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I'm reading a magazine article and I've come across a sentence that I'm not too sure about.

そんな濃密な5年間を、記事担当のコラムを交えつつ振り返る。

I think the sentence means something like "These rich 5 years will be covered in the article" (very rough inaccurate translation). But I don't really understand this question grammatically. Why does the first clause not end with a verb but just particle を?

I'm also not too sure about the second part, "the column in charge will look back on [these rich 5 years]" is probably my best guess. But I'm really confused about the 交えつつ振り返る, "with mixing looking back"

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    I'm not posting an answer because I struggle with the meaning of 記事担当のコラムを交えつつ, but isn't そんな濃密な5年間 the object of 振り返る, with the bit I can't translate as an adverbial modifier? Apr 6, 2021 at 18:13

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The grammar here is a bit more complex, and it looks like that's confused you. Let's take a closer look at this structure.

そんな濃密【のうみつ】な5年間【ごねんかん】を、記事担当【きじたんとう】のコラムを交【まじ】えつつ[振り返る]【ふりかえる】。

There are a few things going on here. If we diagram it a bit differently, it might become more clear what's going on.

       5年間を              振り返る。
そんな濃密な
                コラムを交えつつ
           記事担当の

  • The simplest core of the main statement is that top line: 5年間【ごねんかん】を[振り返る]【ふりかえる】 ("to look back on [those] five years"). That's where that を fits in -- it marks the object of the verb [振り返る]【ふりかえる】.
  • The second line is a modifying phrase, used to tell us more about what kind of 5年間【ごねんかん】 we're talking about: そんな濃密【のうみつ】な ("those rich and full / jam-packed ...").
  • The third line is the simplest core of the embedded sentence: コラムを交【まじ】えつつ ("while mixing in [newspaper?] column [content / articles / pieces]"). This has the ~つつ ending, telling us that this action is happening alongside, or in a subordinate way to, the action of the main statement.
  • The fourth line is another modifying phrase, telling us more about what kind of コラム we're talking about: 記事担当【きじたんとう】の ("belonging to the person in charge of articles" → "the editor's").

Putting it all back together, we might translate this as something like the following. This assumes that the context is a newspaper, magazine, or similar medium, that would have a regular feature section, in which this text appears.

We look back on those jam-packed five years, with a mix of columns from our feature editor.

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  • +1 but I'm still not sure I understand that middle section even after your translation. I know it's not relevant to the question but does "a mix of columns from our feature editor" suggest that it's just reprints of old articles? I find the phrase rather confusing in Japanese and English. Apr 6, 2021 at 21:11
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    @user3856370: Without more context, it's hard to be sure, but that would be my guess -- reprints of old articles, or of excerpts from old articles. As a media piece "looking back at ... those five years", that seems like it would make sense from what little context we have. Think of historical shows, and how they re-use historical footage -- this would be the same kind of thing, only in print format. Apr 6, 2021 at 21:13

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