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There's a sentence in my textbook.

子供の時から今までを振り返って男あるいは女に生まれて、Aよかったと思った/思うこと、B嫌いだと思った/思うこと、を三つずつ書いてください

男あるいは女に生まれて、 This is the part in particular I don't understand... I read it as... "Born by a man, or possibly a woman..." Why would it say that? Is it supposed to be read "Born AS a man or possibly a woman?"

Don't tell me that 女に生まれる has two meanings!!! It means born by right? に is supposed to be actor of the passive action right? Like 巨人に食べられた。... Or am I somehow wrong.

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So out of curiosity, what does the OP's sentence mean? How does 男あるいは女に生まれて fit into my attempt at the translation: "Looking back from childhood to present, please write down for each case three examples of things/events A) you like/liked B) you don't or didn't like." Adding "born as a male or female" seems a bit pointless? –  Mobius Pizza Oct 10 '13 at 14:56
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@MobiusPizza: It means three things you liked about and three things you didn't like; specifically about being a male/female. Not just three arbitrary things. Ex: "As a young boy, I liked not having to wear dresses. I hated having to hold the door open for older women though." –  istrasci Oct 10 '13 at 15:21

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Xに生まれる is syntactically ambiguous between:

  1. Born as a X

    • 女に生まれる (be born as a woman)
  2. Born to a X

    • 裕福な家庭に生まれる (be born to a wealthy family)  
    • 女に生まれる (be born to a woman)

For (1), think of adverb+verb. (E.g. Run quickly) ( ✕ Born woman-ly → ◯ born as a woman)

And for (2) think of a intransitive verb acting with a indirect object (e.g. Bob lied(verb) to Mary(indirect object))

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Thankyou.... Damn particles... Whenever I start to think I understand them.... more exceptions... everywhere... It's impossible :( –  Nathan Oct 10 '13 at 12:54
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@Nathan Same problems in English. By sunrise, everyone will know he was killed by a bullet, fighting by the side of his comrades. –  Kaz Oct 11 '13 at 21:23
    
Yeah... you are right :(... I will prevail thanks for the wake up call! –  Nathan Oct 13 '13 at 0:36

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