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Six sentences with four problems

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Six sentences with four problems

Postby space_bubble » Wed 11.25.2009 8:35 am

As I was reading another 読み物 from my textbook, I found a paragraph in the middle of it containing six sentences, four of them having parts/words that I thought about, but couldn’t totally figure out. Following the text of the paragraph, I want to submit the readings I get for sentences in question, along with my questions about the things I don’t understand, if that’s OK.


本州は南北に長く、日本最大の島である。(1)東京、大阪、京都、横浜、神戸その他、国際的によく知られた大都市は、ほとんど本州にあると言ってよい。東京は世界最大都市の一つで、政治、経済、商業、教育、芸術、その他すべての文化の中心となっている。(2)外国人の中には、東京を「醜い町」とか、「物価の世界一高い町」とか、「あまりにも混雑した町」とか言って、批判する人も多いようだ。(3)たしかに、毎日のラッシュアワーの混雑は大変なものだか、混雑の中にも秩序があるのが、東京の特徴ではないだろうか。(4)日本全国の十分の一近い人口が東京に集まっているというのに、アメリカあたりの大都市と比べると、びっくりするほど犯罪が少なく、夜ひとり歩きができる町、そして何よりも、活気があって絶えず変化していく町として、東京は魅力的だ。


(1)東京、大阪、京都、横浜、神戸その他、国際的によく知られた大都市は、ほとんど本州にあると言ってよい
My reading: “Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama, Kobe, and others--one can say that these internationally well known metropolises are almost entirely in Honshu.”
Is [その他] best read here as “and others”?
[と言ってよい] seems odd, since I never saw it used this way before. I get the idea it may be fairly common in writings. Reading it literally, I get “it’s okay if one says “. Is my natural reading of it in the original sentence of “one can say” reasonable?


(2)外国人の中には、東京を「醜い町」とか、「物価の世界一高い町」とか、「あまりにも混雑した町」とか言って、批判する人も多いようだ。
My reading: “Among foreigners, there are many who seem to complain that Tokyo is 'an ugly city,' or ‘expensive city of the world’, or ‘a very congested city.’”
[物価の世界一高い町]is literally (I think) “world prices expensive city”. Can that be read as "an expensive city of the world"? (I ask the question, because I'd expect の to follow 世界, or I can't figure out why 一高い町is used as it is, or something.)
[SIDE NOTE: It's been some time time since I was in Tokyo (actually, years ago), but I never considered it an ugly city.]

(3)たしかに、毎日のラッシュアワーの混雑は大変なものだが、混雑の中にも秩序があるのが、東京の特徴ではないだろうか。
My reading: Daily rush hour congestion is really a troublesome thing, and although in the midst of congestion there is still order, that doesn’t seem to be a characteristic of Tokyo.
The clause [混雑の中にも秩序があるのが], although I am sure must be legitimate, still just seems out of place. I think I am misunderstanding it in the context of the sentence as a whole. What's wrong in the reading I gave the sentence?

(4)日本全国の十分の一近い人口が東京に集まっているというのに、アメリカあたりの大都市と比べると、びっくりするほど犯罪が少なく、夜ひとり歩きができる町、そして何よりも、活気があって絶えず変化していく町として、東京は魅力的だ。
My reading: “Even though nearly one tenth of the population of the whole country of Japan is said to be gathered in Tokyo, when you compare it to a ? ? ? American metropolis, there’s so little crime you’d be surprised-it’s a city where you can walk alone at night-and most of all, as a lively, constantly changing city, Tokyo is (still) charming .
The only entry I found in my J-E/E-J dictionaries for [あたり] is “per”, which doesn’t fit in the sentence. I had assumed that it might mean “similar”, or “comparable”, but I couldn’t find [あたり] as a Japanese word for either “similar” or “comparable”.


