My question is about understanding the two relative clauses in the below.


I always get confused with the way relative clauses etc are used in Japanese narration or even just in conversations.

Take for example, the above two noun phrases



These are both said in the same sentence (ok it's not strictly a sentence but bear with me) and to a learner it feels rather weird, as to what is actually trying to be conveyed in the sentence. Can anyone help with what is being expressed (and why it is phrased like that). I know what the words mean, but the noun phrases as a stand alone just sound very strange and don't really provide me with anything but a description of his face, and what she feels about that face (in a very strange way to read for a non-native). Is there anything that I am missing, or anyone can clear up to help me understand?

1 Answer 1


The example that you provided is not a standard form. It is more like a literary expression. Such expressions would not be used in news articles, but be used in literature.

Point-1: Briefly to say, such an expression gives a dramatic impression. Grammatically, it would be categorized as 「体言止め」.

cf. http://kakikata.dkrht.com/kaizen/kaizen00500.html

As you mentioned, 「あたしの大好きなお顔、半泣きで頑張る健気なキミの顔」 is describing about a face (I guess it's a baby's face). We can change it to a normal form, like: 「良い顔になってきたね。その顔は、私の大好きな顔だ。君の顔は、半泣きで頑張っている健気な顔だ。」 The meaning doesn't change, but the dramatic impression has been reduced, I feel.

Perhaps the concept is close to exclamations in English. e.g. "Your face is beautiful" v.s. "What a beautiful face you have!"

Point-2: Another point in your example is 「韻」. Repeating the same terminal word (xxx顔, yyy顔) gives a rhythmic and/or a poetic feeling. Related phrase is 「韻を踏む」. Such a style is used in rapping music which is recently popular in Japan, but was used in traditional Japanese poetry.

cf. 詩-Wikipedia: https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E8%A9%A9

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