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I read this article on NHK about Christmas cakes and it has this title:

クリスマスのケーキ 卵の値段が上がって高くなりそう

But I'm somewhat confused on how to properly interpret the title. I'm not sure what 高くなりそう (seems to have become expensive) applies to. Does it apply to 卵の値段 (price of eggs) or クリスマスのケーキ (Christmas cakes)?

Currently I read it as

Christmas cakes. The price of eggs have gone up and they (the price of eggs) seem to have become expensive.

But I'm not sure if this is correct since its seems like it could also easily mean:

Christmas cakes. The price of eggs have gone up and they (the Christmas cakes) seem to have become expensive.

How does the て form of 上がって effect the scope of the subject(s) here?

Should it be treated as a whole singular thing like 卵の値段が上がって高くなりそう? And the subject used with 高くなりそう in this case is 卵の値段? This is how I currently interpret it.

Or should 卵の値段が上がって高くなりそう be treated as 2 separate chunks like 卵の値段が上がって (the price of eggs have gone up) and 高くなりそう (X seems to have become expensive). And because 高くなりそう has no explicit subject, the X in this case defaults to クリスマスのケーキ? This the other way it could be interpreted it seems.

If its interpreted this second way, why is that the case? As I would think that 高くなりそう would be connected to 卵の値段 since its set as the subject in the first part with が.

Would the meaning change if the title was just 卵の値段が上がって高くなりそう without any mention of クリスマスのケーキ? Or would this be an incomplete sentence then since 高くなりそう would not be connected to anything?

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    You are misunderstanding そう. It means something seems likely to happen (when used with a verb as in this case), not something seems to have happened.
    – aguijonazo
    Nov 30, 2023 at 20:13
  • I definitely misunderstood. I was too focused on the eggs being the subject, but it makes sense now Dec 3, 2023 at 5:06

3 Answers 3

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Since this is a news headline, instead of reading it as two separate sentences, you need to imagine a sentence like this first:

クリスマスのケーキ高くなりそう
Christmas cakes seem likely to become expensive.

In Japanese headlinese, は is commonly dropped. Compare:

クリスマスのケーキ 高くなりそう
Christmas Cakes Likely to Cost More

That is, the subject/topic of 高くなりそう is explicitly クリスマスのケーキ in this headline.

卵の値段が上がって has been added as a reason for this (te-form for reason). It has its own subject, 卵の値段, marked with が.

クリスマスのケーキは[卵の値段が上がって]高くなりそうだ。
Christmas cakes seem likely to become expensive [since the cost of eggs has increased].

Note that this type of te-form can take its own subject just like ordinary subordinate clauses. Similar examples include:

  • 妻は佐藤さんが合格して喜んでいる。
    My wife is happy that Mr. Sato passed the exam.
  • 飛行機は台風が来て遅れた。
    The plane was delayed due to the approaching typhoon.

(This is different from so-called double-subject sentences. 飛行機は台風が来た makes no sense in isolation.)

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I'm answering each question from your sentences.

Q. Does it apply to 卵の値段 (price of eggs) or クリスマスのケーキ (Christmas cakes)?
A. クリスマスのケーキ(Christmas cakes).

Q. How does the て form of 上がって effect the scope of the subject(s) here?
A. I feel no effect. If the sentence was "クリスマスのケーキ 卵の値段が上が り、 高くなりそう", 高くなりそう would apply to クリスマスのケーキ.

Q. Should it be treated as a who...
A. You should treat it two seperate chunks.

Q. And because 高くなりそう has no explicit subject, the X in this case defaults to クリスマスのケーキ?
A. Partially yes. An explicit subject is just クリスマスのケーキ. Subjects may stand without が or は, especially in news headlines.

Q. If its interpreted this second way, why is that the case?
A. (I think the former answer is the one to it.)

Q. Would the meaning change if the title was just 卵の値段が上がって高くなりそう without any mention of クリスマスのケーキ? Or would this be an incomplete sentence then since 高くなりそう would not be connected to anything?
A. That would be felt an incomplete sentence. In my opinion, that's because 上がる&高くなる mean the same thing, but they are different words. Japanese language don't hate repetition of the same words, so those who read it will think that 高くなりそう don't apply to 卵の価格, and will think that the subject of 高くなりそう is missing.

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クリスマスのケーキ 卵の値段が上がって高くなりそう

クリスマスのケーキは高くなりそう。なぜ?卵の値段が上がってるから。

It's likely that Christmas cakes are gonna be expensive because of the rise in egg prices.

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  • Thanks for the break down! But I'm not sure why it should be interpreted like this though. Could you explain further? Updated my question to reflect Nov 30, 2023 at 17:14
  • @Tylersanzura the others did it!
    – oldergod
    Dec 7, 2023 at 16:56

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