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I have this sentence in my JLPT exercise book:

彼{かれ}は有名人{ゆうめいじん}ゆえの不自由{ふじゆう}さから逃{に}げたくなった。

The translation offered is:

He wanted to get away from the difficulties of being a celebrity.

What is throwing me is the 逃{に}げたくなった part. It seems to me that the past tense form of "wanted to get away" should be 逃{に}げたかった, and the past tense form of "did not want to get away" should be 逃{に}げたくなかった. I feel the English translation probably represents the intended meaning, because it would be weird to not want to get away from difficulties, but on the other hand my own translation of the original Japanese is something along the lines that he did not want to escape.

So what is 逃{に}げたくなった? Am I wrong about the verb forms I think it should be, or is something else going on here?

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In Japanese, なる is sometimes lightly used where φ/ある can be used, to add some additional meaning. Are you confusing 逃げたく った with 逃げたく なか った? –  Yang Muye May 27 at 3:48
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@YangMuye What does "φ" mean here? –  senshin May 27 at 3:49
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@senshin, I meant to type ∅ “ゼロ”. Because a redundant ある is often ungrammatical, it is often deleted. うれしくなった→○うれしい ×うれしくある, 好きになった→○好きだ ○好きである. ある is only possible in certain conditions, such as つよくあれ, つよくあるべき, etc. –  Yang Muye May 27 at 4:03
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@Kaji, Now that it's pointed out, I feel a bit embarrassed for not having realized that it involves なる. Now the problem is, both answers are exactly right and similar... not sure which to mark as correct. I'd like to give both a green check. –  Questioner May 27 at 4:18
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@Chocolate, please consider leaving your answer up. Part of the requirement that makes a site go from Beta mode to fully fledged is to have multiple quality answers to every question. The goal isn't to just have one perfect answer for everything, the goal is to have multiple approaches. –  Questioner May 27 at 12:17

2 Answers 2

up vote 20 down vote accepted

逃げたくなった is:

  • 逃げる = "to flee", in its stem form (連用形) → 逃げ
  • ~たい = the suffix that expresses wanting to do, conjugated to ~たく (again, the 連用形)
  • なる = "to become", in past tense → なった

So this means something to the effect of "it became the case that he wanted to get away".

For the sentence as a whole, I would offer a translation like "he began to want to get away from the difficulties of being a celebrity".

For "he did not want to get away", you would indeed use 逃げたくなった.

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逃げたくなった is the past tense form of 逃げ+たく+なる which consists of 動詞「逃げる」 + 助動詞「たい」 + 動詞「なる」.

逃げ >> 連用形(continuative form) of 逃げる >> run away
たく >> 連用形(continuative form) of the volitional たい >> want to
なった >> the past tense form of なる(成る) >> become

So it's like "became to want to run away", i.e. "started to feel like running away".

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