1

As far as I can tell つぶやく is invariably translated as 'to mutter/murmur' in bilingual dictionaries, and yet hardly ever do I see it used in a context where I feel this translation seems appropriate.

This maybe isn't the best example but it's the one that inspired me to ask. Two girls have just run into a shop to escape from a dog:

「危機一髪だった」
"That was a close call"
まる子は肩で息をしながらつぶやいた
muttered Maruko breathing heavily.

To me mutter/murmur is something you do under you breath, probably to yourself. It doesn't seem to fit here.

So I'm wondering what Japanese speakers think of when they hear the word つぶやく, not just in this sentence but also more generally.

4

To me, a Japanese-speaker, 「つぶやく」 means "to speak in low/small voice (mostly, but not always, to oneself)". So, I personally I have no problem with the verb choice in the line in question.

To me, 「つぶやく」 is not a very special word as far as meaning and usage. It does not have any subtle nuances IMHO.

「まる子は肩で息をしながらつぶやいた。」

If I were asked to replace the verb by another in that line, I would say:

「まる子は肩{かた}で息{いき}をしながら小声{こごえ}で言{い}った。」 or

「まる子は肩で息をしながらささやいた。」

But still, 「つぶやいた」 sounds best to me.

  • えっと・・・同じ回答が二つあるよ! – Chocolate Dec 30 '16 at 14:21
  • ホンマや。PCの調子イマイチやねん。 – l'électeur Dec 30 '16 at 14:55

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