2

The following is an excerpt from a dialogue with my language partner.

For some context: もちろん、学習法は人によって違います。私は多角的に学んでいくのが好きです。本を読む、ラジオや映画を観るのは1人でもできます。この2つは reading と listening の練習になります。文章を書く(writing)も1人でできますが、相手がいる方が楽しいですよね。会話(speaking) の練習も1人でできますが、会話の目的はコミュニケーションなので、相手がいた方がいいです。 コミュニケーションしたいという強い気持ちがあれば、リーディングもリスニングもライティングも、もっとずっと楽しくなります。がんばろうという強い動機(motivation) になるからです。 こうやってメッセージのやりとりをするのも、コミュニケーションの1つですよね。

The two sentences in question: コミュニケーションしたいという強い気持ちがあれば、リーディングもリスニングもライティングも、もっとずっと楽しくなります。がんばろうという強い動機(motivation) になるからです。

My attempt at translation: "When there is a strong

A)...communicationmotivation.. B)...motivation called communication...

Reading and Writing become much more enjoyable. This is because it becomes a ...A) 'let's do this'-motivation." ...B) motivation called 'let's do this'."

The problem is that I very well know that という is in many cases NOT to be translated literally (="he/she/it says or "is called"). I also know that it has many more functions than just marking a designation/description for the following noun. I must also admit though that I'm having a very hard time describing these other functions and therefore my skills handling these cases where the other functions apply are not the best. So, while I understand what she wants to tell me, I don't really know what function という is taking the respective sentences. It also confuses me A LOT how がんばろうという強い動機 works, since here a set expression is attached to the following nominal phrase. I haven't encountered something like that by now.

2

The key word here is apposition/appositive.

「Word/Phrase/Mini-Sentence + という + Noun/Noun Phrase」

What is said on either side of 「という」 is in apposition to the other. To put it most simply, the two sides are in an "A = B" relationship.

「がんばろうという強{つよ}い動機{どうき}」

「がんばろう」 is in apposition to 「強い動機」.

"a strong motivation to do my best"

Other examples:

「いつか日本に行きたいという夢{ゆめ}」 = "a/the/one's dream of going to Japan some day"

「毎日{まいにち}3時間勉強{じかんべんきょう}しなさいというアドバイス」= "the/one's advice to study 3 hours daily"

What I have often heard from Japanese-learners is that the fact that the verbs preceding the 「という」 can come in different forms (such as imperative, volitional, etc.) throws them off. I think I understand their feeling, but as far as translation is concerned, I would suggest that they use "(noun) to (verb)" or "(noun) of (verb)ing" as I did in all of the examples above. It would be awkward to use something like "let's" in the translation.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.