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I saw this sentence in a textbook:

原則としては、返却しないといけないことになってるんですけど、

I'm assuming this usage corresponds to jisho's definition, as (for); for; in the capacity of​ They break it down a bit in some subtext that points to it being として plus topic particle は, but that wouldn't make sense if we were talking in terms of DOGJ's definition.

In DOGJ they describe としては as a particle that demonstrates a standard for comparisons. For example,

ジョンソンさんは日本語の一年生としては日本語が上手だ。 

How do the two usages relate to each other? Can you relate them to each other? Are they separate grammar constructions that just coincidentally evolved in the same way so that they have the same reading?

My best guess is that としては decribed in the DOJG is とする + ては, but I'm not really sure.

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原則としては、返却しないといけないことになってるんですけど、

This feels like として + は where は is the topic marker.

ジョンソンさんは日本語の一年生としては日本語が上手だ。

This feels like the same として + a different は, where this は is being used with its contrastive function.

一年生として = "in the role of a first year student".

一年生としては = "in the role of a first year student, compared to all the other roles he could have".

This sounds like the 'standard for comparison' referred to in DOJG.

Note that I am not a native speaker or a grammar expert, so better to wait for some confirmation/condemnation from an expert.

  • I have a question. I understood that the first one stands for a topic. Then, doesn't it express contrast (to the hidden next line)? – user4092 Aug 27 '18 at 3:07
  • @user4092 From my extremely limited experience the distinction between topic and contrast is very grey, and I'm sure it could be understood as you suggest, but I can't see at the moment how that would add clarity to the answer. Of course, I'm happy to see alternative ideas. My answer was, after all, just my feeling rather than facts. – user3856370 Aug 27 '18 at 7:46

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