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I cannot parse the following sentence.

自分の知る子供たちは、「無理だと知っていて」夢を語るが、日本の小学生は、「実現できると思って」夢を追う。だから「夢が違う」と言う。

As far as I know,

  • 「」is used for direct quote. For example, 彼が「走ってください」と言いました。He said, "please run".

  • relative clause cannot be ended with て form. It means that「無理だと知っていて」夢 is ungrammatical. To fix it, I think I need to insert という so it becomes 「無理だと知っていて」という夢. However, this makes the whole sentence difficult to understand.

  • If 「無理だと知っていて」can be freely moved, the sentence becomes

    自分の知る子供たちは、夢を語る「無理だと知っていて」が、日本の小学生は、夢を追う「実現できると思って」。だから「夢が違う」と言う。

    Why did the author need to use 「」?

Generally, how to parse the above sentence?

4

The first two pairs of brackets (「」) are not used to quote something, but to emphasize the contents. Read as if the contents were in italics in English sentences. Japanese people like to use brackets a lot for this purpose.

Related questions:

Only the brackets in the last sentence (「夢が違う」) is quotative.

無理だと知っていて means "knowing it's impossible", modifying 語る kind of like an adverb. You must know how this works (te-form working as the modifier of the following verb), because you asked it recently.

自分の知る子供たちは、「無理だと知っていて」夢を語るが、日本の小学生は、「実現できると思って」夢を追う。
Kids I know talk about their dreams knowing they're impossible, but Japanese elementary school kids pursue their dreams thinking they can be achieved.

  • "Kids I know talk about their dreams knowing they're impossible, but Japanese elementary school kids pursue their dreams thinking they can achieve them." is not easy to understand. :-) – Money Oriented Programmer Jun 7 '16 at 5:03
  • Sorry, that's probably due to my poor English skill :-) Could you fix my English so I can learn from you? Thanks. – naruto Jun 7 '16 at 5:04
  • I am not sure I can fix it too. :-) – Money Oriented Programmer Jun 7 '16 at 5:09
  • I can understand the sentence just fine... – Blavius Jun 7 '16 at 5:11
  • Apologies if this is a dumb question, but "why can't it be both?". That is, I agree 100% with your analysis that the quoted portion is acting adverbially (in both a grammatical and semantic sense), and that this should be viewed as the primary sense of the fragment (and is the reason it doesn't follow standard と quote rules). But does this exclude the possibility of it being a quotation semantically? To me it feels like the author intended it as a quote (in a secondary sense), as if the children themselves would say it almost like that. – WeirdlyCheezy Jun 7 '16 at 12:06

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