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I'm tripped up on the second sentence. Is the 部分 part of the childish behavior, or the person on the receiving end? Can にはhere be used to indicate both location and causative source?

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Good question... (the first one ;) you have a lot.) I thought I understood this sentence, but the more I think about it the more I realize that I experience the same ambiguity... my first instinct is to say that it is part of the person on the receiving end (自分の心の中の部分・一部), because the idea that there is "part" of the speaker that feels grateful for A goes well with the earlier information that another part experiences 呆れ toward A. But syntactically, it appears ambiguous...? –  Hyperworm Dec 15 '13 at 5:03
Hello, Ren! Welcome to JL.SE! This site works best when you ask only one question per question. Also, please don't edit your question in a way that invalidates existing answers. If you have more to ask, you can always ask additional questions separately, even if they're about the same quote. –  snailboat Dec 15 '13 at 10:34

1 Answer 1

I'm not sure how textbooks classify に(は), but the important point is the structure Aに(は)Bがある, which broadly means "A has B". So, translating little by little:

Yet, [こういったAの対応] had [少なからず救われている部分]

So it should be obvious now that 部分 is part of the childish behavior, at least if you assume that the childish behavior is the same as [こういったAの対応]

Yet, this kind of reaction from A had a part which [少なからず救われている].

The subject of [少なからず救われている] isn't stated explicitly, but from context one would assume that it's "I" or "we" or something like that. So:

Yet, this kind of reaction from A had a side which we were saved by quite a bit.

Note that 部分 is the agent (not the subject) of the passive phrase (i.e. 部分に救われている), but Japanese relative clauses do not capture this relationship. The passive construction isn't really necessary in English, but is idiomatic in Japanese which tends to prefer animate subjects.

The translation 救う→save here isn't very good, the next line hints that the interpretation of this is that A's behavior, annoying as it is, somehow proves to have some benefit to the speaker.

My total translation, very free, but hopefully idiomatic, would be something like

Yet there was something quite relieving about this kind of reaction from A.


Firstly there seems to be some discussion about whether 少なからず modifies 救われている or あった, and I admit that my choice was maybe less likely than the alternative, but it doesn't really change the high-level structure of the sentence, so removing IMO irrelevant parts, we get down to


From here, if I understand correctly, the discussion goes on whether に is the passive-agent に or (my claim) に as part of a whole-part relationship construction. This, to me, seems to be the same question as identifying whether the sentence is parsed

[Aの対応には救われている]部分があった. (passive-agent)


[Aの対応]には[救われている部分]があった. (whole-part relationship)

For the first parse, I think it is fairly well established that relative clauses cannot have topics.

http://www.sf.airnet.ne.jp/~ts/japanese/relativeclause.html 'First, you cannot use the topic marker (ha) "wa" in relative clauses, because topics and focuses are defined in a sentence, not a clause.'

Even if you argue that this is a contrastive は, you would get the approximate meaning "There was a part (where we) were saved by A's reaction (but not by other things)", which is very unlikely.

The second parse is the only one possible to me. Of course, 部分 should not be read literally as a "part", it's more like a "side" or an "aspect" of A's reaction.

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Yet, this kind of reaction from A had a part which [少なからず救われている] it should be obvious ← The point of the question is to ask whether this interpretation or the others pointed out is correct, so I have to disagree with "obvious"... e.g. Another interpretation is (Tokyo Nagoyaさん says that 少なからず binds with あった so I have switched around the word order): [こういったAの対応には救われている As for this behavior of A's, I was relieved by it] [部分が少なからずあった the amount/[part of me] that (I was relieved by it) was fairly large], in which に marks only causative source and there is no AにはBがある pattern. –  Hyperworm Dec 16 '13 at 12:52
(I may have messed up the parsing there a little -- I am not entirely sure on this one, which is why I'm not writing an answer x.x But at least I feel that it could well be something other than Aに(は)Bがある) –  Hyperworm Dec 16 '13 at 12:56
Sure @Hyperworm, 少なからず could also be modifying あった, but there's no rule saying adverbs can't modify ある in the Aに(は)Bがある construction, so that doesn't really change the point. E.g. 日本には家がたくさんある/日本にはたくさん家がある means "Japan has many houses". –  dainichi Dec 16 '13 at 16:33
@Hyperworm, are you saying that こういったAの対応には少なからず救われている is one long relative clause with に marking the agent of the passive verb? Not possible, relative clauses can't have topics, and a contrastive は doesn't make much sense here. –  dainichi Dec 16 '13 at 16:47
@dainichi Your theory "A has B" makes no sense here. 少なからず救われている部分 is not part of こういったAの対応. 救われている is how others "feel" about A's behavior AS A RESULT. It is not that A knowingly or deliberately acts in order to save others. –  l'électeur Dec 17 '13 at 6:49

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