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Please explain what 反対に is doing in this sentence:

そういえば先日も、駅のホームにおいて、化粧をしている若い女性に注意した年配の女性が、反対につきとばされて電車に接触し、大怪我をする事件がありましたっけ。

Come to think of it, just the other day on the station platform I recall there was an incident where an old lady, who told off a young girl who was putting on make up, was pushed away and came into contact with the train, and was seriously injured.

I thought it meant 'on the contrary' but that doesn't make any sense. Thanks.

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(Just turning my own comment into an answer.)

「[反対]{はんたい}に」, in this context, means 「[逆]{ぎゃく}に」= "contrary to expectations", "contrary to what one might normally expect", etc.

If a woman is putting make-up on the platform standing near the track, the "general" expectations would be that it could potentially be dangerous for her (because she is busy looking in her mirror and all).

In this case, however, it was the kind lady who was courageous enough to chide the young woman who, "contrary to expectations", got pushed and got seriously injured. This 「反対に」 has nothing whatsoever with a physical direction in which something or someone moves. It is only used in the sense that the "opposite" of what people feared might happen actually happened.

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反対につきとばされて電車に接触し

Roughly maybe 'thrust opposite [her intended stance]' or somesuch. 反対 means "other side" or "opposite" so if you consider that she had a way she wanted to be and got "thrust opposite" or "thrust 反対 and made direct contact with the train" it might make more sense.

It is not an easy situation to translate literally because this use of 反対 is much more open and vague than "opposite" or "away" in English.

  • I had thought that 'away' came as part of the verb つきとばす. Does the nuance change if I omit 反対, or is that just wrong? – user3856370 Sep 22 '15 at 20:13
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    You could remove 反対に and it would still make sense, but typically in Japan train parlance there is 反対側 (the other side / the other platform, or even the doors on the other side of the train) so it is also a cultural implication that she got pushed/thrust/pulled 'away' or 'toward the opposite side' – sova Sep 22 '15 at 20:15
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    This explanation makes no sense to me. 「反対に」, in this context, means 「逆に」= "contrary to expectations". If a woman is putting make-up on the platform near the track, the "general" expectations would be that it could potentially be dangerous for her. In this case, however, it was the kind lady who was courageous enough to chide the young woman who got pushed and got seriously injured. This 「反対に」 has nothing whatsoever with a physical direction. – l'électeur Sep 23 '15 at 1:00
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    「逆ギレ」の「逆」みたいなニュアンスちゃう?「コラッ!」って怒ったら、「スイマセン」って謝るんじゃなく「うるせえ!」って逆ギレされた、みたいな・・ – Chocolate Sep 23 '15 at 6:15
  • @Shoko まあ、そうゆうことやろな。(もっと気の利いたセリフ言いたいねんけど、言うたら逆ギレされそうでコワいねん。あぁコワっ。) – l'électeur Sep 23 '15 at 10:38
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There are two overlapping meanings here, and given the scene where it's happening, I'm assuming it's also the intention of the writer when he/she chose to use 反対に:

1) The young girl was being rebellious so she simply pushed the old woman.

2) The young girl simply pushed the old woman (assuming out of rebellion) toward the opposite platform.

Hope that helps.

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