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わがままはもう言わない gets translated as "won't say anything selfish anymore." However, this doesn't really make sense. If I google "say anything selfish," what I find are sites that have translated わがままはもう言わない into English. It's not a phrase that is normally used in English and the phrase itself doesn't even seem to really make sense. I don't think that English speakers really understand what わがまま is since they always translate it directly into something that is grammatically correct but doesn't really make sense.

So what does わがままはもう言わない actually mean?

Can someone give some example sentences that exhibit わがまま?

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You are asking for a better English translation rather than “the real meaning.” I do not think that this is a question about the Japanese language. Voted to close as off topic. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 28 '11 at 13:25
I'm actually asking for the real meaning. So far no one can give an example. –  language hacker Jun 28 '11 at 13:34
“So far no one can give an example.” That is because you did not ask for it. Please do not blame answerers for your own fault. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 28 '11 at 13:36
This question has been edited three times and I'm still not sure what you're asking. Are you asking for example sentences where someone says something selfish? Examples of ways to translate わがまま into English? A more nuanced definition of わがまま than "selfishness"? Or do you just want to complain about lazy translators? –  Amanda S Jun 28 '11 at 15:44
The title is still horribly worded. Perhaps a more basic "Meaning of わがまま" with a subsidiary question "what does the particular わがままはもう言わない expression mean" would go a long way to improve this question... –  Dave Jun 29 '11 at 0:07
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4 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

わがままはもう言わない does not mean "won't say anything selfish anymore." This is a form often used by parents (mostly mothers) to young children as a gentler form of prohibition than ~な. わがままを言う, while literally meaning "to say [selfish things]*," is in usage much closer to "to be selfish."

* This is not exactly on topic, so while I have addressed it, my response is as a note, rather than the main body of the answer. Consider the following additional information.

As you said, "say selfish things" is not really commonly used English. This is due to the nature of the word わがまま. As a na-adjective, it is a class of word that does not exist in English: a noun which is used like an adjective. As such, the "true" meaning of わがまま can probably be considered much closer to "selfishness" than simply "selfish." However, "selfishnesses" is even less English than "selfish things," which likely leads to this awkward translation.

All of that said, the better translation is probably something more along the lines of "Stop being selfish," depending, of course, on the context.

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+1 for that insightful comment: "it is a class of word that does not exist in English." I never realized that such things existed. –  language hacker Jun 29 '11 at 20:29
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「わがままを言う」 is a kind of Japanese aphorism; like "That's just my selfishness speaking." The phrase above is a play on that.

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What is something one would say that would exhibit their "selfishness speaking?" –  language hacker Jun 28 '11 at 14:48
Well, わがまま isn't exactly "selfish;" to me it is more of a self-centered, stubborn person, so maybe I wasn't being broad enough. Another example of this phrase I googled was Andou Miki the skater:「もうわがままを言わない。大人になろうと決めたんです」. "I won't speak egotistically. I've decided I have to grow up." Does that make more sense? –  スコット Jun 28 '11 at 15:02
"Speak egotistically" is probably わがままで言う, isn't it? わがままを言う must be something else. –  language hacker Jun 28 '11 at 15:20
You probably wouldn't say "わがままで言う" but "~とわがままを言う" if you want to say what they said in an egotistical way. At least that's the only way I've seen it written in books and etc. Think of the を in the sentence not as a direct object but as a traverser (yeah I just made up that word) similar to how you would say 公園を歩く。 –  Kafka Fuura Jun 29 '11 at 0:56
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How about "I won't be selfish." A more literal translation might be "I won't say selfish things anymore."

It's one of those phrases that doesn't really translate to anything that is commonly said in English. We'd change the entire thing up and say something more like "I'm sorry for being selfish."

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Even "say selfish things" isn't normal in English. When I googled that phrase what I found were translations from Japanese sentences. What does it mean to "say selfish things?" Can you give an example? –  language hacker Jun 28 '11 at 11:43
"Bobby won't let me play with his ball." "I deserve that raise more than Henry does." "I wish they'd turn the heat up. I'm freezing." "They should cut that tree down so it doesn't drop leaves in my yard." Selfishness is caring about yourself more than caring about others. Anything you say that shows that is saying something selfish. –  William Jun 28 '11 at 15:00
Nice examples. But it sounds more like these are requests. That makes more sense, and "selfish request" is a normal English phrase. What do you think? –  language hacker Jun 28 '11 at 15:17
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We will probably need more background.

-わがままを言う can be synonym of 逆らう(さからう) meaning to disobey or to defy

-It can also mean "to behave like a spoiled child"

-わがまま alone meaning "selfish"

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Here's an example. j-lyric.net/artist/a04d5db/l0231a4.html –  language hacker Jun 28 '11 at 14:57
@language hacker: I confirm my answer, just make it negative. Any version of "behave like a (spoiled) child" or simply "to be selfish" (but I think there's something missing in this sentence) are good. Literal translations (speak/say something selfish) are unnatural. –  repecmps Jun 29 '11 at 0:21
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