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Since Japanese is a left branching language, do you have trouble getting the right meaning of words or particles like the particle で in the next sentence (which can indicate location of action and means of action too)

ところで、みなさんは “ほぼほぼ”という言葉を 聞いたことがありますか? 実は、この言葉は、辞書有名な三省堂が主催した今年の新語大賞に選ばれました。

I assume that seeing it at first, you wouldn't know if it's talking about "being in/at the dictionary" or "because of the dictionary" (in this case "because it makes dictionaries/famous for its dictionaries")

  • I wonder if it is 'in the genre of the dictionary'. 三省堂 is a famous publishing company of dictionaries. – nariuji Jan 7 '17 at 20:00
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I felt there is nothing confusing in this sentence. ~有名な is a basic set phrase that directly corresponds to "being famous for ~," and you should be able to interpret 辞書で有名な三省堂 as "Sanseido, which is famous for dictionaries" instantly. Lots of examples here.

If 辞書で does not go well with something right after it, it may be modifying something distant. For example:

辞書で聞いた単語を調べた。

would almost certainly mean "I looked up in a dictionary the word that I heard", not "I looked up the word that I heard in the dictionary". 辞書で modifies not 聞いた but 調べた, and I can say that because 辞書で聞いた doesn't make sense.

In this case, 辞書で主催する and 辞書で選ばれる do not make much sense to me anyway, while 辞書で有名 is instantly understandable.

  • Oh I see, so it's all about set phrases then. Also those distant modifiers are kinda tricky sometimes – Jon Jan 7 '17 at 20:51
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    Yeah distant modifiers are always difficult because multiple interpretations are technically possible... – naruto Jan 7 '17 at 21:01
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    @Jon English has similar issues: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_path_sentence – Igor Skochinsky Jan 9 '17 at 11:33

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