3

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 described in the DOJG is とする + ては, but I'm not really sure.

2 Answers 2

1

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.

2
  • 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
    Commented Aug 27, 2018 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. Commented Aug 27, 2018 at 7:46
1

Calling としては a 'particle that demonstrates a standard for comparison' is particularly unhelpful because, for one thing, it is not a particle. It is the -te form of とする, 'to suppose that, to consider [it] as, to take [it] as, to treat [it] as true that', and this follows a sentence. The notion of 'standard for comparison' comes from the sum of the parts, as it were, but this is only applicable when it follows a noun.

If it is preceded by a noun, we can assume the copula has been omitted, in your examples, 原則[だ]としては, 'taking it as a principle', and, 一年生[だ]としては, 'considering that he is a first-year student'.

There is no harm in thinking of the overall structure as one unit, but particle it is not. And the presence of は makes the verb phrase conditional, as -ては does when attached to a verb---'if you take it as a principle', 'if you consider that he is a first-year student', but は is not necessary to convey the intended meaning.

The English translation with the present participle, 'taking to be', 'considering as', is very close in sense to として without は.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .