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Tonight we’ll be doing back-to-back run-throughts. All that means for us is that I’ll be referencing this part in the following. Normally I’ll start from zero in each lesson, but I want to try this out, see how it works out.
Last time, Miyuki was explaining how she eats strawberry shortcake and that she’ll eat the strawberry on top based on all the other stuff inside the cake. Now Tsukasa gets to talk a bit.
(Tsukasa: Watashi wa itsumo saigo made totteokun da kedo)
私 (watashi): is our first person singular pronoun, thus meaning “I.”
は (wa): is our topic particle, not the subject particle (worth emphasizing.)
いつも (itsumo): is an adverb meaning “always.”
最後 (saigo): is a noun meaning “the end.”
まで (made): is a post-position that means “until” in this case. It always has to do with the end point of something. In the construction “from here, to there,” “Made” is “to there.”
とっておくん (totteokun): is a compound verb with a substantive suffix at the end. Here’s the breakdown: “Totte” is the gerundive (think of it as being an verb-y adverb) of “Toru”, which means “to take.” “Oku” is an indicative, non-past, affirmative verb meaning “to put.” “Totte” is modifying “Oku,” to mean “to take and put,” which in Japanese is a way of what we’d say in English as “to hold onto” or “to reserve.” With the “-n” suffix, this whole verbal phrase is considered a noun.
だ (da): is the indicative, non-past, affirmative copula. It means “is.” For those of you who are new here, you’ll hear me now and again complain about how people are led to believe that the copula in its base form is “desu.” It isn’t. It’s “da.” So this is the main verb in this sentence.
けど (kedo): is a conjunction meaning “however” or “but.” In Japanese, conjunctions do show up at the end of verbal phrases (i.e. sentences, or complete phrases.)
Translation: “But I always hold onto [it] until the end.”
(Tsukasa: Tokidoki onaka ga ippai ni nacchatte)
時々 (tokidoki): is an adverb meaning “sometimes.” It’s a repetition of the noun “toki,” meaning “time.” The second “toki”’s first consonant is voiced, which makes the /t/ a /d/. The Kanji 々 indicates a repetition of the previous Kanji.
お腹 (onaka): is a noun meaning “stomach.”
が (ga): is our subject particle.
いっぱい (ippai): is an adjective meaning “full.” As a stomach is full.
に (ni): the particle the next verb uses. It’s an ablative particle. So it indicates a shift from one state to another. In this case, we’re talking about a shift from hunger to fullness (in context, of course.) We can also interpret this as an adverbial suffix, but that’d be a bit semantically frustrating for us.
なっちゃって (nachatte): is a highly conjugated verb. We’ll break it down. We first have “nau” meaning “to become,” in that transformative sense, conjugated in its gerundive form. Then the “-te” of the gerundive form gets replaced by another verb: “chau.” “Chau” means “to do something completely” but in Japanese it tends to be used similar to the English expression “Now I’ve done it.” meaning “I regret doing that.” “Chau,” is also conjugated for its gerundive form, meaning that there is more to come. For this, we’ll use the translation “goes and gets X” where X is the verb in “Xchatte”
Translation: “Sometimes, [my] stomach goes and gets full and…”
(Tsukasa: Taberarenakunattari kazoku ni torarechattari suru no)
食べられなくなったり (taberarnakunattari): is a big verb. This is pretty much how big verbs can get because of their compounding nature. But, when we break it down, it no longer seems so scary. First we have potential form of our friend “taberu,” “taberareru,” in its negative, adverbial form, “taberarnaku” We spoke a long time ago about how the negative forms of verbs are just adjectives; and adjectives can turn into adverbs. That’s what’s happening here.
So let’s recap: “taberu” -> “taberareru” -> “taberarenai” (the potential, negative form) -> “taberarnaku.”
Next comes the verb this adverb is modifying: “nau,” which we just talked about. Here it’s in its indicative, affirmative, conjugation, so “natta.” So now it’s very similar to what we had in the last phrase we did: “[it] gets to where I cannot eat”
The last piece, then is the suffix “-ri,” which like “-n” makes the whole verbal phrase, grammatically speaking, a noun (or a noun phrase.) What “-ri” indicates is a non-exhaustive list. So it means that this thing happened, possibly among other things.
家族 (kazoku): is a noun meaning “family members.”
に (ni): is our ablative post-position, same as before.
とられちゃったり (torarechattari): is another big verb, but nothing we can’t handle!
Here we have the passive form of “toru,” same verb as before. It looks a lot like the potential form of that “-ru” verb “taberu,” we know, but this is the passive form. We know that by the ablative post-position that’s used in the passive voice. So this means “is taken.” Now we have “chau,” which, like before takes the gerundive of the modifying verb, takes off the “-te” and adds itself. “Goes and eats it.” We’re keeping this translation in the present tense because of the last component.
