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I'm a bit confused about this sentence:

斜陽の日本語は、私でもたまに難しい

This part is easy: 斜陽の日本語は. It means "the Japanese (language) in (the book) The Setting Sun ..."

But this second bit confuses me a lot: 私でもたまに. I read it as: "I ... but occasionally ... difficult." What?

What's the meaning of 私でもたまに in this sentence?

(Maybe it means "but occasionally, I find it difficult?" If that's the case, shouldn't でも be placed before 私?)

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This usage of でも is the て form of です plus も 'even'.

Some examples (from Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar):

先生でも間違います。

Even a teacher makes mistakes.

私は難しい仕事でもします。

I will even do a difficult job.

ここからでも富士山が見えます。

Even from here you can see Mt. Fuji.

Therefore, 私でも is something like "even if it's me".

Putting it all together, we could translate it to something like:

The Japanese (language) in (the book) The Setting Sun, even to me is occasionally difficult.

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    More precisely, a form of だ. The て form of です is でして. – snailcar Jun 12 '18 at 5:13
  • Thanks. So "but" and "even" can be written in the same way ... but then how to tell if it's "but or "even"? – alex Jun 12 '18 at 5:34
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    @alex The same way you tell apart bear and bear. Context. – snailcar Jun 12 '18 at 9:22

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