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I came across the following sentence as an example sentence for the grammar point つつある in 新完全マスター文法N2:

この会社は現在発展しつつあり、将来が期待される。

My attempted translation is

As this company continues to develop, "the future is expected" (?)

This literal translation of the 将来が期待される part didn't make sense to me. I know that 期待 means "expectations", but you would expect a particular outcome, result or state, not just "the future" in general, for example:

よい結果を期待している。

I looked up the expression 将来が期待される and it seems to mean "promising, being expected to have a good future". But I don't understand where this "good, promising" part comes from. Does it come from 将来, from 期待, or is it just an idiomatic expression?

Additionally, I am confused by the use of the passive 将来が期待される instead of 将来を期待する. Is the company itself expecting a promising future or is it a general expectation by the public?

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  • Additionally, I am confused by the use of the passive 将来が期待される instead of 将来を期待する -- 自発(spontaneous)の「れる・られる」とは違うんでしょうか?「行く末を案じる」→「行く末が案じられる 」「試作品の完成を待つ」→「試作品の完成が待たれる 」「将来性を感じる」→「将来性が感じられる 」とかの。japanese.stackexchange.com/q/42680/9831 / japanese.stackexchange.com/q/43787/9831 / japanese.stackexchange.com/q/97507/9831
    – chocolate
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 0:47
  • @chocolate thanks for pointing this out. Yes, by abuse of language I referred to the conjugation られる as passive, but it's true it corresponds to a different usage. Has this conjugation itself a different name separated from its usages?
    – jarmanso7
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 9:39

2 Answers 2

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期待する itself is more positive than neutral. It's like saying you look forward to having or seeing something rather than just saying you expect to have or see something.

将来 here refers to the future state of the company, not the future as a general time frame.

The passive is because the subject of 期待する is no one in particular but people in general. 将来を期待する or 期待している here would mean the author is stating their own expectations. I would say this passive is similar to se in Spanish as in se espera que tenga un buen futuro. It's not the same as espero que tenga un buen futuro, right?

You can also say 将来が期待できる but it still sounds more subjective and would be taken as the author's opinion. 期待される deliberately avoids saying who is the one expecting.

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  • Great answer. Regarding your Spanish example, we would say "se espera que tenga un buen futuro" instead of "se espera tener un buen futuro", but your parallel between Japanese passive and Spanish se makes sense.
    – jarmanso7
    Commented Oct 29, 2023 at 19:04
  • @jarmanso7 - Thanks. Fixed it.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Oct 29, 2023 at 21:16
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将来が期待される is an idiomatic expression, as a whole, meaning promising. It can be used in active voice as given in 大辞泉. The passive can be understood as by the public as you think. Or you can think the される carries potential meaning (将来が期待できる is possible as well).

1 《将 (まさ) に来 (きた) らんとする時の意》これから先。未来。前途。副詞的にも用いる。「―の日本」「―を期待する」「―のある若者」「―医者になりたい」

The literal translation future is expected is odd possibly because of the subtle difference in usage/meaning between 将来/期待する and future/expect.

将来 is, as mentioned in the above definition, literally (what is) yet to come and 期待する often carries a meaning of hope as suggested in this entry. As for to expect, I suppose it can carry hoping, but it does not apply to future is expected very much.

Overall winding 将来を期待する a bit, it literally means to have a high expectation for what is yet to come/future development, which leads to promising from the perspective of the person who has the expectation.

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