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あの手は現代とはルールのちがうコミのない時代だから好手とされたのだ

(Panel this phrase comes from)

(Komi is a rule in go that exists in the modern era, but did not exist in the Edo period. This kid appears to be using a style of play from the Edo period.)

My attempt to translate:

That move, since it was a time when rules were different from the modern era and there was no Komi, was considered to be the best move.

At first I thought ちがう was attached to コミ ("different komi") which did not make sense to me; so I think it was actually attached to 時代 making it a noun with two phrases attached to it, but I could be wrong about that, so

Parse attempt:

あの手は "That move" (topic)

現代とはルールのちがう[時代] "[time] when rules were different from the modern era" (first noun phrase. actually this phrase confuses me, what is とは doing here)

コミのない時代 "Time when there was no Komi" (second noun phrase) (I think の replaces が here?)

だから "because it was" (creates dependent clause)

好手されたのだ "[it's the case that] it was considered the best move" (main comment)

So I guess I have two questions:

  • What is going on in 〜とは〜のちがう phrase and why is it arranged that way?

  • Is it correct to parse this as two noun phrases attached to one noun or am I on the wrong track?

Fake Edit: ran のちがう through eow.alc.co.jp and realized it's just parsable as 'different' but I am still confused about とは and not sure if I'm right that のちがう is attached to 時代

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    Related: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/12825/9831 -- 「[現代とはルール{の/が}違う]時代」「[コミ{の/が}ない]時代」 – Chocolate Aug 6 '18 at 1:34
  • ああ、そうです。それも考えましたね。ありがとうございます、Chocolateさん^^それによれば、ふたつの名詞句が「時代」に付かれたと思いは正しいですか? – Janusz ヤヌシュ Aug 6 '18 at 1:58
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Your understanding is basically correct. There was no such a thing as komi in the Edo era in the first place. So the sentence should be parsed like:

(ルールのちがう(コミのない時代))

Rather than:

(ルールのちがう(コミ))のない時代

In other words, it's "the komi-less era when rules were different" rather than "the era when komi with different rules did not exist".

If it were ルールの違うコミのあった時代, it would perhaps be parsed like (ルールのちがう(コミ))のあった時代, or "the era when komi with different rules existed". So the correct parsing strategy depends on the context and your knowledge about go.

In general, it's very common for two modifiers to effectively modify one noun. Usually there are two ways to grammatically explain it.

  • コミのない時代, as a long noun phrase, is modified by another relative clause (relative clauses are "nested", as shown above)
  • Alternatively, you can think the two relative clauses (ルールのちがう and コミのない) both independently modify 時代.
  • Thank you very much! I guess this is one of those cases where being already intimately familiar with the story comes to my advantage. – Janusz ヤヌシュ Aug 6 '18 at 2:45

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