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おかしな服を着た連中には我慢がならん。
He couldn't bear folk who wore strange clothes.

My translation comes from the obvious context, plus the fact that Jisho says of ならん "Cannot bear not to". But I can't understand how it works. Should I just learn に(は)我慢がならん as a set phrase, or can the parts be understood separately?

My thought was that ならん may be a contraction of ならない (which seemed like a good idea because に always pairs up with なる). But then I literally have: Xには我慢がならん = patience does not become X. Which makes no sense.

Could you show me some other example using ならん? Do they have to use 我慢?

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Yes, ならん is colloquialism for ならぬ, which is a literary/older version of ならない. Practically, you should learn 我慢(が)ならない as a set phrase meaning "unbearable". We never say 我慢がなる. This ない is obviously a negation marker, but there are several fixed expressions where ない has been almost incorporated in a single adjective.

Other examples:

  • 鼻持ちならない / 鼻持ちならぬ / 鼻持ちならん
  • 聞き捨てならない / 聞き捨てならぬ / 聞き捨てならん
  • やんごとない
  • 不甲斐ない
  • やむない

If you want to understand the なる part etymologically, this 成る【なる】 means something like "to do/accomplish" rather than "to become" (cf. 為せば成る). ならぬ/ならん by itself can mean "that's impossible" or "don't do it".

And also note that this 着た is not "who wore" but "wearing". See: Use of かける (N5 question)

  • Maybe I should have said "he can't bear people who wear", but I felt that "he couldn't bear people who wore" was a more natural way to express the same thing in English. I wasn't suggesting that 着た had a past tense meaning here. Thanks for pointing it out though. – user3856370 Jan 29 at 16:19
  • @user3856370 Ah, my mistake, I did not notice the main verb was also in the past tense. – naruto Jan 29 at 16:57

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