Context: these are thoughts of the one who 冬馬{とうま} is teaching to play the guitar.


The problem areas are marked bold. I understand that the one thinking finds Touma's behavior pleasant (although the actions are not polite...) and lists examples of it. I think I understand everything until the last one.

  • 俺を[貶す]{けなす}ために: to speak ill of me
  • いつも貧しい語彙を: her usually poor vocabulary?
  • 今だけ総動員するのが: "mobilize" only for this time?
  1. I don't understand how は changes the meaning of いつも. Is the vocabulary "poor as usual" or "usually poor but not this time"?
  2. Related to the previous meaning, can 総動員する in some contexts (maybe even here) mean "finding nice words" or is it like the previous sources of pleasure, "finding especially rude words"?
  1. This は is an exemplary case of the contrastive は. So it means "usually, but not this time." "Poor as usual" would be something like "いつも通り貧しい" or "いつものように貧しい." Overall meaning may not change with or without the contrastive は, but it does add nuances and the sentence definitely sounds a lot better for its presence in this case.

  2. "総動員する" means "to mobilize all the personnel of (a unit)," and on its own does not have anything to do with finding words, whether nice or rude. "語彙を総動員する" is indeed a figurative way of speaking, likening your vocabulary to an arsenal or army of words, the entirety of which is mobilized for the purpose of, in this particular case, verbally annihilating your opponent (who, somehow, seems to draw pleasure from it.)

(I should probably add that the phrase can be used in a variety of contexts, not limited to when insulting people. There's a lot of examples on google.)

  • 3
    If I add to this, 総動員 is a common metaphor used when you try to scrape up all your resources in the brain to serve a specific purpose. I 英語力を総動員 to write this :) May 9 '17 at 23:08
  • 1
    In terms of translating it to natural-sounding English, you could say "marshal" as well, like "marshal one's vocabulary." May 10 '17 at 20:36

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