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I hear the sentence from the song『星のかがやきよ ZARD』

君だけは変わらないでいて欲しい

I think there are 2 ways to interpret it:

  1. I only want you to remain unchanged. (The person whom I want to remain unchanged is only you.)
  2. I want that only you remain unchanged. (I want that the person who remain unchanged is only you).

There is slight difference between them. In 1, "only" is associated with "want", which indicates: maybe other people will change, but I don't care.
However, in 2, "only" is associated with to "remain unchanged", which indicates: I want you remain unchanged and I want others to change.

That's to say, whether だけ in the sentence is associated with 欲しい or 変わらない will lead to different interpretations.

Considering the context, I think the first interpretion is correct. But does the second also make sence if we only consider the meaning of the single sentence?

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  • I can't explain the logic, but 君だけ変わらないでいてほしい can mean #2, while the original one cannot.
    – rk03
    Oct 6, 2023 at 16:42
  • @rk03 Maybe が will make だけ to associate with 変わらない which is closer, while は makes it to associate with the farther 欲しい?
    – shepherd
    Oct 7, 2023 at 3:50
  • @shepherd が doesn't affect だけ. だけ is bound to 君. が works on the noun phrase 君だけ.
    – A.Ellett
    Oct 7, 2023 at 3:56
  • @A.Ellett Yes, but the association I said is just the difference to understand the sentence: 君だけが(変わらないでいて欲しい) or (君だけが変わらないでいて)欲しい
    – shepherd
    Oct 7, 2023 at 4:02
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    @shepherd Considering 君だけが変わらないでいる and 君だけは変わらないでいる mean basically same thing (both implying "all others have changed"), your model seems reasonable. (君だけが変わらないでいる)+ほしい 君だけは(変わらないでいる+ほしい). And as an answer to your original question, the sentence you presented is employed only to express #1 in any context as far as I can imagine.
    – rk03
    Oct 7, 2023 at 4:38

1 Answer 1

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This can't be #2. The sentence isn't constructed correctly for that. #2 would have to be rendered along the lines of (if sticking with the current word choice)

変わらない君がほしい

And it seems to me that 君がほしい sounds overly sexual.

ほしい expresses a desire, not a wish. If you would want to express a wish you need to use ねがいor のぞみ. Neither of those ideas are in the provided sentence.

I'm not sure about your sentence #1. The subject of the sentence is "I". We know that because of the form of ほしい. The structure of てほしい expresses the speaker's desire that someone do something for them.

So, I would suggest rendering this sentence as

I want you alone to [remain] unchanged.

"remain" here is my attempt to capture what's happening with 変わらないでいる. But no where in this sentence is the idea of "never" expressed (though certainly suggested).

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  • Thanks! I have edited my question using your suggestion. So you are saying: だけ in the original sentence is associated with 欲しい but not 変わらない, right?
    – shepherd
    Oct 7, 2023 at 3:46
  • だけ isn't associated with either 欲しい or 変わらない. だけ is associated with 君. The question is then who wants? And, who doesn't change? I want. You don't change. In fact, ONLY YOU don't change. That you don't change is what I want.
    – A.Ellett
    Oct 7, 2023 at 3:53
  • Sorry, I think you didn't get my points. the single sentence "only you don't change" indicates "other people will change", so if you say "That only you don't change is what I want", it means #2 in my question, which indicates "I want other people to change".
    – shepherd
    Oct 7, 2023 at 3:58
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    A most natural interpretation of the phrase in question is Other ones may or may not change, but I want at least you to remain unchanged. In terms of the speaker's wishing, it says nothing about other ones.
    – sundowner
    Oct 8, 2023 at 9:03
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    As for 君だけは変わらないでいる, it is the same. It is rather 君だけが変わらないでいる that means Everything else changed but you remain the same. That should be understandable (mostly) from は and が difference What's the difference between wa (は) and ga (が)?%e3%81%af-and-ga-%e3%81%8c?noredirect=1&lq=1
    – sundowner
    Oct 8, 2023 at 9:05

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