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くまはたいそう感慨深げに「縁」というような種類の言葉を駆使していろいろと述べた。

I understand the use of (noun A)のような(noun B) to say noun B like noun A , and I understand という in the sense of 'that' e.g. 彼が無事だという知らせ, or 'called' as in 本田という人. Or even as just the quote particle followed by the verb 'to say'. But none of these interpretations seems to make sense to me.

If I want to say 'words of the 「縁」 kind', why is it not just ...縁のような種類の言葉...? With という inserted it seems to me to read 'words like saying 縁'. Which clearly makes non sense. Which of the interpretations of という is used above and why is it needed? Thanks.

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Your observation is partially true. The most basic concept of という is "you say what", where the point is you can't say an object, but only its name or depiction. Thus という actually gives implicit quotes to what comes before (though the writer gives explicit quotes, too...).

Your alternative 縁のような種類の言葉 would literally mean some kind of word e.g. 縁, in the same way as 米のような種類の作物 some kind of crop e.g. rice, so it leads:

word : 縁 = crop : rice

It clearly contradicts the fact 縁 ("affinity, tie of relationship") is not a subcategory of 言葉 ("word") (cf. 形容詞のような種類の言葉 some kind of word e.g. adjective).

In contrast, 縁というような種類の言葉 means:

some kind of word e.g. how you say 縁
some kind of word e.g. word represents 縁
some kind of word e.g. "縁"

This time,

word : the word "縁" = crop : rice

perfectly makes sense. In other words, という prevents this sentence from being nonsense.

Generally speaking, In nine times out of ten when you want to say "word like A" in English, you're going to translate it to "Aという言葉" in Japanese.

  • Are you saying that if I use the phrase AのようなB then A must be a type of B? If so, is this sentence from renshuu.org wrong 私はジュースのようなお酒しか飲まない . Because juice does not belong to the class of alcohol? Is this a sentence where I should insert という? – user3856370 Jul 23 '15 at 19:38
  • Um, no. ような doesn't make it a subtype, but 種類 does. Because it means "kind(s)", you know? – broccoli forest Jul 24 '15 at 5:25
  • Perhaps you're misunderstanding (or I was misleading) that 縁のような(もの) is a subtype of 言葉 but 縁というような(もの) isn't. Both are insisted to be in this construction, but the former is false and the latter is true. – broccoli forest Jul 24 '15 at 5:51
  • I'm sorry. I'm still confused. Perhaps you could give me another example sentence (not involving kinds of words) where I need to use というような rather than just ような. That might help. Thanks. – user3856370 Jul 24 '15 at 19:06
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    It's sort of reverse case, but: 佐藤のような珍しい名前 is acceptable when referred person whose surname is 佐藤 has an uncommon given name, while 佐藤というような珍しい名前 is always unacceptable because the name 佐藤 is anything but uncommon in Japan. – broccoli forest Jul 25 '15 at 6:56
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「というような」also means "like". and 「縁」というような種類の言葉 means some kind of words like "enishi"

「という」here contains feeling like "I don't know well but.."

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