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Question about まま, etc., in a sentence.

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Question about まま, etc., in a sentence.

Postby Michael_SD » Thu 05.27.2010 11:44 am

I'm still learning how まま is used, and although I know it will take lots more practice in the future and study and stuff to learn properly, there is a sentence from a 読み物 in my textbook I wanted to ask about. The tone of the sentence is negative, but in addition to the まま question, there may be a thing or two about it besides, that I find a bit nebulous.

The sentence is

東京は第二次世界大戦の被害も少なく、昔のままのお寺や神社が何百、何千とあり、一日や二日では、とても見切れない。


First: Is the reading I submit okay, which is,'There was little damage to Tokyo from World War II (lit. World War II damages to Tokyo were few), and since hundreds or even thousands of temples and shrines still exist from long ago, you can't possibly visit them all in one or two days.'

(I am fairly confident of how I read まま there, but if my reading of the sentence as a whole is not too good, possible points of confusion I encountered were (被害)も少なく and (何千)とあり.)


Second: Regarding まま, how much difference is there, if any, if ままの is deleted and (assuming the rewritten form is grammatical) the sentence becomes

東京は第二次世界大戦の被害も少なく、昔のお寺や神社が何百、何千とあり、一日や二日では、とても見切れない。

Assuming the rewritten version is grammatical, is it true that the original version focuses on the number of temples and shrines that *still* stand/remain in existence, whereas the rewritten version doesn't?


Third: It's a totally unrelated question, but from my understanding (and it's something hard to write), Tokyo was heavily damaged due to the U.S. incendiary bomb raids over the city late in World War II. So isn't the claim false in the sentence that damage was little to Tokyo in World War II?


Finally: Hopefully I have presented an coherent post. I think when I ask multi-part questions, sometimes I fail to make myself understandable.
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Re: Question about まま, etc., in a sentence.

Postby Musiflare » Thu 05.27.2010 4:33 pm

Hello! I suppose I will do my best to answer your questions in the order you asked them. I actually used this textbook not too long ago, so I'm pretty familiar with the sentence (and chapter) you're talking about.

First: The translation is accurate, I would say. The way I personally translated it when I did this sentence "There was little damage to Kyoto during WWII, and as there are hundreds, even thousands, of temples and shrines from long ago, you can't possible see them all in one or two days." Which is more or less what you said.

Second: I agree with what you said. The original with the まま gives more of a sense that the temples have remained there since long ago, whereas the re-written one, while not -inaccurate-, does not have that nuance.

Third: I think you may have misread the city in the sentence. In my copy of the textbook, it says 京都, not 東京.

I still have a few issues with まま, myself--not so much the reading and understanding of it, but I'm never entirely sure when it's appropriate to use. I guess that just comes with exposure to it, ね?

I hope this has been helpful. @_@
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Re: Question about まま, etc., in a sentence.

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 05.27.2010 8:58 pm

To me, 昔のお寺 are not around anymore, and haven't been for a long time. 昔のままのお寺 are temples that are still around, and are exactly like they were long ago (which is not common because the main buildings often burned down; I don't know if the writer means it in this way, though.)
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Re: Question about まま, etc., in a sentence.

Postby Michael_SD » Sat 05.29.2010 1:41 pm

Musiflare wrote:Hello! I suppose I will do my best to answer your questions in the order you asked them. I actually used this textbook not too long ago, so I'm pretty familiar with the sentence (and chapter) you're talking about.

First: The translation is accurate, I would say. The way I personally translated it when I did this sentence "There was little damage to Kyoto during WWII, and as there are hundreds, even thousands, of temples and shrines from long ago, you can't possible see them all in one or two days." Which is more or less what you said.

Second: I agree with what you said. The original with the まま gives more of a sense that the temples have remained there since long ago, whereas the re-written one, while not -inaccurate-, does not have that nuance.

Third: I think you may have misread the city in the sentence. In my copy of the textbook, it says 京都, not 東京.

I still have a few issues with まま, myself--not so much the reading and understanding of it, but I'm never entirely sure when it's appropriate to use. I guess that just comes with exposure to it, ね?

I hope this has been helpful. @_@


Thanks for the info. I thought I had a close reading, and it's good to hear because that makes me think I'm not as totally clueless regarding まま as I thought I was. :) To me まま has to be one of the words in Japanese, in how it's used, that sounds quite alien to a native English speaker.

As for the 京都 versus 東京. Oops. :blush: I was consulting my grammar handbook and dictionary so much regarding まま that I forgot the correct city spoken of the original 読み物. It was 京都, of course, as you pointed out.
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Re: Question about まま, etc., in a sentence.

Postby Michael_SD » Sat 05.29.2010 1:48 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:To me, 昔のお寺 are not around anymore, and haven't been for a long time. 昔のままのお寺 are temples that are still around, and are exactly like they were long ago (which is not common because the main buildings often burned down; I don't know if the writer means it in this way, though.)


I goofed. As I posted to Musiflare, I totally botched the city. So my question was completely off the wall because I based it on the wrong premise. I never was much of a proofreader. :shock: But as always, your responses are interesting and welcome.
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Re: Question about まま, etc., in a sentence.

Postby fielle » Wed 06.02.2010 2:48 am

For me, the nuance of 昔のまま is not that simply that they are old temples, but that they are representative of the ancient period from when the temples were built.

