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Ok, so I've been having trouble with a passage. It's mostly written in kana, and I can get most of it, but because of the kana, I have no idea what a certain word is. At the beginning of the music video for the Gorillaz music video for Clint Eastwood, it says a line from Dawn of the Dead in Japanese and then in English. Here it is:

すべての死体は死にきれているわけではない。人々はそれらを殺し、そしてまた起きあがって殺す。

In English, of course, it is:

Every dead body that is not exterminated gets up and kills! The people it kills get up and kill!

Of course, I understand the general meaning of the Japanese version, because I have a translation. The last part is easy:

人々はそれらを殺し、そしてまた起きあがって殺す。When people kill them, they get up again and kill.

But the first part I don't understand. I know すべての死体は, and I know 訳ではない, but since it's written in kana, I can't tell at all which きれて is being used. Is it the 〜て form of 切れる? Is it the potential form of 切る? I don't know why you'd be cutting them, and I don't think it's 着れる (because zombies don't spend much time picking out clothes). Secondarily, I'm unsure of the use of 死に here. Is it being きれて'd towards death, or is it 死に as in the other word for death?

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If 人々はそれらを殺し、そしてまた起きてあがって殺す。means "When people kill them, they get up again and kill.", then why do the subtitles translate it as "The people it kills get up and kill!"? Which is the original and which is its translation, the Japanese or English?? Do people kill the dead bodies, or do the dead bodies kill people? –  Choko Apr 26 at 5:19
    
The English. I was just saying that that might be a more accurate translation of the Japanese version. The two versions are different. Is my translation wrong? –  KingPumpkin Apr 26 at 12:55
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So the English sentence is the original. I think the Japanese sentence (人々はそれらを殺し、そしてまた起きあがって殺す) sounds strange because it sounds like "People kill them(=dead bodies), and get up again and kill (the dead bodies) again." If it's meant to say "When people kill them, they get up again and kill (people)", it should be like 人々がそれらを殺しても、(それらは)また起き上がって人々を殺す。 –  Choko Apr 26 at 14:42
    
And as you might have noticed, すべての死体は死にきれているわけではない。人々はそれらを殺し、そしてまた起きてあがって殺す。 doesn't mean "Every dead body that is not exterminated gets up and kills! The people it kills get up and kill!" at all. –  Choko Apr 26 at 14:56
    
I thought that it was weird too. Hey, it's not my translation. Either it's from Gorillaz themselves, or it's actually what the line is in ゾンビ (The Japanese version of the film). –  KingPumpkin Apr 26 at 15:36

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

In this context, きれる does not mean "to be cut", but rather attaches to the 連用形 (-i form) of a verb and means "to be able to completely [verb]". cf. the EDICT entry for 切れる:

(suf,v1) (16) to be able to do completely

When used in this sense, きれる is typically written in kana rather than as 切れる.

So, we have 死にきれる (that's the verb 死ぬ, not the noun 死 + particle に) = "to be able to die completely" or, more or less equivalently, "to be completely dead", which maps onto "to be exterminated" pretty well.

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Thanks, that makes sense. I must have missed that part in the admittedly massive entry for the word 切れる. Exterminated is definitely the right translation. –  KingPumpkin Apr 25 at 23:35
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It's also worth noting that this sense of ~きれる is usually negated one way or another. –  snailboat Apr 26 at 4:18

切れる【きれる】 can be used as a suffix to indicate an end to something. In this case, it's appended to 死に to form 死に切れる, which indicates that something ends when it dies.

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