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(中尉は)両手で刃{やいば}を腹{はら}の奥深く押さえつけながら、引き廻して行かねばならぬのを知った。

My trouble lies with

刃を腹の奥深く押さえつける

If I consider 奥深く to act as adverbial form of 奥深い, then I don't know what is modified by 腹の: taking の 助詞 to work in attributive role modifies nouns, and there is no noun here; taking の to work as an agent case marker doesn't make sense to me, as there is nothing for 腹 to act upon.

Taking 奥 as a noun doesn't make sense either because it's missing a case marker, something like

刃を腹の奥深く押さえつける (with に in allative role)

In other words, how does の work here?

A bit more if necessary for context:

中尉は右手でそのまま引き廻そうとしたが、刃先は腹{はらわた}にからまり、ともすると刀は柔らかい弾力で押し出されて来て、両手で刃を腹の奥深く押さえつけながら、引き廻して行かねばならぬのを知った。

  • In fact, adverbs of time, location and quantity are often used as nouns. I think it should be 奥深くに. – Yang Muye Jun 1 '15 at 14:34
  • 刃を腹の奥深く押さえつく -> 刃を腹の奥深く押さえつける – Chocolate Jun 1 '15 at 14:50
  • Yep, now THAT (つける) was a typo, thanks. The 刃を腹の奥深く押さえ~ part is correct though (unless there is a typo in my book...) – user10216 Jun 1 '15 at 14:52
  • Actually it turns out the story is uploaded online at geocities.jp/kyoketu/61053.html so the lack of ni there is 100% NOT a typo. – user10216 Jun 1 '15 at 15:00
  • 森の奥(おく)深(ふか)く分け入る」とか「海の底(そこ)深(ふか)く沈む」とか「地の底深く眠る」とか言いますので・・・。(「おくぶかく・そこぶかく」じゃなくて) – Chocolate Jun 1 '15 at 15:00
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That 奥深く is not an adverb おくぶかく but two nouns of おく and ふかく.

The の functions as the possessive marker for the 腹, in other words 腹の奥 stands for deep inside the abdomen. The 深く here is a noun (like 遠く・近く・多く)that means a deep part and the relation between 腹の奥 is 'equivalent'(同格).

In this example, those nouns are used like an adverb by their own, but if you add に, it should be 腹の奥深くに.

  • Thank you for the answer. Is there some Japanese term for words like 遠く・近く・多く that look like adverbial form adjectives but can function as nouns and adverbs at the same time (so I can look it up further)? I simply assumed words like 近く and 多く to be special but is there a real category for it? – user10216 Jun 2 '15 at 11:06
  • I doubt there's a special termiology for that. Perhaps they could be a sound shift like 近きを → 近くを. – user4092 Jun 3 '15 at 0:53

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