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Decomposing a sentence

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Decomposing a sentence

Postby espen180 » Fri 05.07.2010 2:54 pm

誰かからに「言えない事を言おうとしない」って聞きました。これは日本語を習うのアドバイスです。ここから英語で書きます。

This sentence as a whole means "Don't try to say what you can't say".

Firstly, I understand this part: 「言えない事」, as "what you are unable to say".

This part: 「言おうと」, however, I don't understand. Is this one word or several? How is 言う conjugated here?

Using what I know of Japanese grammar, I would have written the sentence 「言えない事を言ってみるな」. Is this wrong or awkward?

助けておねがいします。
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Re: Decomposing a sentence

Postby furrykef » Fri 05.07.2010 3:15 pm

What you're looking at here is the volitional form of 言う (that is, 言おう) plus the particle と, and the verb する. This is an idiom for "to try to do something", so 言おうとする means "try to say" or "try to speak". More info on this construction here.

I don't know why the sentence you were given ends with しない rather than しないで or するな, but maybe it makes sense in context.

I have no idea if 言ってみる could have been used in place of 言おうとする, so I'll leave that question for someone else... ^^;
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Re: Decomposing a sentence

Postby espen180 » Fri 05.07.2010 4:50 pm

ありがとうございました!

もうタエ・キムさんのページを使うけど、今までに「Potential Form」まで達しました。
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Re: Decomposing a sentence

Postby writebook » Sun 05.09.2010 12:36 pm

espen180 wrote:Using what I know of Japanese grammar, I would have written the sentence 「言えない事を言ってみるな」. Is this wrong or awkward?


As the quoted page explains, ~てみる means to try something out. It means to do something and see how it is. In many cases, it's assumed you can do the thing in question, you just don't know what the result will be.

~おうとする means to attempt to do something. You may or may not be able to do it, but you try to.

For example, if somebody is going to 「靴(くつ)を履いてみる(はいてみる)」, it doesn't mean you are going to "attempt to" put on the shoes, it means you will try it on and see how it is. Maybe the person wants to see how it looks on him/her. Maybe the person wants to see how comfortable it is. Maybe the person is Dorothy and wants to see if the shoes will really take her and Toto back to Kansas if she puts them on. But the point is, the person's ability to put it on is not in question here.

In contrast, if someone is going to 「靴(くつ)を履こうとする(はこうとする)」, it means that person is going to attempt to put on the shoes. Maybe the person is an infant and doesn't know how to tie the laces, but is going to try to do it. Maybe the shoes look too small to fit but s/he will try to cram his or her foot into the shoe (for example, if that person is Cinderella's step sister.)

「言えない事を言ってみるな」 does sound kind of paradoxical. 言ってみる means to say it and see how it works out. 言えない事 means you can't say it. You can't "say it and see" if you don't know how to say it.
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Re: Decomposing a sentence

Postby espen180 » Sat 05.22.2010 2:45 pm

ありがとうございます。 :)

今もっと良く分かります。

じゃあ、「言えない事を言おうとするな」は正則ですね。
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