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For full context: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/k10011218521000/k10011218521000.html

The sentence in question: 去年1月から12月までより多くて、今まででいちばん多くなりました。

I always had my issues with より. I think I know what the sentence tells me contentwise, but I can't figure out a proper translation without feeling rather uncomfortable. I used this guide to refresh my knowledge about comparisons with より and also used their literal way of interpreting より. http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/comparison#Using_for_comparisons-2

Here's my attempt at literal translation: "As opposed to last year (=from last years first month to last month), (the tourists) being many, out of (all the years?) until now they/it became the (having) most (tourists (year))."

So, since it is rather obvious from the context that this year has broken the record in tourists/p.a., I think that 今までで refers to "(out of) all years until now" and therefore puts all those years into comparison with 去年去年1月から12月 (="this year").

However, coordinating these 2 quite big arguments on both sides of より, I feel like I'm missing out on something when constructing a translation which basically just says: "This years tourists were more than any other years tourists.", when there is a phrase like 去年去年1月から12月 expressing "this year" and two occurences of "many" (=多きい/多く) representing the tourists. The latter also gave me some trouble in analysing the components of 今まででいちばん多くなりました. I'm still not entirely sure which way I have to parse this: Is 多く part of the object in "became the year (having) most (tourists)" or is it it part of the subject "most tourists in "they became the most tourists out of all years". I have a tendency towards the first version, since 今までで in this context suggests that "year" could be the subject of なる here, at least in my eyes.

But whatever, while I think that I got the content of the sentence right, I definitely need some help with the grammar...^^

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    Careful about the difference between 去年 and 今年. – mamster Nov 13 '17 at 21:51
  • I find that either 'compared to' or 'rather than' work 99% of the time. "compared to (the period) from January to December last year they are many" = "There are more tourists than the period from January to December last year". – user3856370 Nov 13 '17 at 21:52
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As previous sentence describes,

今年、日本へ旅行に来た外国人は、11月4日に、2403万9700人以上になりました。

We are talking about the number of tourists during an interval in a statistical data.

去年1月から12月までより多くて

You may guess "去年1月から12月まで" is an interval for a statistical data since they already fixed the interval saying "去年1月から12月まで" and the context from a previous sentence. Now, even if you forgot the "今年” which appeared in the beginning, you still have "去年" in this sentence. So, you can think that they are comparing an interval "up to now in this year" and an interval "last year". Besides, an interval "up to now in this year" has a relationship "より多い" with an interval "last year". If you forgot the mathematical symbol for "より多い/少ない" which is ">","<" in the same order.

Until now in this sentence, "去年1月から12月までより多くて" is simply comparing the number between "up to now" and "last year". Approaching the goal, saying "今までで" implies they are talking about the data up until now in the all data they collected and the phrase becomes prepositional clause to the next.

Last but not least, "いちばん多くなりました。" explains the number of an interval "up to now in this year" has become the largest in the data.

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去年1月から12月までより多くて、今まででいちばん多くなりました。

上記の文は、「今年は11か月間に日本に来た外国人の数が去年12か月間の数より多いので、日本に来る外国人の数が歴史上いちばん多い年になることが11か月経{た}った現時点で分かりました。」という意味です。

去年までの統計を見ると、去年1年間の日本に来た外国人の数、すなわち年間の日本に来た外国人の数は、去年が歴史上1番だったのでしょう。

今年は、11か月経過時点ですでに昨年の数字を超えていますので、「今まででいちばん多くなりました。」すなわち、「歴史上いちばん多い年になることが11か月経った現時点で分かりました。」と言えるのでしょう。

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より多く

より in this case means being one level/step further. So in the context of your sentence, you're saying that currently the situation's exceeded the usual.

It could be used to express more or less, hotter or warmer, boring or excited, etc.

今年、想像以上にBitcoinはより儲かったんですね。This year Bitcoin has been unexpectedly more profitable than I would've imagined.

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    Your example sentence is fairly ambiguous. Upon hearing/seeing 今年より儲かった, most native speakers would think you mean there was a year that was more profitable than this year. – l'électeur Nov 14 '17 at 4:15
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    「去年1月から12月までより多くて・・」の「より」は副詞の「[より]{LH})」じゃなくて格助詞の「[より]{HL}/ [より]{LL}」"than~"ですよね・・こっち→dictionary.goo.ne.jp/jn/228484/meaning/m0u/より – Chocolate Nov 14 '17 at 13:57
  • @Chocolate その通りです。 l'electeur I reorganized the sample sentence to clarify. – keithmaxx Nov 15 '17 at 1:26

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