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I am reading this article on NHK, but I am having a hard time understanding the title...

緊急事態宣言出すのを前に諮問委員会始まる 専門家に意見聴く

for the first part 緊急事態宣言出すのを前に諮問委員会始まる

I am having a hard time parsing this. I understand:

緊急事態宣言出す - releasing the declaration of the state of emergency

諮問委員会始まる - Advisory committee begins

What is throwing me off is the 前に after the のを...

if it was:

緊急事態宣言出すのを諮問委員会始まる - The advisory committee will begin the releasing of the declaration of the state of emergency.

or

緊急事態宣言出す前に諮問委員会始まる - The advisory committee will begin before releasing of the declaration of the state of emergency.

So what I think it means is this?! is it correct?

緊急事態宣言出すのを前に諮問委員会始まる - The advisory committee will begin the releasing of the declaration of the state of emergency before. (before what??)

Now for the second part

専門家に意見聴く - Asking the opinion of a specialist.

Why are they using 聴く and not 聞く or 訊く?

if it was

専門家の意見(を)聴く - Hearing the opinion of a specialist.

I would be fine with it....

1 Answer 1

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The particles を, が are omitted. The sentences are using "headline grammar". See:

緊急事態宣言出すのを前に諮問委員会始まる 専門家に意見聴く

to rewrite it in normal grammar:

緊急事態宣言出すのを前に諮問委員会始まった。専門家に意見聴いた。

literally:

"Prior to releasing the declaration of the state of emergency, the advisory committee began. (They) heard opinions from experts."

In 「~のを前に」, the の is a nominalizer. For 「Noun+を前に」"before/prior to~", see:

聴く looks more like "hear (someone's opinion)" or "listen (to someone's opinion)" (≂「耳を傾ける」) than 聞く which can be "ask (opinions from...)" (≂「(意見を)求める」). eg 公

専門家の意見(を)聴く - Hearing the opinion of a specialist.

I agree that strictly grammatically, 「専門家の/から意見を聴く」 or 「専門家意見を聞く」 would look more correct than 「専門家意見を聴く」.

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  • So basically, I should think of 「名詞+を前に」as different way of expressing 「名詞 + の前に」with a bit of a different nuance, right? Am I correct to understand that 「誰々に意見を聴く」means "Listen TO someone's opinion" and 「誰々の意見を聴く」means "Hear someone's opinion"? Jan 7, 2021 at 5:04
  • Yes, 名詞+を前に has a different nuance from simple 名詞+の前に. I don't think you'd commonly use/see 誰だれに意見を聴く. 誰だれの意見を聴く would mean "hear/listen to someone's opinion". だれだれにいけんをきく would normally be interpreted as 誰だれに意見を聞く/訊く, "ask someone for opinion".
    – chocolate
    Jan 7, 2021 at 13:44
  • oh my bad, I only used 「誰々」in the same way Japanese people use 「何々」when giving example sentences. I thought it worked the same way. But thank you for the explanation! Jan 8, 2021 at 1:48

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