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話し方がちょっと速すぎて私には分かりません。

For some reason it feels strange to me to go right from すぎて to 私.

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    I think you need to explain your confusion a bit more. 私に is the 'for me' part. Why would you think it otherwise? Why do you think going from すぎて to 私 is strange? What do you think the whole sentence means? I'm sure you have some genuine concerns, but at the moment it's hard to know what they are or how to address them. – user3856370 Jun 6 at 12:49
  • @user3856370 Yeah, I see your point. I would have expected 過ぎるの or 過ぎること. Also I guess I was wondering if には expressed "for me," or if it was just に, and は was a simple topic marker. – charlemagne Jun 6 at 13:08
  • Related: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/24955/5010 – naruto Jun 8 at 3:39
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Judging from your comment I think your main problem with understanding this sentence is in identifying the hidden pronoun/name. It sounds like you want it to say that the act of talking fast is difficult for you to understand, but this is not the case.

In fact 話し方がちょっと速すぎて is an abbreviation for something like 彼の話し方がちょっと速すぎて (insert name/pronoun of your choice in place of 彼). As usual Japanese omits reference to the subject when it is obvious from context. So the whole sentence is

話し方がちょっと速すぎて私には分かりません。
His/her/Tanaka's way of talking is too fast, and it's incomprehensible to/for me.

So the て form just joins the two clauses with 'and' in the usual way.

I think the は acts as a contrast marker in this context. Most people can understand him but to me he is incomprehensible.

Edit: Another thought on what may be confusing you is that に is often used with すぎる. For example 私は高すぎる = It's too expensive for me. This に is not the に used in your sentence. That に is associated with 分かる and not with すぎる. If you wanted to use this construct you could say something like 話し方が私にはちょっと速すぎる, though I can't see a way to fit the verb 分かる into this construction.

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  • Thanks. I'm not understanding why the て form is needed here. Are there really two clauses? "His was of speaking is too fast for me to understand." is 話し方がちょっと速すぎる私には分かりません。 – charlemagne Jun 6 at 14:14
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    "His way of speaking is too fast for me to understand" is a valid translation but it does not reflect the original Japanese grammar. The Japanese sentence definitely has two clauses. Your other sentence 話し方がちょっと速すぎる私には分かりません means something different: "It's incomprehensible to me whose way of talking is too fast". i.e you talk too fast and something unrelated is incomprehensible to you. It would be a strange thing to say. – user3856370 Jun 6 at 14:23
  • Ah, ok. Thank you. Last question -- how would it be phrased in Japanese if you did say it with a single clause? Or is there no natural way to do so? – charlemagne Jun 6 at 14:27
  • Although the two clause translation to English sounds a bit clunky it is a perfectly natural sounding construct in Japanese, so I don't think you need to say it in one clause. Personally, I wouldn't be confident trying to make an equivalent single clause construction. It might be worth trying to generalise the idea and ask a separate question about this. – user3856370 Jun 6 at 14:34
  • I had another thought on what your problem may be. Please see edit. – user3856370 Jun 6 at 16:02

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