“-ri” is the same as before. It always adds itself to the past, affirmative conjugation of a verb. What determines the tense, because this is now all a noun and nouns don’t have tense, is the verb “-ri” nouns takes.
する (suru): is our non-past, affirmative verb meaning “to do.” So this means that these actions are something that happen in the present and possibly the future. It’s not a one time incident or something that only happened in the past.
の (no): again turns all of this into a noun. This is done because you want to soften unfortunate incidents like this lest your interlocutors think you’re complaining. It doesn’t add much to the sentence in terms of translation, but it is important to not that this ending particle does have meaning.
Translation: “… I can’t eat [it] [so] [my] family members go and take it.”
(Konata: Yappari daikoubetsu wa saisho ni tabenai to ne)
やっぱり (yappari): is an emphatic adverb meaning “of course.”
大好物 (daikobetsu): is a noun meaning “favorite foods.”
は (wa): is our topic marker.
最初 (saisho): is a noun meaning “beginning.”
に (ni): Is a temporal post-position, here translating to “at.” So it is informing us of “beginning.” So, “at the beginning.”
食べない (tabenai): is the non-past, negative conjugation of “taberu.” So “does not eat.”
と (to): is a quotation ending particle. It’s another of these particles that sets distance between the speaker and the statement itself. What it does distinct from the others is that it relies on what has been said by others. It’s similar to the English phrase “In other words…” as a concluding remark.
ね (ne): is our familiar ending particle that we sometimes translate as “right?”
Translation: “Of course [one] doesn’t eat ones favorite foods at the beginning, right?”
(Tsukasa: Sou ieba oneechan ga ichigo torareteru toko mita koto nai na)
そう (sou): is a noun meaning “that.” It doesn’t mean much by itself. It references what’s just been said by another.
いえば (ieba): is a verb conjugated in a hypothetical, affirmative, non-past manner. The root verb is “iu,” which means “to say.” So this means something like “if you say.” This, however, is an expression “Sou ieba.” It’s equivalent to English’s “Come to think of it,” or “Now that you mention it.”
お姉ちゃん (oneechan): is a noun. It’s the respectful form of “older sister.” (The humble form being “ani.”), which an honorable prefix, “o,” and an informal, feminine suffix “-chan” which functions similar to “-san.”
が (ga): is our subject marker.
苺 (ichigo): is a noun meaning strawberry.
とられてる (torareteru): is a slang version of the progressive, affirmative conjugation of torareru, which is the passive form of “toru,” the same verb as last time, meaning “to take.” The progressive form would be “torarete iru” The /i/ got deleted thanks to hooliganism and now we’ve got “torareteru.” Thankfully, it means the same thing. The progressive tense is “is x-ing.” In Japanese it helps convey the repetition of something. If one were to use the plain non-past form, it may bring out a connotation that it’s happening in the future.
とこ (koto): is a noun meaning “thing.” It is a noun with little substance. It allows for constructions like those we are about to see. What we’re doing here is just following Japanese syntax: the verb phrase immediately before a noun modifies the noun as an indirect statement. So what we have here is, tentatively translated, “the thing that my sister has her strawberry taken…”
見た (mita): is the past, affirmative conjugation of “miru,” meaning “to see.” We’d normally have a “wo” particle with “miru,” but not here. That’s okay. So this is our new verb phrase: “[I] was [that] my sister has her strawberry taken…”
こと (koto): same story as last time. Now we have a noun with a big indirect statement: “The thing that [I] saw [that] my sister has her strawberry taken…”
ない (nai): is the non past, negative conjugation of “aru,” which is another copula. But “aru” is stronger semantically than “da.” “X desu” means “There is an X” or “It is X” and “X aru” means “X exists.” So when we say “X koto aru.” it means that the experience of X existed. That has happened. That’s why this construction is translated as “I have/have never X’ed.” It’s very popular in Japanese textbooks. It’s worth memorizing.
な (na): is a reflexive ending particle. So Tsukasa is reflecting on this.
Translation: “Now that you mention it, I’ve never seen my older sister’s strawberry taken away.”
(Konata: sasu ga Kagami, mekari nai na)
さすが (sasuga): is an adverb meaning “as one would expect from.”
かがみ (Kagami): is a name. Kagami is Tsukasa’s older twin sister. She’s the one with the long purple hair. We’d expect a topic particle here, but we don’t get it. We can add it if we want to.
抜かり (mekari): is a noun meaning “blunder” or “slip up.”
ない (nai): is the same as last time. You see that we’ve omitted the subject particle. We’re also supposed to infer a lot from this single verb.
な (na): is the same as last time too.
Translation: “As one would expect from Kagami, [she] doesn’t have slip ups.”
(Tsukasa: Bou-aisu no saigo no hitokuchi otosazu ni chanto taberareru?)