Also, the temples themselves tend to get rebuilt over and over again, so although the wood and nails are not the same as 300 years ago, the building style and materials are the same as from long ago.

I would translate the sentence as something like this:
Since Kyoto received little damage in WWII, many shrines and temples remain just as they have been for hundreds of years. Since there are hundreds if not thousands of these ancient temples throughout Kyoto, there is no way to see them all in only a day or two.

Most of the translation work I do is more technical, however.
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Re: Question about まま, etc., in a sentence.

Postby Michael_SD » Wed 06.02.2010 4:00 pm

fielle wrote:For me, the nuance of 昔のまま is not that simply that they are old temples, but that they are representative of the ancient period from when the temples were built.

Also, the temples themselves tend to get rebuilt over and over again, so although the wood and nails are not the same as 300 years ago, the building style and materials are the same as from long ago.

I would translate the sentence as something like this:
Since Kyoto received little damage in WWII, many shrines and temples remain just as they have been for hundreds of years. Since there are hundreds if not thousands of these ancient temples throughout Kyoto, there is no way to see them all in only a day or two.

Most of the translation work I do is more technical, however.


Aha! I see your point (I believe). That is, 「昔のままのお寺」 versus, something, say, such as 「昔から残っているお寺」?

Thanks for the input regarding this.

(Oh, and as a completely tangental side note, I'd like to say that I genuinely look up to and admire those of you who've perservered and *made it* and have become translators/interpreters between these two incredibly beautiful languages. It may sound lame from the 9 - to - 5 of the everyday, workaday world, but I mean it.)
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Re: Question about まま, etc., in a sentence.

Postby fielle » Wed 06.02.2010 9:32 pm

I am not actually a professional translator (although I am not entirely against the idea!). I just do the translation work for my little division of the company I work for (in Japan) whenever there is something that needs to be translated. And only J->E.

残っている has more of a feeling of "left over", like something is the only thing left when everything else is gone (one lonely cupcake, the last guy in the office, the ruins of a castle), and so I don't think it's really appropriate in this situation. Perhaps if the rest of a town had disappeared, I would say that it was a 残っているお寺.
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Re: Question about まま, etc., in a sentence.

Postby Michael_SD » Thu 06.03.2010 8:03 am

fielle wrote:I am not actually a professional translator (although I am not entirely against the idea!). I just do the translation work for my little division of the company I work for (in Japan) whenever there is something that needs to be translated. And only J->E.

残っている has more of a feeling of "left over", like something is the only thing left when everything else is gone (one lonely cupcake, the last guy in the office, the ruins of a castle), and so I don't think it's really appropriate in this situation. Perhaps if the rest of a town had disappeared, I would say that it was a 残っているお寺.


I see that completely now. I had had a doubt or two in the back of my mind as I was typing that as to how close it would be to 'remain just as they have been' component of your interpretation (which is still fine with me), which was 'Since Kyoto received little damage in WWII, many shrines and temples remain just as they have been for hundreds of years. Since there are hundreds if not thousands of these ancient temples throughout Kyoto, there is no way to see them all in only a day or two.'

My 残っているお寺 was less than ideal, as I pointed out earlier, so is there a better way to paraphrase 昔のままのお寺, meaning 'temples remain just as they have been for hundreds of years', assuming the same context of the 「京都は第二次世界大戦の被害も少なく、昔のままのお寺や神社が何百、何千とあり、一日や二日では、とても見切れない」 sentence?

(And it's still completely tangential, but even though it may have become routine (or maybe it may not have become) for you, it's still something that I admire, someone having learned enough of the language to be working as a translator in any capacity in Japan. Not only you, but anyone else reading this who has so much knowledge of the language.)
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Re: Question about まま, etc., in a sentence.

Postby fielle » Thu 06.03.2010 8:50 am

A better way to paraphrase? In Japanese, or in English? In Japanese, the only other way I can think of would be to refer to them by their origins, such as "temples from Heian Kyo" or "temples from the Bakufu period". In English it is equally tricky to think of other good phrasings. Perhaps most succinctly I would say "Ancient temples and shrines" but that feels insufficient to me, and perhaps overreaching for their actual age (which I do not actually know).

I think once you translate to English you have to add some information, because the sphere of reference for a Japanese person is different than that of an American or British or Australian (etc.) person. They already have more of a background of Kyoto than the general westerner does.
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Re: Question about まま, etc., in a sentence.

Postby Michael_SD » Thu 06.03.2010 2:46 pm

fielle wrote:A better way to paraphrase? In Japanese, or in English? In Japanese, the only other way I can think of would be to refer to them by their origins, such as "temples from Heian Kyo" or "temples from the Bakufu period". In English it is equally tricky to think of other good phrasings. Perhaps most succinctly I would say "Ancient temples and shrines" but that feels insufficient to me, and perhaps overreaching for their actual age (which I do not actually know).

I think once you translate to English you have to add some information, because the sphere of reference for a Japanese person is different than that of an American or British or Australian (etc.) person. They already have more of a background of Kyoto than the general westerner does.


I see. I appreciate your point of view regarding that. Truly. I totally understand now that from the point of view of those of you with wisdom/expertise in Japanese that my question would be suffused wih context issues. You're about X number of phases/levels of comprehension of Japanese than I am so far.

I'd just be sort of making noise if I went further, but I will point out that I have absolutely learned a lot in this thread, and that only motivates me to learn/study more.

Thanks for the enlightenment.
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