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「話すことができぬでも、頷くぐらいはできるだろう」

It's from a videogame, the story takes place in the past.

It means "You can't talk, but you can nod at least!", am I right?

I don't understand the way it's written. Why isn't it 話すことができぬが、? Or 話すことができぬ。でも、?

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「話すことができぬでも、頷く(unazuku)ぐらいはできるだろう」

The first part of this sentence is archaic or old-fashioned. This is, of course, used in order to show the story takes place in the past. Let's rewrite the above sentence into a modern one.

「話すことができなくても、頷くぐらいはできるだろう」

It can roughly be translated into "You can't talk, but you can nod at least!", but it seems to me that the following will be better.

  • Even if you cannot talk, you will be able to nod.

A similar Japanese sentence using 話すことができぬが can be constructed in this way.

「彼は話すことはできぬが、頷くことはできる」(He can't talk but he can nod.)

Comparing this with the above one, you will, I am sure, be able to understand the slight difference in meaning.

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  • Did they do the same with any verb? できるでも instead of できても ("even if I can"), 食べるでも instead of 食べても ("even if I eat"), etc. Apr 10 at 15:20

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