There's new, old and home?? in it. But I've seen multiple translations. If anyone could help it'd be appreciated.

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    Could you provide the context? Where did you see it? – Chocolate Jul 19 '17 at 11:40
  • Its in a table of contents in a Totoro book 1.新しい古いうち – KaylaK Jul 19 '17 at 11:52
  • Ohh I see... Yeah I remember that. – Chocolate Jul 19 '17 at 12:22


This is from 「となりのトトロ」. サツキ, メイ and their father move into a very old house. So the house is new to them (新しい[家]{うち}, new place, new home), though the house/building itself is actually very old. Literally "Our new old house". So I think it means "Our new home in an old house" or "An old house we newly moved in".

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    i think it should be translated "new old house" without the comma to capture this meaning. "new, old house" feeling a bit contradictory – A.Ellett Jul 19 '17 at 16:24
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    It's similar to the dilemma of what you call your newly purchased used car. – Paul Rowe Jul 19 '17 at 20:36
  • @mackygoo, A.Ellett ありがとうございます! ^^ – Chocolate Jul 19 '17 at 22:25
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    ああ、コンマがあると「新しくて古いうち」、コンマがないと「新しい古いうち」になるんですね… – naruto Jul 20 '17 at 1:48
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    @naruto Yes. In English the comma (in this case) and a semicolon can often act like the word "and". – A.Ellett Jul 20 '17 at 22:33


It might be written as 新しい古い家{うち}.
If my guess is correct, it must be "古{ふる}い建築{けんちく}様式{ようしき}の新築{しんちく}の家{いえ} a house of a newly built old architectural style".


I admit it was my perfect defeat as Chocolate knew of "となりのトトロ" from which the OP cited "新しい古いうち". I accept that the voting results is not positive because of my complete defeat. I do not regret it either. However, I am worried about how this minus evaluation appears on serious people who are studying Japanese. The reason why I prepared this EDIT is to prevent them from misunderstanding that my answer is essentially incorrect and that Chocolate's answer is correct. The correctness of the answer is only whether the answerers knew the unfamiliar or rather strange expression in "となりのトトロ" or not.

By the way, apart from the author and the readers who know the scene of "となりのトトロ", most of the Japanese who hear "新しい古いうち" should think at first as "what?" When I first saw this strange phrase I thought I have to interpret it and answer OP the question somehow. I examined it very hard. And after making a striving effort I could just reach to the idea of a newly build noted Japanese farmhouse with steeply slanted thatched-roofs in Gassho-zukuri style, that I showed in the picture.

To OP, first of all, please be aware that "新しい古いうち" does not make sense normally or sounds strange in Japanese. You can use it without problems if you say like "新しく移{うつ}った古いうち" or "新しく引{ひ}っ越{こ}してきた古いうち". Also, it is necessary for "a newly purchased used car" written in Pawl Rowe's comment to say as "新しく買{か}った古い車{くるま}" as opposed to "新しい古い車".

By the way if you can say "新しい古いうち" for "the old house you newly moved into" you can say "古い古いうち" for "the old house you moved out of".

There is an expression "古くて新しい" similar to that of "新しい古い something" useful when OP learns it. I understand that this is an adjective phrase with a positive meaning used in nuances like being re-evaluated in this modern society highly in the value of the traditional old one or being rather novel, wonderful or useful of things that have existed from long ago compared to current novelty things.






OPさんへ。「新しい古いうち」は、普通には通用しない日本語であることをまず知ってください。「新しく移った古いうち」や「新しく引っ越してきた古いうち」なら問題なく使えます。 また、Pawl Roweさんのコメントにある newly purchased used car も、「新しい古い車」ではなく「新しく買った古い車」のように言う必要があります。 



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    個人的にはそんな長文で語るほどの心配はないと思いますよー。文法や語彙的にはこれ以上ないくらいに平易ですし、英語でも"The new old ~"みたいな言い方は別に珍しくありません。「文脈がないと突飛で曖昧に見える、そういうよくある表現技法の一種だよ」の一言で十分かなーと。(ちなみに分類としてはオクシモロンです) – naruto Jul 21 '17 at 4:20

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