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お姉ちゃんに何を言われようが、まる子はウキウキ気分なのであった。
What was said by her sister ???? but, Maruko felt cheerful.

I can't think of any way in which something which is passive can also be volitional. How do I understand this construction?

  • 3
    ~ようが is similar to ~ても. – Aeon Akechi Mar 17 '16 at 20:58
9

「何, どこ, だれ, いつ etc. + ~~(よ)うが」
「何, どこ, だれ, いつ etc. + ~~(よ)うと(も)」
「何, どこ, だれ, いつ etc. + ~~ても」
mean "No matter what, where, who, etc. ~~". For example:

何を言おうが / 何を言おうと() / 何を言っても
(No matter what ~~ say, ...)
どこに行こうが / どこに行こうと() / どこに行っても
(No matter where ~~ go, ...)
何があろうが / 何があろうと() / 何があっても
(No matter what happens, ...)
何を頼まれようが / 何を頼まれようと() / 何を頼まれても ← passive + よう
(No matter what ~~ is requested)

The auxiliary verb よう has other meanings than volitional. I think the よう here is #5 in デジタル大辞泉: 「仮定の意を表す。」(expresses a hypothetical/conditional meaning).

So your example:

お姉ちゃんに何を言われようが、まる子はウキウキ気分なのであった。

is like 「お姉ちゃんに何を言われようと(も)~」, 「お姉ちゃんに何を言われても~」, (Lit.) "No matter what Maruko was told by her sister, ~~" -> "No matter what her sister said to her, Maruko was feeling just so excited / exhilarated."

2

I found another example with this form:

ここから出ていく何と言われようとも!

So I'm getting out of here, whatever anybody says!

So I guess the translation of your sentence is

Whatever her sister said, Maruko felt cheerful.

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