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This is the sentence I'm trying to translate... I can't figure out which part is being negated

好きになるというのは自分の一番皮膚の薄い柔らかい場所を差し出すことでしか成立しない

I translated it as:

whoever the person you come to love is your biggest weakness

and then I have no idea what the end would be. I know what the parts mean individually but I can't make them connect.

  • 1
    Please make these separate questions, although we don't do translation corrections, so the second part you would need to address something more specific. – istrasci Jul 27 '16 at 20:11
  • I've always thought 「~しか...ない」 can be explained well, if only in grammatical terms, by the analogy to "not...except ~": 好きになるというのは自分の一番皮膚の薄い柔らかい場所を差し出すことでしか成立しない ⇒ Loving (someone) does not achieve its consummation except by (your) exposing the thinnest and tenderest part of your skin (to him/her) – goldbrick Jul 28 '16 at 9:41
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If you're not familiar with the しか~ない construction, please read this first.

[好きになるというの]は[(自分の一番皮膚の薄い柔らかい場所)を差し出すこと]でしか成立しない

The basic structure of the whole sentence is:

AはBでしか成立しない (≒AはBでだけ成立する)
A is established only by B.
Nothing but B can make/form A.

Where

  • A is a noun phrase, 好きになるというの ("falling in love with someone")
  • B is another long noun phrase, 自分の一番皮膚の薄い柔らかい場所を差し出すこと (lit. "giving the part where your skin is thinnest and softest")

So the whole sentence roughly means "To love someone, one must give/devote the thinnest and softest skin part of you body" or something like this.

To translate this naturally, I need some more contexts. In particular, I'm not sure what B is actually referring to. B may figuratively mean "showing the fragile part of your mind" or "being honest", but it may have a more sensual and explicit meaning.

  • thank you ! it definitely isn't an explicit context, haha. the character was thinking about being in love, and how it makes someone vulnerable. again, thank you! – arry Jul 29 '16 at 2:34

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