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From a tutorial contrasting ころ with くらい:

2メートルくらいの所に印をつけてください。 (Correct)

Please make a mark around the 2 meter point. (Natural Japanese, as an approximation is being discussed)

2メートルごろの所に印をつけてください。 (Incorrect)

Please make a mark within the span of 2 meters. (Unnatural Japanese, as the listener would think that marking a line anywhere within the two meter space is fine)

For context, I have seen elsewhere that くらい can mean

  • "around" or "approximately"
  • "to the extent that"
  • "at least"

and it seems like a unified definition of all of these would be something like "to the minimum extent of".

My overall question: does 「2メートルくらいの所に印をつけてください」 literally mean ”Please mark on the 2 meter mark or slightly after" (with 2メートルくらい meaning "to the minimum extent of 2 meters")?

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    If a word has separate definitions, they're separate. I'm not sure I see how adding them to make one "master definition" could possibly work.
    – Leebo
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 23:01
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    2メートルごろ is incorrect, but not because "the listener would think that marking a line anywhere within the two meter space is fine." ごろ is used for time.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 23:02
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    This site (Bunpro) presents itself as "professional" (i.e. they charge money), but its grasp of English is pretty dismal. Of course reliable Japanese and unreliable English is less worse than the other way round, but things like "approximately a child" mean that the explanation is useless. Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 4:38
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    "For context, I have seen elsewhere that くらい can mean" - realistically, what you have seen is that an idiomatic English translation might use those terms in the corresponding place; but that is not the same as actually having those meanings. For example, Jisho gives the example of "なさけないの・・・ボディスラムくらいで、そんな死にそうな声、ださないでよ。" translated as "That's pitiful ... don't put on such a death-bed voice from just a body slam." but here the idea of "just" (as in "only") comes from the overall context. The real idea is "things comparable to a body slam should be trivial for you". Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 6:16
  • I have removed the "etymology" tag, since the question doesn't actually ask about the origins or development of the term. As what seems like a more-fitting replacement, I have added the "meaning" tag instead. Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 16:55

1 Answer 1

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The short answer is "No". I think you are overanalysing their attempted explanation (which makes no sense). 「2メートルくらい」 simply means "approximately 2 meters", and as aguijonazo said in a comment, 「~ころ」 is wrong because it only refers to time. They have attempted to say this by comparing the words "span" and "extent", but this is incoherent English.

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