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Thoughts of "the tense" (J-post)

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RE: Thoughts of "the tense" (J-post)

Postby ss » Thu 06.22.2006 12:56 pm

Special thanks to めちゃくちゃ-san, Rich-san, Mystique-san and HarisenBon-san to enable this translation possible.
Coco-san ^^, back here :

時制の厳密性について
About the strictness of tenses

『方丈記』(鴨長明1155?-1216)を既にご存知の方もいることと思います。
青空文庫 http://www.aozora.gr.jp/cards/000196/card975.html
http://www2s.biglobe.ne.jp/~Taiju/hojoki.htm
この『方丈記』の出だしは次のようなものです。
「行く川の流れは絶えずして、しかももとの水にあらず。
よどみに浮かぶうたかたは、かつ消ヲかつ結びて、久しく止まる事なし。」
この文章が日本人の時間の感覚をよく浮オている言葉のように
私には思えます。この川の流れの譬えのように
「過去から未来に向かって流れている」のが時間である、と
日本人の多くが漠然と感じているのではないか−−と。
1212 方丈記(ほうじょうき)(鴨長明かものちょうめい 1155?-1216)
I think there are people who knows [方丈記] already.
The following sentences are the beginning part of it :
The water in the river which flows hasn’t stop, and it’s not the original water
The bubbles which float in the stagnation, disappear and form continuously, and they never stop.
To me, I would consider these sentences described well about the Japanese’ concept of time.
As the flowing river of the Quoted sentences from 方丈記, I suppose that many Japanese have same conception of the time, that is - TIME is "flowing from the past towards the future"


時制の厳密性が英語と日本語でかなり異なることは
よく指摘されますが『英語の感覚』(大津栄一郎著、ISBN4004302781
岩波新書1993年初版発行)に興味深い解説がありましたので、
ご紹介します。以下の引用は
「英語国人にとって自己は世界の中心にあって不動のものであり、
不動であるだけにわれわれ日本人よりはるかに強烈に時間の流れを
知覚できるのではないか」
(要約)という仮説のもとに続く文章です。
(上巻2部動かない自己、動く自己より)
It is often pointed out that concerning the strictness of tenses of English and Japanese that has so much differences
I would like to introduce you a book “Feeling of English” (Glory Ichiro Otsu, ISBN4004302781 Iwanami (publisher) early 1993 edition ), because it has very interesting/fascinating explanations.
The following texts stand in the hypothesis
{Since the native English speaker themselves are placed in the centre of the world and never move, their abilities to perceive the flow of time are stronger than us, Japanese}


--------引用開始(改行位置変更引用者)----------------
(114-115p)
流れてやまぬ時間いというと, われわれはすぐ孔子の「川の上に在りて」の
有名な述懐, 「逝く者は斯くの如きか、昼夜を舎かず」という
言葉を思い浮かべる. その場合, 川の水は, 川上から川下へ流れるもので,
われわれはどうも時間は過去から未来へ流れるものと思っているような
感じがする.
When we hear of "Time that keeps flowing", we are immediately reminded of Confucius's words which is quoted from
The Confucius Analects 論語.
Confucius say :逝者如斯夫!不舍昼夜。 (Confucius was standing at the shore, he looked at the flowing water and sighed with emotion. Time is passing fast like this flowing water, in the day and night)
I have a feeling that we seem to think that time appears to flow from the past to the future like this instance of water in the river which flows from the up-stream to down-stream


(略)
もちろん, 個人差などもあって,簡単には断定できないが,
日本語には本当の意味での未来の阜サはないことなどを考えると,
われわれは時間が過去から未来へと流れるものと
知覚しているのかもしれない. だが,英語国人の場合は,
In general, a black and shameful period lies before us.
(だいたいのところ,暗黒の恥ずかしい時代がわれわれの前に
横たわっているのだ)(H.Melville: The Confidence Man) というような
文章に現れているように, 時間は未来から過去へと流れている.
少なくとも英語という言語はそういう仮説の上に立ってつくられている,
ということができる.
Needless to say, it varies depending on the individual and cannot be simply concluded. But when we think about the future tense in the strict sense in Japanese, we might be perceiving time to flow from the past to the future .....
In the case for native English speakers, time is just like the expression in the sentence
In general, a black and shameful period lies before us (H.Melville: The Confidence Man) which flows from the future to the past.
At least we can say that the english language is constructed basing on this hypothesis.


