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こんな、少女と言っていい歳の女の子が殺し屋だと?

I'm wondering if there is an omitted particle between the bolded いい and 歳 of the above sentence, which is the last sentence in the provided context below.

Context: Narrative character is thinking about another character named "Ein" (Ain in katakana).

アインの歳は幾つだろう? たしかに大人びた印象はあるが、どう見てもまだ子供だ。こんな、少女と言っていい歳の女の子が殺し屋だと?

I can infer the いい is most likely connected to the 言って as 言って is being quoted with the と particle; and the 歳 is connected to の女の子. Is there an omitted particle in the above sentence; and if there isn't, what is occurring in the bolded section of the sentence?

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    What particle even would go there?
    – Angelos
    Oct 1, 2019 at 4:53

1 Answer 1

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There is no omitted particle. 少女と言っていい ("where it's good to say girl"; "safely called a girl") is a relative clause that modifies 歳 ("age").

  • 大人と言っていい人
    a person who you can call an adult

  • 少女と言っていい歳
    an age which you can call a shōjo('s age)

As for the difference between 少女 and 女の子, 少女 is a relatively literary word for a girl roughly between 8 and 17. 女の子 also includes female babies, and sometimes young female adults roughly up to 30, too (like the recent use of 女子).

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  • How is the いい in と言っていい able to form a relative clause to modify the noun 歳 if いい (as far as I'm aware) is not a verb?
    – Toyu_Frey
    Oct 1, 2019 at 5:51
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    @Toyu_Frey Adjectives can form relative clauses. Think of something like "a tall person" 背の高い人.
    – Leebo
    Oct 1, 2019 at 6:28
  • Interestingly, I have always found that Japanese adjectives (形容詞) behave a lot like verbs, and this article seems to agree: "In Japanese, aoi "blue" is effectively a descriptive verb rather than an adjective." This one does call them attributive verbs.
    – Matt.P
    Oct 1, 2019 at 11:22
  • @MattP Yes, this answer explains about this topic in detail japanese.stackexchange.com/a/1016/5010
    – naruto
    Oct 1, 2019 at 11:30
  • @Leebo If real life were a manga, my face at reading your comment would have 垂れ線 lines over it; alongside the caption 'how could I have forgotten this...?' -> (Been so long she totally forgot). Just something I thought I would share.
    – Toyu_Frey
    Oct 1, 2019 at 16:47

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