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Excerpt From Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活 3

ラムの言動が素なのかかまかけなのかわかり難い。おそらく、後者だろうと思う

Ram just expressed a disparaging opinion of Subaru and he is wondering if she actually means what she says or ???

I’m parsing the sentence as なのか かまかけ なのか i.e. either su (seems to mean “plain, as-is”), or kamakake (unknown meaning). From the juxtaposition I initially suspected it means something like “exaggeration” or “understatement” but probably it was a wrong guess.

I could not find kamakake in its own in the dectionaries, but it seems there is 鎌{かま}を掛{か}ける with being “sickle”. iPhone dictionary offers “trick smb into telling the truth” but this meaning does not quite fit the context since Ram is not trying to get any secrets from Subaru. I also found this Gogen page but the explanation was a little difficult to grasp with my Japanese level so I’m still in the dark.

Is かまかけ indeed derived from 鎌を掛ける and what’s its exact meaning in this context?

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Yes this かまかけ is clearly a nominalized version of 鎌を掛ける, which is an idiom meaning "to trap someone into confessing". That is, Ram may be trying to induce him to unwittingly say something critical.

In general, typical かまかけ is done by asking something one doesn't know as if she already knew it. For example:

  • A: 昨日のディズニーランドは楽しかった? (←かまかけ)
  • B: え? あ、うん、楽しかったよ。
  • A: やっぱり! ディズニーランドに行ってたの?

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