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Here's a question from N3文法スピードマスター。


This question is multiple-choice, so the other incorrect choices were: なんと、など、なんか just for your information.

Here's my question:

According to the book, it says that なんて is used to lighten or diminish the impact of the subject in question. Using that grammar point, my translation of the above question would be: Things like being able to do English and Chinese and Spanish is great.

However, that translation doesn't seem to fit into the grammar point of なんて being derogatory, so right now I'm quite confused. What's the purpose of なんて in this question?

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この「なんて」は、「とは」の口語的なものだと思います。ちょっと「驚き」のニュアンスがあるような気がします。 – user1016 Mar 25 '13 at 15:39
Thanks! Other than there being a belittling effect, there is also the element of surprise then? I'll take note of it! – rikijin Mar 26 '13 at 1:44
この場合は、褒めているので、belittling なニュアンスはないと思います。 – user1016 Mar 26 '13 at 14:47
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Wait, I'm a little confused on the question. The title says "What's the purpose of なんて?", but it really seems like you're asking "Why is なんて the correct answer?" Anyway, here's why I think it's the correct answer.

According to this answer on a similar question, なんか only goes before verbs, so that would be incorrect. など is a more formal/written(?) form of なんて, and this sentence is clearly be spoken in an informal (though polite) form. なんと would emphasize the 素晴らしいですねぇ, so the preceding would have to be something like ...できて or ...できるのは.

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Thanks for the tip about the question - I've edited it to follow your suggestion. I think your answer somewhat answers the question, but I still don't understand why the first half of the question is belittled with なんて. Is it just the case of appropriate grammar before whether the question is actually logical or not? – rikijin Mar 25 '13 at 15:08
Although it can be used for belittling/derogatory, it doesn't have to be. The definition you posted also says this. "To lighten or diminish the impact of the subject in question." See my answer at the above link also. – istrasci Mar 25 '13 at 15:12

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