's a very small distinction, but is he saying "leave the drudgery of getting the building supplies (and such) to me" or "leave getting the building supplies and your other drudgery to me"?

どうぞよろしくお願いしますね。
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Re: 間に合わない, etc.

Postby NileCat » Tue 08.25.2009 2:03 pm

Hi, Frobnitz.

I'm afraid I might not be competent enough to answer your question, because it seems to be a matter of nuance in English. Anyway,
「父はいない。もうなに一つ間に合わない」

Dad has gone now, therefore, it's too late (to tell him something I should have told or whatever).
Meaningwise, it sounds natural and appropriate to the situation in Japanese.

「建築資材の調達雑務なぞ任せて下さい」

The basic meaning is:
"leave the drudgery of getting the building supplies (and such) to me"

But well...I can't rule out the possibility that means the latter. (Especially when it has a comma)

Well.. both two sentences sound kind of colloquial.
In the spoken conversation, the meaning and the nuance often changes by the context or the character's personality.

Hope it helps.
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