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Yamada just told Maruko that he got a rhinoceros beetle larvae:

 カブトムシときいてまる子が身を乗り出したので、山田はうれしくなってますます手足をバタバタさせた。
Because Maruko had heard of the rhinoceros beetle and leaned forward (with interest), Yamada became happy and shuffled his hands and feet.

I'm confused by the position of Maruko's name in this sentence. I would have expected either:

カブトムシときいまる子が...

or for the name to come before the verb 聞く.

It seems to me that if we imply the name from context for 聞く then we don't need to restate it for 身を乗り出す. Likewise, if we are not implying the name from context then we should use it as the subject of the first verb.

What am I missing here?

2
  • カブトムシと聞いたまる子が身を乗り出したので、…
  • まる子がカブトムシと聞いて身を乗り出したので、…
  • カブトムシと聞いてまる子が身を乗り出したので、…

All of these are okay, and the last one is equally natural to the other two. The last one can literally be translated as "Upon/After hearing of the beetle, Maruko leaned forward, so Yamada ...".

This is a te-form to denote a cause or a reason, and the phrase order is not very strict in such a case:

  • 彼はニュースを読んでびっくりしました。 (He read the news and ...)
    ≒ ニュースを読んで彼はびっくりしました。 (Hearing the news, he...)

You can also use another subject for the te-form part:

  • お金がなくて、私はそれが買えません。
    ≒ 私はお金がなくてそれが買えません。
    ≒ 私はそれが買えません。お金がなくて。
  • 明日の試験が心配で、私は寝られません。
    ≒ 私は明日の試験が心配で寝られません。
    ≒ 私は寝られません。明日の試験が心配で。

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