3

Just before the quoted passage, the narrator says a whistling going "Don!" happens at the same time as he stumbles and ends up stooped. Then:

もちろん、いくら昔の話でも発車のベルは「ドン!」などとは鳴らないし、発車のベルが人を突き飛ばすこともない。

My attempted translation:

Of course, though this happened a long time ago, it couldn't be possible that the bell would go “Don!” and send someone flying.

Here I assume こともない means "it's not possible/the case that..." Is this correct?

  • 1
    「鳴らさないし」→「鳴らないし」じゃないですか? – Chocolate May 30 '17 at 15:53
  • Right you are. I don't know how the 'sa' got in there. Updated it accordingly. Thanks! – Robert May 31 '17 at 3:15
6

「~こともない」 is made of 「~ことはない」(don't ever~~) + 「も」(either).
「~ことはない」 is the negation of 「~ことがある」(occasionally do~~).

Compare:
ベルが人を突き飛ばすことがある。-- The bell occasionally/sometimes pushes people away.
ベルが人を突き飛ばすことはない。-- The bell wouldn't ever push people away.
ベルが人を突き飛ばすこともない。-- The bell wouldn't ever push people away, either. / Nor would it ever push people away.

「ドン!」などとは鳴らないし、発車のベルが人を突き飛ばすこともない

「~~ないし、~~もない」 means "neither ~~ nor ~~".

"The bell would never go 'Don!', nor would it ever push people away."

  • This answer goes directly to the question I asked, so I moved the tick here. When I first read the sentence, a similar translation occurred to me, but I rejected it because I couldn't figure out why the narrator would reject that a bell goes 'Don'. I guess that sound must have rung out in his boyish imagination but on reflection he must have realised it didn't happen. Anyway, thanks! – Robert May 31 '17 at 3:25
3

-「ドン!」
- 人を突き飛ばす "to shove people by the explosion of the round shot"

「ドン!」in the story of がばいばあちゃん, I think, is not a mere onomatopoeia of something, but the sound of a blank shot by a heavy gun or a cannon. In Meiji era they fired a blank shot to tell citizens the time of noon, which is written here. Sometimes ドン meant, I once heard, not only the sound of a cannon but a cannon itself in those day.

There is another ドン which is something to do with this ドン; that is used in 「位置{いち}に着{つ}いて、よーい(用意{ようい})、ドン」 which means On your mark!, Ready! / Get set!, Go!. The last ドン is of course the sound of firing a starting pistol.

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    @Robert: I edited the link of "Time Gun、Noon-day Gun". – mackygoo May 28 '17 at 7:31
1

こともない means "it's not possible/the case that.

こともない is a kind of emphasis of "have/do not either."

It is emphasizing or pointing out that a bell would never go "don" or shove someone.

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