6

I found this sentence:

食事の時しか顔を合わせることもなかったし、互いに口を開いて声を出すこともなかった。映画をよく見に行くぐらいのことしかしない高校生だったのだが、母から見れば俗世に気持を奪われている私が我慢ならず、たまに憤怒の言葉を投げつけてきたが、そうすると私は、十八になったらすぐに家を出て行くんだ、と母に言い返していた

which is translated:

In high school a fondness for the movies was about the worst I could have been accused of, but Mother had no patience with such frivolity and would snap angrily at me from time to time. "I'm leaving home as soon as I turn eighteen," I'd retort

Reading 私が我慢ならず I thought it means something like "I can't/couldn't tolerate", since the marks as subject, but from the translation it seems to be the mother.

As far as I found, 母から見れば should mean "From my mother's perspective", and たまに憤怒の言葉を投げつけてきた that occasionally someone (I think the mother) uses angry words; the in 私が throws me off, though: it seems to mark as the subject, but then what follows until the next seems to have the mother as subject.

I found that can also mark the object of some verbs, so I guess that's the case, but after browsing SE for a while I can't find anything that makes me understand how can I say if in 私が我慢ならず is the object or the subject.

I also don't really understand 俗世に気持を奪われている私, not sure if this matters in the question at hand - it sounds like "The me who had her feelings stolen by the world", which could make sense if the mother was angry at the daughter being passive, but the translation uses "frivolity".

(Also, I noticed it's 我慢ならず and not 我慢しない, not sure how なる instead of する influences here; I'm guessing it's 我慢(に)なる, meaning the mother reached the point of not having patience with the daughter, but again I'm guessing.)

2

Let's look more closely at the core pieces you're struggling with.

Chunk 1

Reading 私が我慢ならず I thought it means something like "I can't/couldn't tolerate", since the marks as subject, but from the translation it seems to be the mother.

Your interpretation isn't quite right here. が does indeed mark 私 as the subject, but it would only mean "I can't tolerate" if the verb were 我慢する -- the active form.

Instead, the verb here is 我慢なる -- literally, "to become tolerance" (?), idiomatically closer to "to be bearable". Note that verbs of becoming, potential, and ability and certain adjectives (like なる, 分かる, できる, すき, きらい, etc.) require が on the noun, and the verbs / adjectives semantically describe a quality of that noun. So this is saying that the 私 isn't bearable in relation to someone else (the 母 mentioned earlier in the text).

Chunk 2

As far as I found, 母から見れば should mean "From my mother's perspective", and たまに憤怒の言葉を投げつけてきた that occasionally someone (I think the mother) uses angry words; the in 私が throws me off, though: it seems to mark as the subject, but then what follows until the next seems to have the mother as subject.

I found that can also mark the object of some verbs, so I guess that's the case, but after browsing SE for a while I can't find anything that makes me understand how can I say if in 私が我慢ならず is the object or the subject.

FWIW, I disagree with the linked post stating that が marks objects, much as thread commenter Nick Overacker says -- those are only objects after translation into English. In Japanese, they work out differently -- the following verb / adjective is still describing a quality of the noun marked with が, i.e. grammatically, that noun is still a subject. See my note above in Chunk 1 about verbs of becoming, potential, or ability.

Again, the が on the 私 still marks that 私 as the subject -- but only of the immediate context, of that embedded clause. If you're at all familiar with programming languages, the 私 as subject only applies to that inner scope, and the 母 remains the subject (or really topic) of the outermost scope -- until the topic is explicitly changed later in the text, with 「そうすると私​[は]{●}​、」

Chunk 3

I also don't really understand 俗世に気持を奪われている私, not sure if this matters in the question at hand - it sounds like "The me who had her feelings stolen by the world", which could make sense if the mother was angry at the daughter being passive, but the translation uses "frivolity".

It looks like you've correctly identified this as one long phrase modifying the 私. I'll warn that translations often take certain liberties, so don't view the "frivolity" as necessarily what this means.

A word-for-word translation is ugly, but sometimes useful to break things down.