(149p)
先に引用したミュリエル・スパークの文章にこういう文があった.
「私はまだ廃虚化してしまってはいない,ある古い墓地に坐っていた」
この原文はこうだった.
I sat in an old graveyard which had not yet been demolished.
この文を次のような文に変えるとする.
「私は3年後には廃虚になる古い墓地に坐っていた」
これを英文に直すとこうなる.
I sat in an old graveyard which would be demolished in three years.
日本語では「まだ廃虚化してしまってはいない古い墓地」,
「3年後には廃虚になる古い墓地」とどちかも現在形であるが,
英語に直すと上のように「過去完了」「過去未来」になり,
時制の違いが出てくる.それはI sat という時点がいわば基点で,
それを基準に,「廃虚化してしまってはいない」,「廃虚になる」が
判断されるからである.
This sentence was in the essay by Muriel Spark that we previously used. (Direct translation) “I was sitting in a particular old graveyard that still hasn’t fallen to complete ruin.” The original sentence was “I sat in an old graveyard which had not yet been demolished.”
This sentence is (can be) found in Muriel Spark 's essay quoted earlier
This original text was something like this
[I sat in an old graveyard which had not yet been demolished.]
Assuming that we change the sentence in the following manner
When converted to English, it becomes
[I sat in an old graveyard which would be demolished in three years.]
Although (those 2 sentences) are both in present tense, when converted to English, they become "past perfect" and "past future"
In Japanese, both 「まだ廃虚化してしまってはいない古い墓地」 and 「3年後には廃虚になる古い墓地」 are in present tense, but in English, they
are probably in past perfect tense and past subjunctive
The difference of tense comes out
Since "I sat" sets the point in time, it sets the standard for judging "which had not yet been demolished" and "which would be demolished in 3 years."


(151p)
He said that he wished me good luck and that it was nice to speak somebody.
これを日本語に訳するとなると,he wished と It was のところは
現在形に直して訳する以外にないと前に述べたが,
それは日本語には時制の一致の規則がないからである.
いや,ないからだとふつう言われている.では,なぜそうなるのだろうか.
たとえば,次のような英文を考えてみる.
I assumed that the old woman was rich.
これと同じ内容を日本語で言うと
「老婦人は金持ちだと私は推測した」
となる.この日本文は「〜と推測」のところまで話されても,
聞き手にはまだ相手がなにを言おうとしているのかはっきりとは分からない.
「〜と私は推測」の後にこそ,肝心なことが来るからである。たとえば,それから
次のように展開する可柏ォがある.
He said that he wished me good luck and that it was nice to speak somebody.
When this is translated into Japanese, "he wished" and "It was" are changed into present tense unless they refer to a prior point in time, but as in Japanese, it does not have a rule that tenses must agree.
Rather, it's commonly considered that there is no such a rule. Why is it so? Let's look at the following sentence as an example:
I assumed that the old woman was rich.
This, when the same thing is said in Japanese, becomes 「老婦人は金持ちだと私は推測した」.
With this Japanese sentence, the hearer/listener does not know what his companion is trying to say up until the point that 「〜と推測」 is spoken.
After "〜と私は推測” comes the important part. For example, after this any of the following continuations are possible.


