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It is said by the old man to a group of children about going to see a boy who is in a jail.

Old man: おめえら そんなかっこうであそんでいていいのか ジョーにあいにいくしたくを せんでもいいのか

Child: あたいたちもつれてってくれるの?

I noticed that there is a blank space between 「を」 and the word 「せん」. I then think that 「せん」 would not be a transitive verb but a noun followed by an expression 「でもいい」 to be translated like "would...be good?". In my guess, it would relate to something like travelling by train or 「線」.

If I am correct, I am still further curious why the writer did not use the Kanji instead of Hiragana so that it would be more easier to catch the meaning.

Here is the screenshot.

enter image description here

  • 1
    If one of your main concerns is the formatting with that space can you throw a screen shot in or something to show better than random type setting? – virmaior Jul 18 '16 at 11:22
  • @virmaior I have attached the screen shot as you suggested. I would like to know the reason why there is a blank space between 「を」and 「せん」. – George Jul 20 '16 at 3:56
  • @George I guess it is related with the balloon. I guess this author wanted to start a new line the phrase "せんでもいいのか" but it is a bit long to fit in the balloon. – Yuuichi Tam Jul 20 '16 at 5:36
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In this phrase, せん is not 線。 せん is しない (don't do) in some dialects.

I think the blank between したくを and せん makes it difficult for you to understand.

したくをせん means "don't prepare". したく (支度 in kanji) is preparation.

So the phrase ジョーにあいにいくしたくを せんでもいいのか means "Would it be okay for you to be not prepared to meet Joe?"

  • Thanks for your reply. However, I am still curious why there is a blank space between 「を」and 「せん」. Is there no meaning behind the space? – George Jul 18 '16 at 10:01
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    No, there is no specific meanings in those blank spaces because Japanese language don't require them. This sentence is written only in Hiragana and Katakana so I guess this sentence comes from the book for children or foreign people who study Japanese, and these blank spaces just help those people understand the meaning of the sentence more easily. (though it failed to help you in this case.) – newsiesforever Jul 19 '16 at 14:04
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  • せんでもいいのか」 = 「しなくてもいいのか」
  • 「せん」 = 「しない」

せん・せぇへん is a common way to say しない especially in Kansai.
You can see something similar in the Standard Japanese「すみません

In 時代劇 on TV, they often say せぬ which is a literary equivalent of せん.

  • Is this really the same thing as the せん in -ません conjugation? – Blavius Jul 20 '16 at 3:57
  • Not exactly the same, but it follows an identical pattern and it's easy to remember. す(終止)、せ(命令)、ん(打ち消し) weblio.jp/content/%E3%81%BE%E3%81%9B%E3%82%93 – sazarando Jul 20 '16 at 4:49

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