I'm trying to understand the opening of an anime song, but I'm stumped on a couple of parts by (I think) a similar doubt; this is the lyrics.

Here's what I don't understand:



While sung, the parsing seems like 夢を持ってきた言葉じゃ / 足りないユメのアリカ, with a pause after じゃ; I understand that could just be for musical reasons, but when I first heard this song I thought 夢を持ってきた modified 言葉, and 足りない referred to 夢, giving something like “The words that brought dreams are the place [where] dreams aren’t enough”, which doesn’t really seem to make sense; the translation I found is:

You brought a dream here,

The place of dreams that can't be expressed with words alone

which makes sense, but I can't really understand how that translation comes from the original lyrics.

I have similar doubts on 色が乗ってきた / 心を広げるイロのキセキ, which sounds to me like "The miracle of the color expanded by the heart on which the color is", but my doubts here could just be like those on the previous verse. Edit: I wrote about this too not as a separate question, but because I think it's another example of the same doubt.

It's quite a while I'm trying to understand this; if the translation parsing is right, and 夢を持ってきた is to be translated per se as "You brought a dream", without the lyrics I didn't understand the parsing; I also asked to a friend of mine who is fluent in Japanese, but no luck.

  • I thought the question was clear, sorry if it wasn't: I'm asking about how to parse that verse and its meaning; I think this is a single question, since meaning and parsing are tightly related, and one can't understand the meaning without understanding the parsing. I wrote about the 色が乗ってきた part because I think it's another example of the same doubt, and having two examples could make easier to reply, but if I'm wrong I'll split it; I made an edit to clarify this. The part about the 純粋 verse was more of an afterthought and you're right it was another question, I removed it, thanks.
    – Mauro
    Feb 18, 2021 at 14:44

1 Answer 1


Generally, Japanese song lyrics tend to be loose in grammatical integrity, and much more for those whose lyricist is Hata Aki (I mean!).

While sung, the parsing seems like 夢を持ってきた言葉じゃ / 足りないユメのアリカ, with a pause after じゃ; I understand that could just be for musical reasons

Regarding this, all lyrics I find make a line break between 持ってきた and 言葉, so I think we can postulate that the gap does exist there in spite of how they sing.

Now, grammatically unambiguous facts are that:

  • 夢を持ってきた: "[somebody] has brought a dream"
    Note that the subject is unmentioned. It is quite likely 君 from the context, but still.
  • 言葉じゃ足りないユメのアリカ: "the location of dream(s) which words are not enough for"
    There are ambiguity on whether 言葉じゃ足りない qualifies ユメ or アリカ. Also, a relative clause as sentence is a common rhetorical device to emphasize the predicate, compared to "in God we trust", "little did he know" and such.

Then anything beyond those things are all matter of interpretation or imagination. Of course, one can reasonably guess that who brought a dream is "you", but it is not objectively guaranteed. (For the subject of 色が乗ってきた "acquire color(s) / got colored up", I really have no idea; it could be "you", "I", or "we".)

I thought 夢を持ってきた modified 言葉, and 足りない referred to 夢

With above, whether 夢を持ってきた modifies 言葉 is grammatically unwarranted, but I'm strongly inclined to think that the two lines are separate. Besides the meaning, they both have 夢/ユメ, which is a point favoring the view that they are parallel descriptions sharing the common focus on "dream" (Japanese use less anaphoric pronouns, and often repeat the noun itself). I do believe 言葉じゃ足りない modifies ユメ to mean something like "dream beyond words" (rather than アリカ, which would mean "the place untellable by words"), but it is not a most natural collocation in Japanese either.

  • Thanks; beside the specific case, is 言葉じゃ(足りない夢) - something like "About the word(s), the insufficient dream(s) - a possible reading, or is (言葉じゃ足りない)夢 the only possibile?
    – Mauro
    Feb 18, 2021 at 20:03
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    @Mauro じゃ = では, that means 言葉じゃ has the case で that should be concluded by a predicate. If it's not tied to 足りない, then needs another one, but there isn't any other (the sentence just ends in アリカ). Thus 言葉じゃ can only go to 足りない. Feb 19, 2021 at 3:40
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    @Mauro Well, it isn't impossible if you see it as 言葉じゃ(足りないユメのアリカ)(with last だ omitted) to be "in words, it is the location of missing dream" (?), but felt quite stretched. Feb 19, 2021 at 3:53
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    @Mauro Oh yes it's true as well because は is another restraining factor. When I said "predicate" I meant "main verb" in English, having in my mind that 〜で can't modify a noun, only a verb (unlike English prepositions). は needs a rheme, which is always a statement (full sentence), even can be detached from 〜は like 象は鼻が長い. Feb 20, 2021 at 3:31
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    @Mauro "で can only modify a verb" is simple. It means you can't say *東京へ旅 but only 東京への旅 or 東京へ旅する. When I answered you I first noticed this type of error and you probably already know it. は is slightly different, that it accepts a complete sentence that has no possibility you can insert words before は into it like 象は鼻が長い (where could 象 sit in 鼻が長い?). In this sense, は is outside what may compose a Western concept of sentence. But in light of how to interpret that line, supposing an omitted だ after アリカ can solve problems with で and は so there is no difference. btw 言葉じゃ(足りない夢) is no-go. Feb 23, 2021 at 3:22

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