0

In the trailer of the game-based anime Satsuriku no Tenshi, at 1:08 Rachel (the blonde little girl) says "私を殺して“. Now, as for my limited japanese, I would think that she says "I'll kill you", because of the を particle besides 私. But as I played the game this anime is based on, she actually wants Zack (the other guy) to kill her.

If so, wouldn't that be "私を殺されて"? As Rachel, who's speaking, wants to "receive" the killing. But even Google Translate traduces "私を殺して“ as "kill me please", leaving 殺す, the infinitive, as "I'll kill you".

So, where am I failing at? What would be the correct form to interpret it so I would understand "私を殺して“ as "kill me please"? Has the te-form have something to do with my misinterpretation?

5

You may be overthinking things.

殺す works pretty much like English 'kill'. 殺して is a request - 'please kill'.

殺される is passive. It works pretty much like English 'be killed'. 殺されて in this context would be a (rather odd) request - 'please be killed'. It doesn't have anything to do with adding a 'receiving' meaning - it's just a syntactic change that shifts participants' grammatical status around. It doesn't change anything about the action being described, and it doesn't alter the relationships of the participants to the action.

を marks an object, which is the party affected by an action. If it was 'I'll kill you', you is the object, and you'd expect 君を殺す. 殺す on its own doesn't specify anything about who is killing who, and you infer from context. (A side note - Japanese doesn't really have 'infinitives' in the Indo-European sense, and 殺す is just the uninflected citation form.)

私を殺されて is possible, but very odd in this usage - when passives in Japanese take objects, the meaning is one of 'I'm negatively affected by this happening', which you wouldn't at all expect in a request.

  • 2
    私を殺されて is ungrammatical, as passives can't take objects This is not true; passives take objects all the time (see Passive form - The exact difference between を and が). And though 私を殺されて may be unusual, it's not ungrammatical. There could even be context where it works; I'm thinking maybe a story where a person was killed, and then during narration (as a ghost or whatever), is giving an exposition of how a loved one carried on. ...弟は私を殺されて孤児になっていった.... – istrasci Jul 6 '18 at 4:16
  • @istrasci That's fair, I wasn't thinking about adversative passives. I'll update to correct. – Sjiveru Jul 6 '18 at 14:33

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

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