Thanks in advance for any corrections or clarifications of these questions.
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Re: Six sentences with four problems

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 11.25.2009 9:39 am

space_bubble wrote:(1)東京、大阪、京都、横浜、神戸その他、国際的によく知られた大都市は、ほとんど本州にあると言ってよい
My reading: “Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama, Kobe, and others--one can say that these internationally well known metropolises are almost entirely in Honshu.”
Is [その他] best read here as “and others”?
[と言ってよい] seems odd, since I never saw it used this way before. I get the idea it may be fairly common in writings. Reading it literally, I get “it’s okay if one says “. Is my natural reading of it in the original sentence of “one can say” reasonable?


Yeah, that's fine.


(2)外国人の中には、東京を「醜い町」とか、「物価の世界一高い町」とか、「あまりにも混雑した町」とか言って、批判する人も多いようだ。
My reading: “Among foreigners, there are many who seem to complain that Tokyo is 'an ugly city,' or ‘expensive city of the world’, or ‘a very congested city.’”
[物価の世界一高い町]is literally (I think) “world prices expensive city”. Can that be read as "an expensive city of the world"? (I ask the question, because I'd expect の to follow 世界, or I can't figure out why 一高い町is used as it is, or something.)
[SIDE NOTE: It's been some time time since I was in Tokyo (actually, years ago), but I never considered it an ugly city.]


世界一高い is a unit meaning "most expensive in the world".

(3)たしかに、毎日のラッシュアワーの混雑は大変なものだが、混雑の中にも秩序があるのが、東京の特徴ではないだろうか。
My reading: Daily rush hour congestion is really a troublesome thing, and although in the midst of congestion there is still order, that doesn’t seem to be a characteristic of Tokyo.
The clause [混雑の中にも秩序があるのが], although I am sure must be legitimate, still just seems out of place. I think I am misunderstanding it in the context of the sentence as a whole. What's wrong in the reading I gave the sentence?


The second が is not "but", it's the subject particle が. Also, ではないだろうか doesn't negate the predicate, it means "perhaps" -- this should perhaps be considered a special feature of Tokyo (that there's order in the chaos).

(4)日本全国の十分の一近い人口が東京に集まっているというのに、アメリカあたりの大都市と比べると、びっくりするほど犯罪が少なく、夜ひとり歩きができる町、そして何よりも、活気があって絶えず変化していく町として、東京は魅力的だ。
My reading: “Even though nearly one tenth of the population of the whole country of Japan is said to be gathered in Tokyo, when you compare it to a ? ? ? American metropolis, there’s so little crime you’d be surprised-it’s a city where you can walk alone at night-and most of all, as a lively, constantly changing city, Tokyo is (still) charming .
The only entry I found in my J-E/E-J dictionaries for [あたり] is “per”, which doesn’t fit in the sentence. I had assumed that it might mean “similar”, or “comparable”, but I couldn’t find [あたり] as a Japanese word for either “similar” or “comparable”.


辺り 【あたり】 (n) (in the) neighbourhood, neighborhooD, vicinity, nearby, (P)
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Re: Six sentences with four problems

Postby Hyperworm » Wed 11.25.2009 10:18 am

Small issue with your English wording for (1), which I'm going to point out in case it's linked to how you've understood the sentence - it seems clumsy to say that certain cities are "almost entirely in Honshu". Part of them are outside Honshu?
"One can say that almost all the internationally known metropolises -- Tokyo, ..., and others -- are in Honshu." may be better.
Hopefully that's not just me being picky :P
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Re: Six sentences with four problems

Postby magamo » Thu 11.26.2009 3:19 am

Yudan already gave succinct explanations, but I think the last part is not accurate. The あたり in アメリカあたりの大都市と比べると is "for example," "say," or something along those lines. It indicates that アメリカ is a typical/quintessential example of a certain kind. It roughly means "Compared with some major cities like the ones in the US," You can replace it with などの without changing its basic meaning, though nuances are slightly different. I suppose you could say this kind of あたり is a figurative usage of "あたり = nearby, neighborhood, etc."
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Re: Six sentences with four problems

Postby space_bubble » Fri 11.27.2009 12:27 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
space_bubble wrote:(1)東京、大阪、京都、横浜、神戸その他、国際的によく知られた大都市は、ほとんど本州にあると言ってよい
My reading: “Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama, Kobe, and others--one can say that these internationally well known metropolises are almost entirely in Honshu.”
Is [その他] best read here as “and others”?
[と言ってよい] seems odd, since I never saw it used this way before. I get the idea it may be fairly common in writings. Reading it literally, I get “it’s okay if one says “. Is my natural reading of it in the original sentence of “one can say” reasonable?


