5

Said before looking at a box of animals to see if they are still alive:

「今ならまだ一匹しか死んでいないものが、次の日にはまた一匹死んでしまうかもよ」
If I (look) now there will still be only one dead, but the next day another might end up dead.

I don't understand what もの does here.

Actually I think I must have messed up the first clause altogether, since we don't yet know if any of them are dead. Literally I translate this as "As yet, with the exception of one, they are not dead".

  • What don't you understand about it? – istrasci Dec 7 '16 at 21:10
  • 2
    Is this a Schrödinger's box of animals? – oals Dec 7 '16 at 21:11
  • @istrasci もの seems superfluous. What would be different if it was just ...ないが...? – user3856370 Dec 7 '16 at 21:11
  • @oals Nothing so mysterious. The owner has forgotten to look after them and is scared to check the box. – user3856370 Dec 7 '16 at 21:12
  • 「今ならまだ一匹しか死んでいないものが、次の日にはまた一匹死んでしまうかもよ」"At the moment none of them are dead but by tomorrow one should be (dead)." I think that ものis encapsulating the first part of the sentence and summarizing the situation. – red_shift Dec 7 '16 at 22:26
5

今ならまだ一匹しか死んでいないものが、次の日にはまた一匹死んでしまうかもよ
Only one is dead for now, but the next day another one may die.

This ものが is relatively rare, and it's a kind of connector which implies the mentioned situation would change in the next clause.

Here are some similar examples taken from BCCWJ:

  • 単に知名度の高い屋号として当時から芝居などで使われていたものが、特定のTVドラマの影響で「悪徳商人=越後屋」というイメージが生まれてしまった

  • 石油価格が一バーレル=二ドル足らずであったものが、みるみるうちに八ドル、一二ドル、一八ドル、そして最高時には三二ドルへとはね上がっ…

  • …を実施し、適期防除を心がけてみたところ、以前は七〜八回、多い時は十回位散布してい たものが、八五年は三回ですませることができ、息子から「農薬散布はいつしたね」といわれる…

I think you may use "what was (previously) A is now B" or "what is (now) A will be B" when possible, but it's probably okay to translate this just as "but" or "~のだが".

もの has many idiomatic usages (for example, ~だものだ and ものを) and such もの vaguely refers to some situation.

  • Thanks for the reply. I'm still a little confused, because at this point we don't know that one of them is already dead. Is it possible that the かも part modifies both clauses so that it begins "Perhaps only one is dead for now but ..."? – user3856370 Dec 8 '16 at 17:48
  • @user3856370 In that case, yes; maybe one dead today, maybe two tomorrow. – naruto Dec 8 '16 at 23:04

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