I found this sentence from a text of a N2 book


I have been reading it and breaking apart the sentence several times. I think that, since 「かつての遊び」is the subject, it is doing both actions. But I still don't understand why the first half has the verb omitted.

Can someone explain me how this part 「自己と他者に対する信頼感を」is connected to the other part 「かつての遊びは育てる機能を担っていた。」?

1 Answer 1


Strictly speaking, かつての遊び has only one corresponding verb, 担っていた.

Playing in the past used to take on the function.

And everything else is a relative clause that modifies 機能.

the function of growing confidence in self and others

The tricky part is the word order. The relative clause is split into two and the topic of the main clause (かつての遊び) is suddenly inserted between them. Still, since は is not usually used in a relative clause, this sentence is not really confusing to me. Usually this sentence is written like the following, which I think is much easier to understand:

  • かつての遊びは、自己と他者に対する信頼感を育てる機能を担っていた。
  • 自己と他者に対する信頼感を育てる機能を、かつての遊びは担っていた。

Here's another example of tricky word order:

= 彼は彼女のことが嫌いだと言ったのです。
= 彼女のことが嫌いだと彼は言ったのです。
He said he hates her.

In the first sentence, the topic (彼は) is mentioned in the middle of the quote, and this is still a valid Japanese sentence, though uncommon. The three versions mean the same thing, but the first one looks a little more impressive to me because of its unusual word order.

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