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「オリンピックに向けて…」

Is this phrase interchangeable with 向かって?

「オリンピックに向かって…」

What's the difference?

  • 1
    (1) The preferred orthography is using … instead of three circles. Is it intended? (2) Do you mean some other phrase comes after, or the sentence ends with ellipsis? The validity depends on it. – broccoli facemask - cloth Jul 7 '16 at 16:22
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Generally speaking, there's difference between 向ける (> 向けて) and 向かう (> 向かって), where the former is transitive "head something for"/"have something face to (somewhere)" and the latter is intransitive "head yourself for"/"face to (somewhere)".

But you can use them with abstract goal (i.e. not actual place). In this case, they have a little more nuances:

A に向けて V depicts you set something to the direction of A, but yourself isn't necessarily facing to the same direction. Imagine a locomotive; you work hard shoveling coal into the boiler, but you're not the one runs. The train runs and brings you to the destination.

A に向かって V, however, always implies your body "moves". You have to make yourself "go forward" by V-ing in order to reach the goal.

Thus, A に向かって V requires something directly leads to A as V, while A に向けて V accepts any activity helpful to A.

○ 会議に向けて休息をとる

× 会議に向かって休息をとる (resting helps you, but doesn't take you to conference)


オリンピックに向けて走る
runs (as preparation) for the Olympic games

オリンピックに向かって走る
(sounds rhetoric) runs "towards" (in order to get qualification of?) the Olympics

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  • 1
    How about 「夢に向かって頑張る」「彼に向かって視線が集まる」「聖地に向かって祈る」? If these are all figurative movements, the distinction is not very clear to me. – naruto Jul 8 '16 at 5:43
  • I'm also a little unclear on the idea that "Aに向かってV requires that V directly leads to A". Especially with naruto's example of 「聖地に向かって祈る」 – sazarando Jul 8 '16 at 5:59
  • @naruto & sazarando I think the 頑張る and 視線が集まる ones are compatible with my existing explanation. If not, I'll consider some rewording. And for the 祈る, obviously I forgot to mention non-figurative usage, which I'm going to supplement. – broccoli facemask - cloth Jul 8 '16 at 15:23
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I know that オリンピックに向けて is the better choice, but it's hard to explain why...

実用日本語表現辞典 explicitly explains this usage (link):

向けて

「向ける」の連用形。「~に向けて」などと言う場合、後に動詞が続かなくても、「~」を目的や目標と定め、そこに至るために種々の施策を行うことを表すことが多い。

When the target is an intangible event such as オリンピック, 納品日 and 発表, you will hear ~に向けて more often, while ~に向かって would not be entirely wrong. (向ける is usually transitive. I'm not sure, but maybe something like 気持ちを/意識を is omitted?)

But when the target is a physical place or a tangible object, whichever is fine.

  • 大阪に向けて飛び立つ / 大阪に向かって飛び立つ
  • 的に向けて銃を撃つ / 的に向かって銃を撃つ
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1

As a follow-up answer to this question,

I found the following research paper from 東京が国語大学 (TUFS) which goes into great detail about the differences in usage for 「に向けて」,「に向かって」and「を目指して」:

http://repository.tufs.ac.jp/bitstream/10108/20982/1/jlc031003.pdf

If someone could put this info into digest form in English, that would be great.

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  • Wow, good research! The table 5 (p. 43) and table 6 (p. 44) seems to be all of the answer. – broccoli facemask - cloth Jul 8 '16 at 16:28

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