Take the 2-minute tour ×
Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What is the meaning of and difference between ~を中心に and ~をめぐって?

Space ALC defines ~を中心に as "with a focus on" and ~をめぐって as "centering on", but I'm having trouble figuring out the meaning and difference in usage of the two.


I saw the following example sentence for ~を中心に in the (old) JLPT2 完全マスター, which JGram interpreted slightly differently to me:

を中心に沢山の商店が集まっている。

  • My first interpretation: "In the station there are lots of stores grouped together."
  • JGram's interpretation (which I now think is more accurate): "Centered around the station there are many stores."

The way I now understand it is that ~を中心に means more "([focused/centered/revolving]) around" rather than "in the center of something". Would this explanation be accurate?


I've also encountered ~をめぐって a couple of times. The following example I read today in the April 2012 edition of 中央公論:

政党というものは、単に選挙をめぐって候補者をリクルートし、有権者へ働きかけて動員するための組織ではない。
My attempted translation: "A political party isn't an organization which is simply about recruiting candidates focusing on elections and encouraging mobilization of voters."

If I switched をめぐって with を中心に, would it have the same or similar meaning? What would the differences in nuance be between the two?

share|improve this question
add comment

3 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

They have pretty much different meanings. 中心に adds blur. It means centered around. めぐって means 'regarding', and implies some kind of a debate. They are in general not interchangable.

駅を中心に沢山の商店が集まっている
'many stores are gathered around the the station'
More literally: 'many stores are gathered with its center being the station'

駅をめぐって沢山の商店が集まっている
'many store (owner)s are gathered {regarding, to talk about} the station'

選挙(の時期)を中心に候補者をリクルートする
'hire candidates mostly at around the time of an election'
More literally: 'hire candidates with its center being the time of an election'

選挙をめぐって候補者をリクルートする
'hire candidates {regarding, for} an election'

share|improve this answer
add comment

In additions to what @sawa said, I think it's easy to keep straight if you remember the verb めぐる has the meanings of "going around" or "surrounding". Thus, ~をめぐって/~をめぐり/~をめぐる usually has at least a slight negative meaning (as @sawa stated) usually about some debate, controversy, etc.

Here are a couple examples. (I'm going to expand on one of @sawa's because I feel it's a little too vague to be helpful to you -- no offense to @sawa).

  • 駅の改築をめぐって近くの店主がたくさん集まってデモる。 → Many of the nearby store owners will gather and protest the reconstruction of the station (protest surrounding the reconstruction of the station
  • 大統領の経済政策をめぐり色々な対立する意見があります。 → There are many opposing opinions surrounding/concerning the President's economic policies.
  • 資源の利用をめぐる争いがようやく解決に向かった。 → The dispute about/surrounding the resource usage is finally headed toward a solution.

As far as the sentence you provided, the controversy is that there are obviously some people who hold the opinion that a political parties only exist to get the upper hand in an election (by doing the things listed), instead of focusing on meeting the peoples' needs.

share|improve this answer
add comment

を中心に: focusing primarily on

Example usage:

we discussed life at school, the main point of the discussion being the well-being of students.

生徒の福祉を中心に、学生の日常生活を議論した。

をめぐって: discussing something/about (often to show the motivation of the debate/argument/fight)

Example usage:

They fought with one another for this girl.

彼女をめぐって喧嘩した。

If you remember that the fight for the girl (or boy, whatever) is a typical use of めぐって, you should confidently be able to use/understand it properly.

share|improve this answer
    
をめぐって does not literally mean "arguing". –  istrasci Jul 30 '12 at 23:16
    
@istrasci: right, I wrote that because of my example… Let me rephrase a bit. –  Axioplase Jul 31 '12 at 0:23
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.