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「犯人とはいわないまでも何があったのか尋問できるのはお姉ちゃんだけだ!」

Does this pattern have the same meaning as the one explained here: とまではいかないまでも meaning?

I think it is different from the explanation linkend above. The linked example ‘includes’ statement A and B as true, while here statement A (犯人) is ’excluded’ while statement B (尋問できる) is ‘included’ as property/"feature" of 「お姉ちゃん」 (Translated along the lines of "not going as far as to say that something/someone/etc. is X but something/someone/etc. (obviously) is Y ")

Context:

The speaker talks to a female prisoner that was caught in a mysterious incident (invoving around 50 deaths) within the prison. She herself is not the culprit in this but at the same time the only person that survived the incident...

(Preceding sentence: 「懲罰房東で生き残ったのは刑務所側からすればお姉ちゃだけで!」 Original "separation" of the sentence": 「犯人、とはいわないまでも、何があったのか、尋問できるのは、お姉ちゃん、だけだ!」)

  • Given the context could it mean something like "I won't go as far to say they are criminals, but if something happened the only one who can interrogate them is her"? I don't think it's saying anything about property, the in のはお姉ちゃん serves to nominalize the previous sentence. – Mauro Dec 4 '19 at 12:39
  • Property might actually not be the right term here I was rather referring to "her having the feature of...". I will add some further context and the previous sentence as well. And I will post the sentence again in the way it is separated in the original source. In any case I am not sure whether your translation really fits here; nevertheless it is more about unraveling the pattern mentioned than the transaltion itself. – Himula Dec 4 '19 at 15:20
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Aとは言わないまでもB and Aとは行かないまでもB are usually interchangeable, and they mean "B, if not A", "I don't mean A, but B" or "I won't go so far as to say A, but (at least) B". This までも is an old way of saying "even though", so you can think of it simply as と(まで)は言わないが. Your sentence roughly means "I'm not saying she has killed them, but (at least I would say) she's the only person you can interrogate".

The linked example is the same; read the answer carefully. The sentence means "It's not something that can fulfill every wish, but still it's more than valuable for a magician."


By the way, many J-E and E-J dictionaries list "not to say A" as a valid translation of Aとは言わないまでも, but according to this and online E-E dictionary definitions, it may be a mistake. (Isn't this English idiom counter-intuitive?) For example, 暑いとは言わないまでも暖かい means "It is warm, if not hot" rather than "It is warm, or even hot".

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    How would you say "the only one who can interrogate them is her"? I'm struggling with understanding why 尋問できるのはお姉ちゃんだけだ means "She is the only person you can interrogate" instead of "She is the only person wo can interrogate [them]". – Mauro Dec 5 '19 at 16:15
  • First of all thank you for your answer! The examples you provided, however, sound to me as if they mean the same thing. Whether you say "if not hot" or "even hot" the meaning does not change I believe. Both refer to "suggesting that the temperature is so high that maybe just saying 'warm' won't be enough to describe the degree of 'warmness'". In any case somebody commented on the question I linked and kind of clarified what probably caused for my confusion. – Himula Dec 5 '19 at 16:15
  • I think the answer in the linked question might actually got the translation wrong. If we say "It is more than a valuable item for a magician if not something that will fulfill every wish," it means that it the item in question is valuable to a magician AND at the same time able to fulfill every wish. However, if it is the same case as here it should be: "It CANNOT fulfill every wish but it is a valuable item for a magician." – Himula Dec 5 '19 at 16:29
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    @Mauro This is an example of ambiguous relative clause, but Himula provided enough context. – naruto Dec 5 '19 at 17:02
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    @Himula Hmm, according to this, "if not hot" means "hot" can be an inappropriate overstatement, whereas "even hot" means saying "hot" is probably fine. So there's a difference in the level of certainty. (This is how I understand this construction, but I may be missing something.) Anyway, the original sentence means the speaker thinks お姉ちゃんが犯人 is likely to be false (but may be true). – naruto Dec 5 '19 at 17:18

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