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The sentence in question is from the text in exercise 8, line 3-5 https://www.docdroid.net/RgiQk0x/img-20170517-0001-new.pdf.html

僕の時計が「7時だよ。おはよう。おきろ」と、起こしてくれるのだが、無意識に止めて、また寝てしまう。

First, the と in bold. First I thought it is related to the quotation, but in context of the whole text this clearly has to be a conditional clause. so the と言う was omitted completely here I guess?

Second, I feel a bit uncertain about the subject of 起こしてくれる in bold. I guess it is the alarm clock? It is a transitive verb according to the dictionary, and there’s nothing that would make it intransitive here (at least not to my knowledge). And if I understand the concept of て-form + もらう、くれる etc. correctly, then it wouldn’t make sense that the narrator here „gives waking up to himself“. There’s also some uncertainty about the tense. 起こしてくれるのだが should be in the past related to 無意識に止めて、また寝てしまう But there is no verbal form indicating a past tense. On the other hand, it works just fine to say it in present tense. I just wanted to mention it because it feels a bit off to me, so maybe there’s more to this than I see right now.

So, I would translate the sentence like this: “When my clock says ‘it’s seven o clock. Good morning. Rise and shine!’, even though it wakes me up, I unconsciously turn it off and unfortunately go to sleep again.”

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The と you're asking about is in fact a quotation marker of sorts. You can use it without 言う or 思う and it will produce the idea of saying something or thinking something that adds details or explanation to the main clause. Eg.

おかしいなあと、ドアをゆっくり開けた

Thinking to myself "Now isn't that strange", I slowly opened the door.

In this case it's personifying the clock by giving it some imaginary dialogue.

僕の時計が「7時だよ。おはよう。おきろ」と...

My clock, saying "It's seven! Good morning! Get up!", ...

As for 起こしてくれる, the subject of the sentence is still 僕の時計 (my clock) so you were right to view the expression as "my clock wakes me up" (gives me the action of waking me up). This shows a slight but significant amount of gratitude.

The のだ is explaining the situation by telling us readers what circumstances the writer is under, and the が is "but".

So, I believe that your translation is quite accurate.

“When my clock says ‘it’s seven o clock. Good morning. Rise and shine!’, even though it wakes me up, I unconsciously turn it off and unfortunately go to sleep again.”

  • "a slight but significant" is a bit of oxymoron if you ask me :) – Igor Skochinsky May 17 '17 at 14:46
  • Agreed, haha! It feels like using くれる tells us something more like 'it very nicely does this for me' but doesn't tell us that he is forever indebted to it for its service. I didn't articulate that very well. :) – tcallred May 17 '17 at 14:50
  • I just wonder if the と here is indeed the particle marking a quotation, where do we get the conditional (or almost temporal) "when" from in our translation? – Narktor May 18 '17 at 10:15
  • That's really a matter of context. If it is clear that the clause is some sort of quote (thought or spoken) then the と can be interpreted as a quotation marker. This is very explicit in this example because of the quotation markers. However, if the clause is a full statement that one could naturally attach an "if" to, then it should be interpreted as a conditional. Context is key. – tcallred May 18 '17 at 14:18
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My attempt at the translation from yours: “Even though my clock wakes me up, saying ‘it’s seven o clock. Good morning. Rise and shine!’, I unconsciously turn it off and unfortunately go to sleep again.”

so the と言う was omitted completely here I guess?

Yes, but と言って

起こしてくれるのだが should be in the past related to 無意識に止めて、また寝てしまう

It's fine in the present or basic tense because it's saying about a habitual practice.

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