Yeah, that's fine.


(2)外国人の中には、東京を「醜い町」とか、「物価の世界一高い町」とか、「あまりにも混雑した町」とか言って、批判する人も多いようだ。
My reading: “Among foreigners, there are many who seem to complain that Tokyo is 'an ugly city,' or ‘expensive city of the world’, or ‘a very congested city.’”
[物価の世界一高い町]is literally (I think) “world prices expensive city”. Can that be read as "an expensive city of the world"? (I ask the question, because I'd expect の to follow 世界, or I can't figure out why 一高い町is used as it is, or something.)
[SIDE NOTE: It's been some time time since I was in Tokyo (actually, years ago), but I never considered it an ugly city.]


世界一高い is a unit meaning "most expensive in the world".

(3)たしかに、毎日のラッシュアワーの混雑は大変なものだが、混雑の中にも秩序があるのが、東京の特徴ではないだろうか。
My reading: Daily rush hour congestion is really a troublesome thing, and although in the midst of congestion there is still order, that doesn’t seem to be a characteristic of Tokyo.
The clause [混雑の中にも秩序があるのが], although I am sure must be legitimate, still just seems out of place. I think I am misunderstanding it in the context of the sentence as a whole. What's wrong in the reading I gave the sentence?


The second が is not "but", it's the subject particle が. Also, ではないだろうか doesn't negate the predicate, it means "perhaps" -- this should perhaps be considered a special feature of Tokyo (that there's order in the chaos).

(4)日本全国の十分の一近い人口が東京に集まっているというのに、アメリカあたりの大都市と比べると、びっくりするほど犯罪が少なく、夜ひとり歩きができる町、そして何よりも、活気があって絶えず変化していく町として、東京は魅力的だ。
My reading: “Even though nearly one tenth of the population of the whole country of Japan is said to be gathered in Tokyo, when you compare it to a ? ? ? American metropolis, there’s so little crime you’d be surprised-it’s a city where you can walk alone at night-and most of all, as a lively, constantly changing city, Tokyo is (still) charming .
The only entry I found in my J-E/E-J dictionaries for [あたり] is “per”, which doesn’t fit in the sentence. I had assumed that it might mean “similar”, or “comparable”, but I couldn’t find [あたり] as a Japanese word for either “similar” or “comparable”.


辺り 【あたり】 (n) (in the) neighbourhood, neighborhooD, vicinity, nearby, (P)



First of all, my apology for the lateness of my response, but I realized only at the last minute yesterday that I had to take a couple of online tests for a matter unrelated to Japanese. Also, it's my fault, I shouldn't have asked multiple questions in one post, but due to the resultant formatting issues, I'll quote your responses and my reactions.


> > >"Yeah, that's fine."

Okay, got it.



> > >"世界一高い is a unit meaning 'most expensive in the world'."

I see. I'll keep an eye out for similar phrases in the future.



> > >"The second が is not 'but', it's the subject particle が. Also, ではないだろうか doesn't negate the predicate, it means 'perhaps' -- this should perhaps be considered a special feature of Tokyo (that there's order in the chaos)."

Excellent. Misinterpreting が is something I did for sure, but missing ではないだろうか is something I shouldn't have. My textbook covers that specifically. Thanks for your enlightnment on this sentence, especially.


> > >"辺り 【あたり】 (n) (in the) neighbourhood, neighborhooD, vicinity, nearby, (P)"

Excellent also. I know I can go back and make that work in the sentence.

