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I have been reading a daily article during 朝礼.

One of the sentence used the word がち. The sample sentence is:

長所{ちょうしょ}は見逃{みのが}してしまいがちです。

Abundant of misses.

I tried to ask my colleague about the meaning of がち and they said it means [in excess]. For example if used with しまいがちです it means a lot of misses?

But when I try to look at alc.co.jp for examples. There were some with no しまいがち pattern. For example:

飛行機や列車の中で『にわか講習会』が始まりがちです。

What does がち mean this time?

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2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

In all of your examples, it means "likely to, tend to". It does not mean "excess".

長所は見逃してしまいがちです
'Pros tend to be (unwillingly) overlooked.'

飛行機や列車の中で『にわか講習会』が始まりがちです
'In airplanes or trains, "pseudo-workshops" are likely to start.'  (Interpretation a)
'In airplanes or trains, "pseudo-workshops" are likely to start, (not likely to end).'  (Interpretation b)
'"Pseudo-workshops" are likely to start within airplanes or trains, (not elsewhere).'  (Interpretation c)
'"Pseudo-workshops" are likely to start within airplanes or trains, (not in front them or behind them, etc.).'  (Interpretation d)
'"Pseudo-workshops" are likely to start within airplanes or trains, (not within busses or cars, etc.).'  (Interpretation e)
'In airplanes or trains, "pseudo-workshops" are likely to start, (not dance parties).  (interpretation f)

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With so many interpretations, is there one that is most frequently adopted? (I.e. feels most natural and it takes precedence over other interpretations) –  Flaw Feb 10 '12 at 0:15
    
@Flaw The context determines it. It is not particular to Japanese. The multiple interpretations that I gave to the second sentence only differ with what the focus of がち is. Whatever you feel about the difference in frequency of the English translations holds for the interpretation of the Japanese sentence. In most cases, probably interpretation a is natural. –  sawa Feb 10 '12 at 0:17
    
Ah I get what you mean (my rather English-centric brain had some difficulty understanding). I guess the type of sentence is disambiguated depending on where stress is given in the sentence much like in English as well? –  Flaw Feb 10 '12 at 0:23
    
@Flaw Yes. That's right. Stress in only a phonological manifestation (in English) of the focus, which is the real thing. In Japanese, the focus manifests as pitch (and pause) rather than stress. –  sawa Feb 10 '12 at 0:26
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@dainichi You are right about the ambiguity of 始まります, but that is optional. It only appears when you put sentential accents on certain positions. The point of my answer is that がち necessarily accompanies a focus. Since the construction introduces the notion of comparison (i.e., what is more likely than what), it requires a reference set of propositions. A focus is a requirement for this construction. –  sawa Feb 10 '12 at 1:16
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I think your friends might have misunderstood your question and thought you were asking about the slang term ガチ http://zokugo-dict.com/06ka/gachi.htm, which I believe originally came from the sumo lingo word がちんこ勝負 which means 'a serious match'.

This word has recently become quite popular among younger speakers to refer to not only being serious about something, but also with a meaning/usage similar to マジで(?), namely ガチで(?). Both are similar to English "Seriously!(?)".

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That may be the case, but then, the question is, why they answered that it means "excess". Perhaps, they even didn't know the slang term you mention. –  sawa Feb 10 '12 at 7:32
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