7

The meaning of 「酷い言われようだ」 seems (to me) to be something not very different from 「酷いことを言われた」.

e.g. それが今やサラリーマンとは「会社に飼われる家畜」なんですってよ。まったく酷い言われようです。

My questions:

  1. Is my interpretation correct? Did I miss any nuance?
  2. If the 「酷いこと」 has already been said, why was the 「よう-form」 used?
  3. 「言われよう」 seems to be treated as a noun phrase here, since it's modified by 「酷い」 and followed by 「だ」. I've never seen a 「よう-form」 used as a noun phrase elsewhere. Is it a common usage?
10

This 「言われよう」 is not exactly the 「よう-form」, which expresses volition or intention, but rather 「言われ + 様{よう}」, where the 「様{よう}」 means "a way to.../of ...ing". So 「言われ様{よう}」 means, literally speaking, "a way of being told", and as such, it is treated as a noun phrase.

As for your question 1, 「酷いことを言われた。」would mean that someone had actually told the speaker the 「酷いこと」 ("You, salarymen, are nothing but corporate livestock!"), whereas 「酷い言われようだ。」 doesn't necessarily suggest such direct communication. Your example text goes something like this:

But salarymen are now, they say, "corporate livestock" -- what an awful way of putting it.

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