3

I'm quite baffled by what a character in a manga says. I'll try to explain the context as best as I can so you can get the picture:

There are 2 characters, A previously said (in the last chapter of the manga) something very deep and ended with a question (directed towards B who was the only one there-also both characters are enemies if it helps, thus A was talking about his philosophy/his conviction.

A: ...面白くないことを言った。「そうだね」という肯定以外受け入れる気がないくせに問いかけのように喋ってしまった。。。

This whole sentence thing at first, I translated it like this: "I said something boring...Although I'm unwilling to accept anything besides "Yes", I blurted out a question." I'm sure there are mistakes (問いかけのように喋ってしまった also sounds very odd) but what I found strange is the usage くせに, because wouldn't のに work better in this case? Can it actually be used with the first person and I could have simply replaced with のに? That would be the only that it would make sense to me because A has a strong opinion and apparently won't accept anything other than yes and yet he slipped out a question but did not get a reply (from B who was there with him).

2

くせに doesn't change the grammatical connection. It is nothing but a のに in the syntactic layer, but adds a sense of disapproval (What's the difference between にしては、 わりに and くせに?) in the pragmatic layer. In other words, the nuance くせに has doesn't go against any particular word in this sentence. If I had to merge it into an English sentence, I'd choose to surround the entire sentence.

I don't like how I said it as if I'm asking (sb's opinion) even though I was unwilling to accept anything but affirmation of "you're right".

The negative feeling of くせに renders into disdain when it points to others, and self-disgust when yourself. Since it's not something literally translatable, any translation that gives a hint of such emotion would be right.

By the way, every time I see くせに I recall the game title 勇者のくせになまいきだ。, which is "mostly unknown outside Japan" according to the WP article, I think partly because it's full of jokes, memes and satires only relatable in the Japanese context.

  • This caught my attention, you wrote ".... and self-disgust when yourself.", so, am I to understand that in the case of the sentence that I wrote, くせに expresses A's disdain about himself, about his own action? ("I don't like how I said it..." as per your translation).<br>Most of the example sentences that I read with くせに and with translations, usually would include second or third person pronouns, because, like you mentioned,くせに show's the speaker's disdain about something or someone's actions. – Alice B. Rabbit Oct 27 at 4:27
  • For my sentence, once I replaced with のに it made better sense for me because it was from A's perspective, he was talking about himself, whereas with くせに it suggested to me that there is something about character B and that somewhere in the translation I should write a "you" in it. That's why I was so unsure how to go about with this line. – Alice B. Rabbit Oct 27 at 4:32
  • @AliceB.Rabbit I'm not familiar with the plot, but I don't feel くせに has such a nuance that it must primarily point to other people. It seems to me just a frequency matter. Or you can reword AくせにB something like "(sb) doesn't have a right to B because A", but it doesn't exclude yourself anyway. – broccoli forest Oct 28 at 8:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.