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In this lyric "隣で歌う声怖がりな背中を押して" I'm confused how the がりな背中を押して works. I know how 背中を押して is used thanks to this post. But what does 怖がりな note. Is the person or the action 怖がりな?

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  • It looks like this is from a song called ニジイロストーリーズ. Nov 8, 2023 at 3:02
  • It is from Nijiiro Stories. I translate a lot of Project SEKAI related stuff.
    – Marie OP
    Nov 9, 2023 at 2:33

2 Answers 2

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Structurally, 怖がりな must connect to a noun, not a verb. 背中を押して, despite being an idiom, isn't an atomic unit by itself; it consists of a noun 背中 taking the を-marked place of the verb (in te-form) 押して. Thus, 怖がりな modifies 背中.

If we describe the "back" that is being "pushed" (with the understanding that this is an idiom that describes encouraging a person) as "cowardly", it stands to reason that this is really describing (by metonymy) the person who needs encouragement.

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怖がりな is the form 怖がりだ takes before the noun it's modifying.

The question then is what is it?

It is a relative clause, "who is a timid person".

怖がり could be either a coward or a timid individual. I decided, not knowing more context, to take a more optimistic approach (that the person is timid, not cowardly).

So, the lyric is referring to encouraging someone who is timid.

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