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A usage of くせに

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A usage of くせに

Postby ThePacster » Mon 01.03.2011 11:32 am

Hey guys, another day, another Japanese riddle. This is a comment I heard / read the other day, and although I have a fuzzy understanding of it after inquiring I'm still not 100% about it.

"ラジカセのくせになんかカッコイイ… 少しガンダムっぽい"

Now from what I know, くせに is used to show a feeling criticism or dissatisfaction, at first I was pretty confused when I came across this. After asking about it, I was told that it can also be used in a complimentary manner but it has a feeling of jealousy to it. Does anyone else have any further thoughts on this? I still feel a bit baffled as prior to this I'd never seen this type of usage explained anywhere before.
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Re: A usage of くせに

Postby Ongakuka » Mon 01.03.2011 11:50 am

I was told that it can also be used in a complimentary manner but it has a feeling of jealousy to it.


I think that is quite true for this case. くせに demonstrates that the speaker has little taste for ラジカセ but can't suppress the fact that they like this particular item (for whatever reason, it's kinda cool, looks a bit like Gundam)

The speakers choice to use the contemptious くせに when they could have simply left it as かっこいい may suggest mild envy and desire to be the owner of this particular ラジカセ。
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Re: A usage of くせに

Postby ThePacster » Mon 01.03.2011 11:57 am

By any chance do you know of any text or reference that elaborates on this usage of くせに or is it something that has to simply be picked up? The meaning may be obvious but every example in reading or hearing くせに I've come across has always been in a fairly straightforward insulting manner so I was really thrown off by this.
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Re: A usage of くせに

Postby NileCat » Mon 01.03.2011 12:16 pm

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Re: A usage of くせに

Postby Ongakuka » Mon 01.03.2011 12:26 pm

well, if I'm being perfectly honest I think it's something to be picked up. Here are some examples:

初心者のくせにうまいね

we get the impression that the speaker is very impressed and even a little envious that a newbie is able to handle (whatever they are doing) so well

海賊のくせに、やさしい人だった

In this example we cannot discern a nuance of envy, but it implies that the speaker believes that pirates are nasty people by default.

アメリカ人のくせに英語ができない

As Clayさん pointed out in chat this is the usual usage of くせに which may sound more familliar. It may depend on the context, but this sentence could imply frustration or dissapointment, all down to くせに

I think this grammar point is very emotive and hard to explain in a logical way, so hopefully someone else will do a better job than I can.
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