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タピオカは暑いところでできる芋から作った食べ物で、最近若い人。。。

I can't understand the part underlined quite well.

Does it mean that Tapioca is made from 芋 that is grown in hot places, or does it mean that Tapioca is made in hot places from 芋?

I think the core of this question is that I am not sure about the meaning of できる here. Does it mean food-making (in this case, tapioca making), or does it mean plant-growing (in this case, 芋 growing)?

Could anyone help me with this question? I just registered this account to ask it. Thank you soooo much!!!

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    This isn’t the part you’re asking about, but it might help to realize it’s 作った rather than 使った. – snailboat Sep 10 at 14:15
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So you are asking which of the following two parsing strategies is correct:

  1. ((暑いところでできる→)芋から作った→)食べ物
  2. (暑いところでできる→)((芋から作った→)食べ物)

And the correct answer is 1. 暑いところでできる is modifying 芋 as a relative clause, and this できる means "(for a plant) to grow". The whole phrase means "food which is made from tubers which grow in hot places".

Why? Because 1 is simpler in that each relative clause is modifying a single word right after it. You don't have to think of the possibility of 2 when 1 makes perfect sense. (EDIT: In addition, if 2 were the intended meaning, they would have simply said 暑いところで芋から作った食べ物 or 暑いところで芋からできる食べ物.)

Ultimately, when there are two or more modifiers, including relative clauses, you have to determine the correct meaning from the context. For a detailed discussion about this, please see: Are Japanese modifiers "greedy", "anti-greedy", or do they mean whatever people choose them to mean?

  • WOW!! THANK YOU SO MUCH NARUTO!! Very detailed, very well-explained, very logical! – Cassandra Diaz Sep 10 at 16:17

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