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Chapter 1 of がばいばあちゃん has the following sentence.

けれど、家の中でピーピー泣いているうちは、まだ近所迷惑程度で済んだ。(my italics)

Two things stood out when I was trying to make a translation. One is ピーピー. What sort of crying is this exactly? Or would we just say crying with the sound "peepee"?

As for the italics part, I attempted this overall translation.

However, while I cried with a waah waah from inside the house, I still ended up being a nuisance to the neighbourhood.

(I realise うち means 'during', not 'inside'). I'm not entirely sure about why まだ is included, although before the text does mention the protagonist crying before as well as a result of his separation from his mother. Another thing that confused me is the で済んだ construction. I thought this was generally used in the positive sense of "get by without ~ing", but here it appears to be negative. Please enlighten me.

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crying with the sound "peepee"

Theoretically so. But it's actually an onomatopoeia that diminutively and figuratively hints crying of a small animal like a bird chirping.

まだ近所迷惑程度で済んだ。

I still ended up being a nuisance to the neighbourhood.

This 済む means something like "only being." He is saying that he was still "just being a nuisance to the neighbourhood" at that stage or time but this まだ hints he would be a bigger problem later.

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As for ピーピー, it is an onomatopoeia of the cry of a baby bird. So がばいばあちゃん wanted to express her grandson to be unripe and noisy just like a baby bird.

As for で済んだ, yes, it is generally used in the positive sense of "get by without ~ing".
In this context, the state of the baby's ピーピー crying is expressed as a far better situation than that of something else, so the cry was expressed in the positive sense like to get by without making a further more trouble or annoyance.

  • There is a sentence before where the landlady comes to his flat and tells him off for crying: "泣いたらダメよ". He also ends up annoying his older brother: "泣いては兄ちゃんを困らせていた". Perhaps ピーピー is his attempt to not bother these two people, but he still upsets the neighbours, hence that sentence? – Robert May 28 '17 at 4:01
  • @Robert: >ピーピー is his attempt to not bother these two people, ... I'm sorry I couldn't give you an exact explanation. – mackygoo May 28 '17 at 4:30
  • I didn't put the full context in my question. So, I realise answering it might involve a degree of speculation. Sorry; that was my mistake. – Robert May 28 '17 at 4:31

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