I'm trying to read a children's book and have already gotten stumped by the first sentence. "context" The picture shows an autumn day.

It reads: ある つめたい かぜの ふく ひ。

So far I've got ... (chilly wind blow)...

At first I thought ある was 'walk' and the grammar made no sense to me, but have then realized walk should instead be あるく. Also, ひ made no sense either. So looking up ある on Jisho I found that together あるひ (ある日) means "one day".

Is it correct to assume that ある and 日 can be split apart grammatically?

ある ( 冷たい 風の 吹く ) 日。

And if that's the case would : One day, a chilly wind blew. =/= A chilly wind blew, one day. : be correct?

  • I cannot really help on the ある日, but I feel that you are right: after all the parenthesized expression qualifies the noun 日. In that regard, I would just change the translation a bit, but it is difficult to render properly in English : - It was a cold, windy day (Here we lose the meaning of a cold wind) - A cold wind was blowing that day (Here we don't retain the qualification of the day itself) – Urukann May 8 '15 at 2:01
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    ある日 is a very common way of opening childrens' stories. It's like "one day", or much more loosely "once upon a time" (very often stories will start with 昔々、ある日・・・). All that's happening now is that they modified the sentence so it's "one day when cold wind was blowing" – sqrtbottle May 8 '15 at 6:31

You are on the right track.

In this case, 「ある」 and 「ひ」 should be regarded as two independen words rather than 「あるひ」 split into two parts.

「ある」, all by itself, can mean "one ~~" or "a certain ~~" (and it is used at the beginning of virtually every children's story.)

「ある つめたい かぜの ふく ひ」 is a relative clause (not a sentence) in which both 「ある」 and 「つめたいがぜのふく」 modify 「ひ」.

"One cold and windy day."

  • That makes a lot more sense~ So if that's the case then would ある be 或? Or would it remain written in hiragana? – C.M. May 8 '15 at 3:48
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    @C.M. Yes, in kanji it would be 或る【ある】, but it's written in kana most of the time. The kanji 或 isn't on the jōyō kanji list. – snailboat May 8 '15 at 4:29

In this case, 「つめたい かぜの ふく」 is a noun modifier(1)(2) for 日.

Basically, the verb clause the precedes the noun modifies it in a similar way to "that" in English. For example (from the references above):

= Bob is an always-does-studying person.
= Bob is a person who always studies.

In the same way, 「つめたい かぜの ふく」 is modifying 日.

つめたい かぜの ふく 日
= cold-wind-blows day
= day that a cold wind blew

You are correct that the phrase is ある日, but the day is qualified by saying what kind of day it is. (That is, it is a day when a cold wind is blowing.)

ある つめたい かぜの ふく ひ
= One cold-wind-blowing day

Keep in mind that having a 。 at the end does not translate as a sentence to English, but marks the end of a clause. (i.e. In this context you would not just say "One day.")

ある つめたい かぜの ふく ひ。・・・
= One cold, windy day, ...

  • 2
    The last part is not true. In a story, a period is VERY often used after a non-sentence phrase. This is not a phrase from a grammar book. In fiction, the author is given so much more freedom. – l'électeur May 8 '15 at 2:19
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    @l'électeur I'll edit it to make the distinction between that and English (in which it wouldn't be valid). However, if the line comes from the story I think it does, it is written as a 、 mark and not a 。. – Eric May 8 '15 at 2:20

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