I can understand the gist of what the below sentence is saying; but the part in the first section that's only hiragana (bolded part) is confusing me.


I think that the そうな is a そう+な-particle, but seeing as how I don't know what the しのげ that comes directly before it is, I could easily be wrong in my understanding of what the そうな hiragana in the above sentence actually means.

I am unable to tell if the の is a particle の, or is a part of a しの-stem/しのげ-stem, which presents another issue. I've tried looking up the 'usage of げ' under the assumption that しのげ is a しの-stem + げ, but nothing I found helped me. I did find this answer, but I believe it served to only confuse me more as the first answer says that "...this makes 〜げ more subjective whereas 〜そう is more objective..." which means that in my sentence they are contradicting each other?

Looking on Jisho.org gave me no results for しのげ, and a few for しの; but I still don't know what the げ is used for?


そうな is indeed そう + particle な, where the な here is the same noun-modifying な as in 綺麗な or 静かな.

しのげ is the stem of しのげる, the potential form of verb 凌【しの】ぐ, "to get through something, to endure something, to put up with something".

So しのげそうな =

  • しのげ "can get through, can endure"
  • そう "seems like"
  • な (modifier particle)

Looking at the first half of your sample text:


"This cold" is what the verb 凌ぐ takes as its object, and here that phrase modifies the 防寒服【ぼうかんふく】.

この 寒さ を しのげそう な 防寒服 を 手渡され、
This cold [OBJ] can-endure-seems [MOD] against-cold-clothes [OBJ] hand-transferred →
I was handed heavy winter clothes that seemed like they could stand up to this cold, ...

  • Out of curiosity, where did you get the 'heavy' from in the original text?
    – Toyu_Frey
    May 8 '19 at 1:22
  • 1
    @Toyu_Frey Casual winter clothes are usually called 冬服. 防寒服 refers to heavy ones you need in places like high mountains and Alaska.
    – naruto
    May 8 '19 at 9:58
  • I don't think you can call that な a particle. If you go by school grammar, then it's an inflectional ending. Otherwise, it's a form of the copula だ.
    – jukbot
    May 8 '19 at 15:24
  • 1
    @jukbot, it might not be classed as a 助詞 in official 教育文法, but in English, it's clearest to describe it as a "particle". (Indeed, I think a case can be made in Japanese as well that this is properly categorized as a 助詞, as the modern functional equivalent of the OJP な. Per Shogakukan: 「〔格助〕体言を受け、その体言が下の体言の修飾にたつことを示す上代語。」 The な used after nouns in modern Japanese works very similarly, although the derivation is different. Also, the modern な is a contraction of にあり・にある; this is not derived from だ, so calling it an "inflection" of だ is strange, in many ways.) May 8 '19 at 16:04
  • @naruto Can 防寒服 also refer to winter clothes that are used in highish altitude desert regions (such as in the book I'm attempting to translate), or open plains that contain tundra, like Mongolia? I'm just trying to get the nuances correct, if there are any.
    – Toyu_Frey
    May 8 '19 at 18:18

しのぐ (dictionary form) "to endure"/"to stave off"/"keep out" etc..この寒さをしのぐ = keep out this cold.

しのげる = potential form of しのぐ = able to keep out

しのげそうな = attributive form of そうだ added to masu-stem of verb = seem to be able to keep out.

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