4

「ねえねえ、このまえ本で読んだんだけど、犬に追われたら、こうやって腕を胸の前で組むと一瞬、犬が弱気になるんだって」
Hey, I was reading in a book recently (but) if you're chased by a dog, when you fold your arms in front of your chest like this, it gets timid.

けど does not translate sensibly as 'but' in this sentence. What is happening here?

My guess is that the speaker didn't have her thoughts in the right order , and that this 'but' somehow introduces the missing information.

If I'd made this sentence from scratch I'd have written:

このまえ本で、犬に追われたら、こうやって腕を胸の前で組むと一瞬、犬が弱気になると読んだ

but when I read this back to myself it seemed awkward. That と seems to be quoting a lot of stuff and doesn't seem at all clear to my beginner level mind. Is this alternative sentence correct/clear in meaning? Is the possibility that it's messy the reason for the structure of the original sentence?

Am I completely barking up the wrong tree (pun intended)?

4

In this case,

「けど」≠ "but"

Every single word counts in a sentence in any language, but that does not mean that every word needs to or can be translated.

「けど」、「けれど」、「が」、「だが」, etc. are frequently used as conjunctions for making a prefatory remark just before stating the main point. (To be completely honest with you, I find it difficult to believe that this is the first time that you have encountered these being used for the purpose I just explained.)

In the sentence:

「ねえねえ、このまえ本{ほん}で読{よ}んだんだけど、犬{いぬ}に追{お}われたら、こうやって腕{うで}を胸{むね}の前{まえ}で組{く}むと一瞬{いっしゅん}、犬が弱気{よわき}になるんだって。」

Prefatory remark: 「このまえ本で読んだ」

Main point: 「犬に追われたら、こうやって腕を胸の前で組むと一瞬、犬が弱気になる」

Thus, this 「けど」, all by itself, is very difficult to translate into an English word, but I hope you can see that in nuance, it is much closer to "and" than to "but". Instead of using "and" or "but", you could simply translate it into "I read in a book that ~~~".

My guess is that the speaker didn't have her thoughts in the right order , and that this 'but' somehow introduces the missing information.

The first half of what you said is not really correct, but the second half, spot-on.

Your sentence:

このまえ本で、犬に追われたら、こうやって腕を胸の前で組むと一瞬、犬が弱気になると読んだ 。」

reads well and natural even though some might argue that the 「本で」 and 「と読んだ」 are positioned too far apart. Grammatically, however, it is just perfect with no ambiguity anywhere.

You could change it to:

「犬に追われたら、こうやって腕を胸の前で組むと一瞬、犬が弱気になると、このまえ本で読んだ。 」 or

「このまえ、犬に追われたら、こうやって腕を胸の前で組むと一瞬、犬が弱気になると本で読んだ。 」

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.