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I am trying to obtain a full understanding of the below line of dialog:

「とっ、ともかく、明日までにはきちんと用意しておくので、百瀬さんは軽い気持ちで来てください。あ、決してナメてかかれというわけではなく……」

The only tricky part to me is ”ナメてかかれ”, for which I think is based on "嘗めてかかる" which seems to mean "look down on someone" (ref)

However, I don't know why かかれ is used instead of かかる here.

Can anyone explain the reason or nuance involved?

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「とっ、ともかく、明日{あす}までにはきちんと用意{ようい}しておくので、百瀬{ももせ}さんは軽{かる}い気持{きも}ちで来{き}てください。あ、決{けっ}してナメてかかれというわけではなく……」

The clue to your question regarding the conjugation choice of 「かかれ」 over 「かかる」 is already in the quote. The key word here is "parallelism".

The speaker makes a request as to how Momose-san should go/come to the event. The speaker first says 「軽い気持ちで来てください」("Just come over casually."), which is clearly in a request/imperative form. Then, s/he adds to say 「決してナメてかかれというわけではなく・・」 ("I don't mean to say 'Look down on it/them!' or anything but..."), the first part of which (ナメてかかれ) is also in an imperative form.  

That is parallelism, where the second (and third, etc.) words/phrases naturally follow the footsteps of the first as far as grammar.

That is two requests, or rather one request expressed in two different ways -- with the first one decribed more generally and the second , more specifically. Please note that in this case, the second part is not a real request as it says "I won't say (second request)" but the author still maintained the grammar form parallel to that of the first request.

What would happen if one chose to say 「ナメてかかというわけではなく」 instead? Nothing dramatic, really. It just would not flow as smoothly as with 「かか」 because it would lack parallelism. The native ears in any language just do not miss those little things.

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  • Thanks for the detailed answer. I am still a little confused the subject of ナメてかかれ. Could it be main uniforms? Or is it the person she is speaking to (the main character)? You an see the context here: ncode.syosetu.com/n6899db/2 – Locksleyu Jan 15 '17 at 16:56
  • ^「なめてかかれ」の主語は聞き手=主人公の「百瀬さん」ですね。ちなみに目的語は「アルバイトを・仕事を」ってことでしょうね – Chocolate Jan 16 '17 at 1:27
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The point is 「という」 after 「ナメてかかれ」.

This 「と」 is a particle of quotation, which takes a whole sentence before it. So 「ナメてかかれ」 can be looked at as a separate (sub-)sentence.

In this point of view, you might notice that 「かかれ」 is an imperative form of 「かかる」.
Thus, 「決してナメてかかれというわけではなく」 means "I never mean you should take it lightly".


As a side note, I translated 「ナメてかかる」 (== 「嘗めてかかる」, as you guessed) as "take it lightly" because the target of 「ナメてかかる」 is not limited to a person.
Though I'm not sure what the context is, the verb 「かかる」 here is fairly likely to mean something like "deal with" or "handle".
「なめる」 adds a somewhat negative nuance of thinking lightly of something.

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  • @downvoters 特にどこらへんが問題でしょうか・・・ Any suggestion for improvement? – Chocolate Jan 16 '17 at 1:49
  • 誰かもう1つdownvoteしてくれないかな? 変な回答は付けたくないけどPeer Pressureのbadgeは欲しいので – Faily Feely Jan 16 '17 at 3:39

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