「推測」−−した
−−−−−−する
−−−−−−することだろう
−−−−−−しなかった
−−−−−−しない
−−−−−−しないだろう
「推測」 conjecture, guess, suppose
推測した ---- assume + past
推測する ---- assume ( present)
推測することだろう --- 未来 + 推量+ assume
推測しなかった ---- assume + past + negative
推測しない ---- assume + negative ( present)
推測しないだろう --- assume + 推量 + 現在/未来


結局, 事象が過去のことか,現在のことか, 未来のことか,あるいは事象を
肯定するのか,否定するのか,もっとも大事な判断の中心になることがらが
聞き手に最後まで分からない. 話し手からすれば, もっとも肝心なことを
最後まで伝えることができない. そうなると, 阜サの核心が最後まで
分からないのだから, それまでは「現在想定」と呼ぶべき阜サにするより
ほかにない.
In any event, the very heart of the matter is that until the very end the listener doesn't know whether the event takes place in the past, present or future, or whether it is positive or negative. On the speaker's part, the very heart of the matter is that he cannot express these things until the very end.


(154p)
前々章では日本語では話者の目の位置が動くが,英語では不動である
ということを述べたが, 時制の一致の問題を念頭に置くと, それはひとえに
主動詞が後に来るか, 前に来るかという言語の性質のせいであるかもしれない.
英語では基点の時制が最初から明瞭で不動であるのにたいして,
日本語では最後まで不明なままであるため, それまでは現在のこととして阜サ
せざるをないなということが, 日本語では話者の目の位置が動くということに
なるからである.
----------引用終了-----------------
In the previous sentences, it was said that when speaking Japanese, the speaker's eyes would be moving, but not when speaking English.
Bearing in mind the problem of agreement of tense, whether or not that comes after the main verb, or before the verb is probably the characteristic of the language.
In English, even though the basic tense is clearly set from the outset, In Japanese, because the tense is not determined until the end of the sentence, until that point, they must declare it as present tense, and that's why a Japanese speaker's eyes move when they talk.
-------End of Quote--------


時間が「未来から過去へ流れている」という感覚は私には分かりにくいのですが
英語国の方は、そういうものでしょうか^^
この引用の説明で、日本語の「不可思議さ」を生んだ文化背景を
少しでも理解していただけたら嬉しく思います。
分からないところは、いつでもご質問ください。
The sense of time "flowing from the future to the past" is something I find hard to understand, but for people of English speaking countries, that seems to be what is happening.
With this explanation of the quotes mentioned, I'd be glad if you can understand some of the culture background that might arises from the Japanese language. Please feel free to ask if there is anything you don't understand.


Add:2nd May(EDT)

時間感覚の鋭敏さ (115-116P )
Last edited by ss on Sun 06.25.2006 1:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Thoughts of "the tense" (J-post)

Postby ss » Sun 06.25.2006 1:27 am

Coco-san ^^ I have my "feeling of Japanese" too :D

Basically, the last word is the most important in Japanese.
Without it, you would not know what the sentence is about.
The verb (and it's all conjugation, which express all kinds of meaning) is at the end.

English sentence structure is classified as SVO (Subject-verb-object)
Word order is crucially important in English.
If we say, "Imanaka-san gave Mary the book," it is clear that Imanaka-san is the subject because he comes before the verb.
Now, this difficulty could be alleviated by saying, "Imanaka-san gave the book to Mary. "
Now, Mary marked as the indirect object by the use of the preposition "to."

In Japanese, every noun is marked with a particle that indicates its grammatical role. Whatever noun is marked with ga (が) is the grammatical subject, no matter where it is in the sentence. The particle o (を) marks the direct object, and ni (に), de (で), etc. mark nouns in other roles. The main verb must come at the end of the sentence. In general, the subject must come before the object.
So the sentence "Imanaka-san Mary the book gave," is perfectly understandable and grammatically correct in Japanese, and it can have two meanings depending on how the nouns are marked:
Japanese sentence structure is classified as SOV (subject-object-verb)

In Japanese, word order seems very flexible. That' why even now I encounter difficulties in constructing sentences :(

I read a book from 晴山陽一先生, he says : Think on the end before you begin.
始める前に終わりについて考えよ

Example:
How are you getting along with your work ?
仕事の進み具合はどうですか (敬体)

Bring me some milk, please.
ミルクを持ってきてください。 (敬体)

I left my umbrella on the train.
電車に傘を置き忘れました。 (敬体)


So far, that helps a little and I have to study hard in order to understand the language structures better.

:)
Last edited by ss on Wed 06.28.2006 4:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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