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あんぐり is defined as such:

adverb / noun or verb acting prenominally: open-mouthed

大学の門の前に真っ赤なフェラーリが停めてあるのを見て、アングリした。 I saw a bright red Ferrari parked at the campus gates and my jaw just dropped.

I am confused by seeing it in examples such as the following:

あんぐりと口を開けて

あんぐりと口もひらき

These examples seem redundant but why are they not? What information am I lacking that would distinguish あんぐり from 口を開けて? In English, the expression "with mouth agape," means to have one's mouth open in astonishment or surprise. It would seem to be a similar expression to あんぐり. To me the quoted examples seem redundant in meaning, but are they communicating two different things to those fluent in Japanese? Is there etymological information to the word あんぐり that would change my understanding of it? Can あんぐり mean "in astonishment/in amazement" without referring to the mouth?

In the quoted example below, it is especially the も that is throwing me off. What extra meaning does it give the sentence? Is this も an adverb meaning "more / further"? After giving it further thought, I came up with these interpretations below. Do they make sense?

あんぐりと口もひらき = "He gaped in astonishment, his mouth widening even more..." Or maybe a better translation is : " With jaw-dropping astonishment, his mouth widened even more..."

Original example:

幸夫の横で、あんぐりと口もひらき、逃げようともせず、ただぼんやりしている叔父にしても、 今、眼の前に起こっていることが信じられないにちがいなかった。

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The more I say it to myself, the more it sounds like "hungry". Like "open your mouth hungrily". Now I'm hungry. –  istrasci Dec 6 '12 at 16:19
    
@istrasci To me, it sounds like "angry"... –  Choko Dec 6 '12 at 23:44
    
@Chocolate: That too. –  istrasci Dec 7 '12 at 4:54
    
I wonder if the あん is related to 穴 –  yadokari Dec 7 '12 at 6:21
    
I thought the あん came from あ~ん(と、口を開ける). –  Choko Dec 7 '12 at 9:55
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1 Answer

If you just open your mouth (口を開ける), it could be to talk, or to put food in, etc. If your mouth is agape (あんぐりと口を開ける), your mouth is open wide in surprise/astonishment. In English there isn't an equivalent adverb that comes to mind, I think "gaped in astonishment" works; 'gaped' for the sense of 'opened wide', plus 'astonishment'.

The も here I don't think is indicating "opened further" or the extent of the opening. You sometimes see this to indicate 'as well as something we haven't mentioned...', basically giving an example which isn't exclusive. In this case, for example, his eyes might also have widened in astonishment.

This sense of も is described in the dictionary 大辞泉 as:

ある事柄を挙げ、同様の事柄が他にある意を表す (to raise an example of one thing, expressing the feeling that similar things exist)

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I am not the expert but your interpretation of も agrees with other cases I have struggled to come to terms with it. See also the answer I got to the question: "Help with the particle も" (Sorry I am useless at making links) –  Tim Dec 6 '12 at 22:24
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As for the use of も, “the other similar things” may just be 逃げようとしないこと and ただぼんやりしていること described in the same sentence. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Dec 6 '12 at 22:30
    
@ Tsuyoshi Ito, thanks. I hadn't thought of that but it makes sense. –  yadokari Dec 7 '12 at 0:11
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@yadokari: In general, “the other similar things” can appear after the part containing も, and this seems to confuse some learners. The question “Help with the particle も” by Tim is also related. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Dec 7 '12 at 9:58
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You are right. When we say Xも開く, it is usually expected that the other fact is Yも開く, but it is not a hard rule. For example, we can say 彼は酒も飲むし煙草も吸う (He both drinks and smokes), where both drinking and smoking are actions related to adulthood. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Dec 7 '12 at 12:06
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