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動物王国のムツゴロウさんちの娘になってもいいと思うほど、動物好きなまる子だが、... Maruko is a fan of animals to the extent that she thinks it's okay to become the daughter of something to do with animal kingdoms and mud skippers

Whilst I'm fascinated to know what 動物王国のムツゴロウさんち is all about, my primary question is about the structure of the sentence.

There seems to be a noun missing. If I had tried to put this in Japanese I would have written:

...ほど、まる子は動物がすきだが...
to the extent that ... Maruko likes animals

But the original sentence is

to the extent that ... Maruko (who is an animal fan) is xxx?

where xxx is missing.

Is my alternative sentence correct? How can I understand the grammar of the original sentence?

  • すき vs. ずき How are you reading the 好き part of the original? That is crucial. (I hope I am wrong, but I feel you are reading it as the former, aren't you?) I so want to answer this question, but it is past my bed time. – l'électeur Dec 24 '16 at 16:28
  • @l'électeur I'm reading it as Xずき = fan of X. – user3856370 Dec 24 '16 at 16:29
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First of all, who is 「動物王国{どうぶつおうこく}のムツゴロウさん」? He is a very well-known and highly popular figure in Japan. When the older half of the country hear the word "animals", they think of him. I will just let Wiki explain below. It even talks about what his 「動物王国」 is about.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masanori_Hata

Next, just a brief explanation of 「動物好{どうぶつず}きなまる子」. For those unfamiliar, the 「好き」 part in this phrase, is read 「き」 and not 「き」.

For reading comprehension, I recommend that one regard 「動物好きな」 as just an adjective meaning "animal-loving". So, we have a "animal-loving Maruko" here.

I think many are already familiar with this, but 「~~さん」 means "~~'s home", "~~'s family", etc. The 「ち」 comes from 「うち」.

Now, you called 「動物王国のムツゴロウさんちの娘になってもいいと思うほど、動物好きなまる子だが、...」 a sentence, but is it one? Grammatically, no, because it lacks a predicate. If the author actually ended this with the "...", however, then it is an "honorary" sentence. To make it as literal as possible, it means:

"It is Maruko who loves animals to the extent that she would not mind becoming the daughter of Mr. Mutsugoro of the Animal Kingdom."

The TL might sound awkward because I translated, as I said, a non-sentence that does not even have a predicate.

Even a one-step more literal translation would be:

"Maruko who loves animals so much that she would not mind becoming the daughter of Mr. Mutsugoro of the Animal Kingdom, but ......"

There you could see what I mean by "non-sentence" and "no predicate". It says nothing about what Maruko actually did.

In any case, you seem to have a good grip on the phrase in question. It is a good sign that you felt something was missing.

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I think this is one of those times where it's hard to read this using our implicit biases as non-native Japanese speakers. If this were English it'd be an incomplete sentence, but this works in Japanese because it works in Japanese.

動物王国のムツゴロウさんちの娘になってもいいと思うほど、動物好きなまる子だが

If we wanted to simplify this sentence as much as possible, we could reduce it to

まる子だが

Which is really just the author stating something about Maruko before continuing on to the rest of the sentence. If you think about it this way, the rest is a bit easier to parse.

動物王国のムツゴロウさんちの娘になってもいいと思うほど、動物好き

Such a fan of animals that she wouldn't mind becoming the daughter of a mudskipper = Maruko

The hard part about reading sentences like this is that it's constructed as what looks like a separate sentence, but it's closer to a string of dependent clauses tying into a larger idea. We do this in English as well, but we just switch the order around a bit

Maruko, such a fan of animals that she wouldn't mind becoming the daughter of a mudskipper, XXX

Where XXX is the information that you perceived as missing in the Japanese version (it probably just comes after the chunk you quoted).

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