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I've checked this link but i'm afraid it didn't help my understanding in this example:

とし子ちゃんにきくと、やっぱり自分のことふつうだと言った。

When she asked とし子, とし子 also said that her own affairs were ordinary (my, probably wrong, translation).

I don't understand the use of を in this sentence. There is no verb in the quoted sentence 自分のことをふつうだ which takes an object.

I came across a similar structure once AをBと思う (to regard A as B). I'm wondering if something similar is going on here? This leads me to the same understanding given in the link i.e 'call A like B'

Maybe "she spoke about here own affairs as though they were ordinary"? Am I getting closer here?

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  • You are reading the sentence structure incorrectly. There is clearly a verb to go with the 「を」. Hint #1: The "quoted" phrase is shorter than 「自分のことをふつうだ 」. Hint #2: Forget the "her own affairs" part completely; That is just not said in this sentence at all.
    – user4032
    Nov 15, 2015 at 14:46
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    @l'électeur Thanks for the hints. How about this... The only verb is 言う. So I get 自分のことを言った (she said about herself)? And I'm left with ふつうだ (is ordinary) as the quoted part? So maybe, "She said of herself that she is ordinary"? Nov 15, 2015 at 15:33
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    Precisely! "to lable oneself as ~~".
    – user4032
    Nov 16, 2015 at 11:34

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Answering my own question for the purposes of tidying up. Many thanks to l'électeur (now 職場恋愛小説執筆中) for the hints and confirmation.

The phrase 自分のことをXと言う means "To label oneself as X" or "to say of oneself that X".

In this example: "She said of herself that she is ordinary".

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