Thanks for your help with these questions. :)
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Re: Six sentences with four problems

Postby space_bubble » Fri 11.27.2009 12:32 pm

Hyperworm wrote:Small issue with your English wording for (1), which I'm going to point out in case it's linked to how you've understood the sentence - it seems clumsy to say that certain cities are "almost entirely in Honshu". Part of them are outside Honshu?
"One can say that almost all the internationally known metropolises -- Tokyo, ..., and others -- are in Honshu." may be better.
Hopefully that's not just me being picky :P

Not pickiness at all. :D I had felt that my readings would look iffy here and there, so I totally understand what you mean. And, I much prefer your reading.
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Re: Six sentences with four problems

Postby space_bubble » Fri 11.27.2009 12:45 pm

magamo wrote:Yudan already gave succinct explanations, but I think the last part is not accurate. The あたり in アメリカあたりの大都市と比べると is "for example," "say," or something along those lines. It indicates that アメリカ is a typical/quintessential example of a certain kind. It roughly means "Compared with some major cities like the ones in the US," You can replace it with などの without changing its basic meaning, though nuances are slightly different. I suppose you could say this kind of あたり is a figurative usage of "あたり = nearby, neighborhood, etc."

I see your thought process. One of the somewhat irksome negatives about the textbook with this 読み物 is that the book does seem to put text in ひらがな in places where (to my mind, at least) 漢字 ought to be used instead, though I'm not sure whether it applied in this instance of あたり in the sentence. Thanks!
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Re: Six sentences with four problems

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 11.27.2009 12:50 pm

I think that あたり is often written in hiragana.

As for the が being the sentence particle, you could tell that from the grammar because what precedes が in this case is a noun, not a predicate. For it to be the "but" が, it would have to be ...のだが, not just ...のが.
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Re: Six sentences with four problems

Postby magamo » Fri 11.27.2009 6:28 pm

space_bubble wrote:
magamo wrote:Yudan already gave succinct explanations, but I think the last part is not accurate. The あたり in アメリカあたりの大都市と比べると is "for example," "say," or something along those lines. It indicates that アメリカ is a typical/quintessential example of a certain kind. It roughly means "Compared with some major cities like the ones in the US," You can replace it with などの without changing its basic meaning, though nuances are slightly different. I suppose you could say this kind of あたり is a figurative usage of "あたり = nearby, neighborhood, etc."

I see your thought process. One of the somewhat irksome negatives about the textbook with this 読み物 is that the book does seem to put text in ひらがな in places where (to my mind, at least) 漢字 ought to be used instead, though I'm not sure whether it applied in this instance of あたり in the sentence. Thanks!

In general, the figurative あたり tends to be in kana while 辺り is more common for the literal "nearby"-ish meaning, though it's not rare that the latter あたり is written in kana. It seems that words that tend to be written in kanji are all kanjified in the excerpt from the textbook. Other examples in the book may be simplified, but it doesn't seem this one is too kana-ish.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure more than 99.99% of native Japanese speakers would take it as the "for example" あたり. I'd say it's a typical example of the figurative sense. As I said in the previous post, you can replace あたり with などの here. The implication of アメリカあたりの大都市と比べると、びっくりするほど犯罪が少なく is that major cities like the ones in the US have higher crime rates, and the author brought up the US as an example of developed countries that have large cities having higher crime rates. The あたり is not referring to Canada or Mexico in the geographical sense. It refers to the UK (because it has London and so on), Canada (because it has Toronto etc.), and so on.
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Re: Six sentences with four problems

Postby space_bubble » Mon 11.30.2009 2:23 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:I think that あたり is often written in hiragana.

As for the が being the sentence particle, you could tell that from the grammar because what precedes が in this case is a noun, not a predicate. For it to be the "but" が, it would have to be ...のだが, not just ...のが.


Wow, that's an enormously instructive statement.

I had seen elementary noun phrases such as 読むの and 泳ぐの, etc. in simple sentences in first-year Japanese, and those I could understand.

And, I had seen CLAUSE のが -- and, especially -- CLAUSE のは before, but I could never completely make sense of why の was used in that way (following a clause). Your clearly contrasting the difference between . . .のだが and . . .のが, like, erases all the confusion I had had in my mind about that. Thanks.

Good point about あたり in hiragana. I'll keep an eye out for it in the future.
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