[母]{mother }[から]{from}[見]{look}[れば]{if}[俗世]{everyday world  }[に]{by}[気持]{sentiment}[を]{  [OBJ]  }[奪われて]{  stealing [PASSIVE]  }[いる]{is}[私]{I}

So the "I" is having her 気持ち ("sentiment, feelings, emotions", even "attention") stolen away by the 俗世 ("the everyday world", basically "society"). And since it's the "I" that's telling us this, she clarifies that this is only 母から見れば -- "if viewed from [my] mother → from [my] mother's perspective". The 俗【ぞく】 in 俗世【ぞくせ】 has overtones of "low-brow, common, vulgar", which is why the 母 might view this as a bad thing.

Overall

What seems to be throwing you off is that we have embedded sub-clauses here. Let's visually break this up a little bit to clarify what's going on:

母から見れば俗世に気持を奪われている私が我慢ならず、

母から見れば
                  私が我慢ならず、
      俗世に気持を奪われている

  • 母から見れば establishes the context -- "if viewed from [my] mother → from [my] mother's perspective".
  • The main thrust of this line is 私が我慢ならず -- "I was not bearable".
  • The bit about 俗世 is a descriptor modifying that 私, telling us more about 私 -- "having [my] feelings / emotions / attention stolen away by the everyday (vulgar) world".

Chunk 4

(Also, I noticed it's 我慢あらず and not 我慢しない, not sure how なる instead of する influeces here; I'm guessing it's 我慢(に)なる, meaning the mother reached the point of not having patience with the daughter, but again I'm guessing.)

See above about 我慢する vs. 我慢なる.


Please comment if the above doesn't address your question.

  • Not to derail your answer on a minor point, but re: “I disagree [...] that が marks objects”, what do you think of the linguistic tests that can be used to distinguish subjects and nominative objects? (I mention two here) – Darius Jahandarie Oct 19 at 2:49
  • @DariusJahandarie, haven't had time to hunt down or read the papers. The examples of ~を[ADJ], and particularly ~をほしい, are fascinatingly odd. I really must wonder if we're not seeing changes in grammar through influence from other languages, notably English where want is unambiguously a transitive verb. So too with 分かる vs. understand. I don't suppose you have any information on when this ~を[ADJ] or ~を分かる grammar pattern appears in the historical record? – Eiríkr Útlendi Oct 21 at 22:44
5

母から見れば、私我慢ならない

means "In my mother's eyes, I am unbearable."

As you know, 我慢(が)ならない means 我慢できない (or 耐えられない). These are interchangeable in most cases.

ならない means できない in some fixed phrases, eg 油断ならない, 聞き捨てならない. 我慢ならない, 油断ならない sound a tiny bit more formal/literary than ~できない.

You can use it this way:

  • 私(に)は彼の態度我慢ならない/我慢できない
    His attitude is unbearable to me
  • 私は彼の態度(は)我慢(が)ならない/我慢できない
    I can't put up with his attitude
  • or sometimes 私は彼の態度我慢できない but 彼の態度我慢(が)ならない sounds unnatural.
    I can't put up with his attitude

In your context, the が in 我慢ならない marks the subject. (It's not that the subject who does 我慢 is 私.)


「~我慢ならない」には potential の要素があるので、

私(に)はそれ許せない (≂許せない)

のような、可能形「許せる」などを使った文型と同じだと考えられそうですが、「私は~我慢ならない」は不自然なので、

私は地震怖い

のように、「我慢ならない」を一つの形容詞(句)のように考えていいような気もします。  

  

  • If I wanted to say "I can't stand it" what should I say? I'd have guessed 私は/が我慢できない, but now I'm not sure. – Mauro Oct 19 at 13:57
  • 1
    「我慢できない」を使うなら, "I can't stand it" would normally be like 「私は我慢できない」/「私には我慢できない」, "I can't stand the noise" 「私はあの音が我慢できない」「私にはあの音が我慢できない」「私はあの音を我慢できない」 など... (depending on context 「私が我慢できない」eg 「私が我慢できないのは、~~」) – Chocolate Oct 19 at 14:57
  • @Chocolate So, If I understood correctly, the construction 我慢できない acts as a 形容詞【けいようし】 here, doesn't it? e.g.「私はあの映画が楽しい 」, 「私はあの音が我慢できない」 – jarmanso7 Oct 19 at 22:02
  • @Chocolate another secondary question, does the ならない in the set phrase しなければならない means できない, too? しなければならない → If not done it can't be → must be done – jarmanso7 Oct 19 at 22:05
  • 1
    @jarmanso そうですね。。。 I think 我慢ならない here functions in a similar way, as an adjectival phrase. – Chocolate Oct 24 at 1:45

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