棒アイス (Bou-aisu): is a noun meaning “stick ice cream.” It’s a popsicle.
の (no): is a genitive particle. So we’re back to our construction of “X no Y.” We’ll translate it as “Y of X.”
最後 (saigo): is the same as before. So “the last of a popsicle.”
の (no): is the same before. We’re getting into a X of Y of Z thing…
一口 (hitokuchi): is a noun that literally translates to “one mouth,” but we’re better off translating it as “bite.” So, “the bite of the last of a popsicle.” Or we can simplify this as “the last bite of a popsicle.”
落とさず (otosazu): is a curious conjugation. I don’t quite have a word for it. It’s non-past, affirmative, but its meaning means “without.” I’ll get back to you guys on the science behind this one. For now, I’ll tell you that it comes from the verb “otosu,” which means “to drop.” Thus, “without dropping.”
に (ni): is an adverb suffix here. I wanted to separate it in case it’s actually another ablative post-position, working with the main verb in some odd way. (What really happens when you learn Japanese is that you see all these morae do a ton of things and you kind of learn to intuit what each one is doing according to where it’s placed in the sentence and based on other constructions you’ve seen.)
ちゃんと (chanto): is an adverb meaning “perfectly.”
食べられる? (taberareru): is the non-past, affirmative, potential conjugation of “taberu.” So, “can eat.”
Translation: “Can [you] eat the last bite of a popsicle without [it] falling?”
(Miyuki: Otosun desu ka?)
落とすん (otosun): is the verb “otosu” with the suffix “-n.” “Otosu,” as we said before, means “to drop.” And “-n” makes everything a noun phrase, which, when translating it, makes it tricky. I like to do it as “It is the case that X” with X being the verb phrase, just to get one’s bearings with whats going on in the sentence.
です (desu): is the respectful, non-past, affirmative conjugation of the copula “da.”
か (ka): is our interrogative ending particle.
Translation: “Is it the case that [you] drop [it]?”
(Tsukasa: Jouzuni tabenai to…)
上手に (jouzuni): is an adjective that has been turned into an adverb. This is where the adverb suffix business definitely comes in. So here’s the story. There are no adjectives in Japanese, really. You can do a whole syntax tree and never refer to anything as an adjective. What happens is that the adjectival suffixes of /i/ and /na/ serve as mini-copulae. /na/ is the one that’s obviously a kind of attachable suffix in the same way that in English “-y” gets attached to a lot of words, and likewise without the “-y” sometimes you get a thing that is sort of a word but isn’t anymore. For example, “happy” without the “-y” is “hap.” And “hap” means “chance” or “luck.” There’s something similar with adjectives like “Jouzu,” where they’re always describing something but in certain circumstances, i.e. when they stand before a noun, they need that suffix. Here it doesn’t have it, but because it takes “-na,” if you want it to be an adverb, you add a “-ni” suffix. “Jouzu,” by the way, means “skillful.”
食べないと… (tabenai): is the indicative, non-past, negative form of “taberu.”
Translation: “I don’t eat [it] skillfully.”
(Tsukasa: Okkochachau ja nai?)
落っこちちゃう (okkochichau): is our last big verb, but nothing we can’t handle. This is the “Xchau” construction. The interesting thing is the verb. The verb is “okkochiru.” This is a “-ru” verb. It’s the intransitive form of “otosu.” I want to talk about this at some point, but there are some verbs that have transitive/intransitive forms, but there seems to be no underlying principle that rules what makes all transitive or intransitive. So, for now, just remember it as meaning “to fall.”
じゃない (ja nai): we’re treating as one word because it’s being used like “ne.” “Ja nai” is a phonetic transformation of “ga nai,” with “ga” being the “subject marker.”
Translation: “It goes and falls, doesn’t it?”
(Tsukasa: Kona-chan wa dou shiteru no?)
こなちゃん (Kona-chan): is Konata’s nickname with the informal, feminine suffix. I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s good to remind people. In Japanese, nicknames are made up of two morae, normally the first two of a name or the first one with a mora composed of a glottal stop. So, for example, Ritsu, which is a short name already, will have Ri(glottal stop)-chan as its nickname. (In Hiragana, りっちゃん)
は (wa): is our topic marker.
どう (dou): is our interrogative adverb meaning “how.”
してる (shiteru): is the slang version of the progressive, indicative, non-past, affirmative conjugation of “suru.” So, instead of “shite iru,” we get “shiteru.” So what she’s asking is how does Konata tend to eat a popsicle.
の？ (no): is again a separator. You’ll see this a lot with foods, because it can be gross to ask someone directly about bodily processes. So this is like half a question. You just get the subject, and Konata has to fill in the gap.
Translation: “How do you [i.e. Konata] eat [a popscicle]?”
(Part 7 I’ll post tomorrow. These things take time… So there I’ll post the summary of the dialogue we’ve looked at.)