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店は人の多いところがいいです

Book translation: stores are better (to be) located at heavily trafficked places.

My question is related to Relative Clauses: 多い人 vs 多くの人 in which the answerer provides a similar example to the above:

オーストラリア人の多い場所

Given translation: a place where there are many Australians.


人の多いところ

My understanding is that の marks the subject of the adjective 多い, which can be replaced が for emphasis.

  1. 人が多い
  2. 人の多い + ところ

Overall, it means "A place with lots of people." Assuming this parsing is correct, I move on to my next question.

Can 店は人の多いところがいいです be ambiguous?

ところ means "place" but it can also be used to refer to a point in time. Therefore, can the above sentence convey the meaning "It's good when the shop is crowded"?

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    ところ can refer to a place in time, but that's an unlikely translation with 店 because 店 are located in space (not particularly time). But with a word like 商売 I think the ambiguity would better come out.
    – A.Ellett
    Oct 21, 2021 at 18:14

2 Answers 2

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I've been working with and in Japanese off and on since about 1988, but I'm not a native speaker, so take this with a grain of salt. :)

How to parse 店は人の多いところがいいです

人の多いところ
My understanding is that の marks the subject of the adjective 多い, which can be replaced が for emphasis...
Overall, it means "A place with lots of people."

Your parsing so far is correct.

Can 店は人の多いところがいいです be ambiguous?

I don't think so.

You point out:

ところ means "place" but it can also be used to refer to a point in time.

The term ところ used to refer to a point in time is, I think, always usually in the context of a verb phrase:

  • するところ → just about to do
  • しているところ → in the moment of doing
  • したところ → just finished doing

I don't think it refers to time with most adjectives, where instead it refers to an aspect of something (as in 「彼女【かのじょ】のいい[と]{●}[こ]{●}[ろ]{●}」 "the good aspects of [my] girlfriend"), or to a location (as in 「蚊【か】のいない[と]{●}[こ]{●}[ろ]{●}」 "a place without mosquitoes", or 「カバの少【すく】ない[と]{●}[こ]{●}[ろ]{●}」 "a place with few hippos").

Can the above sentence convey the meaning "It's good when the shop is crowded"?

I don't think so. To convey the sense of "the point or span in time when a quality is present", I'm much more accustomed to seeing the word とき used instead:

店【みせ】は人【ひと】の多【おお】い[と]{●}[き]{●}がいいです

(Albeit, this isn't "crowded" so much as just "there are a lot of people".)

Addendum

As pointed out by @Nameless in the comment to this post, there are sometimes cases where [ADJ]+ところ refers to a moment or time, such as 「忙【いそが】しい[と]{●}[き]{●}」 "a busy moment".

I think the reason that doesn't work here with 店【みせ】 and 人【ひと】の多【おお】いところ is because a 店【みせ】 is inherently a "location", as noted by @A.Ellett in the comment on the question, so ところ in context must mean a place. Meanwhile, because neither a person nor a person's current state is a "location", 忙しいところ cannot refer to a "busy place" and still make sense in that context.

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    Thank you for answer. My book provides an example which uses an adjective to refer to a point in time: お忙しいところどうもすいません. This, according to my book, translates as I'm sorry to trouble you when you are busy.
    – Nameless
    Oct 21, 2021 at 19:24
  • Aha, good example @Nameless! That's one I've heard, which escaped my mind earlier. I'll tweak my post accordingly. Oct 21, 2021 at 21:11
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店は人の多いところがいいです

A sentence like this is fine only when there is enough context. Without any context, this is a very vague sentence. My interpretations (in the order they came to my mind) were:

  1. I (usually) prefer crowded places within a shop/restaurant.
  2. The good point of shops/restaurants (in general) is that I can find many people there.
  3. Shops/restaurants should be located at a crowded location.
  4. When you go to a shop/restaurant, choose one that has many customers.
    (I somehow didn't notice this until @Chocolate mentioned it, but this is also a natural interpretation.)

In 1, 3 and 4, ところ refers to (three different kinds of) physical places. In 2, ところ refers to an abstract aspect (cf. Meaning of ところ in アメリカのいいところ).

ところ can refer to a point of time, but in this case I could not think of a possible interpretation where ところ means time point. Something like 人の少ないところを狙って店に入る would mean the same thing as 人の少ない時を狙って店に入る.

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    1,2,3 私もです。私はもう一つ、「店(で買い物するor食事する場合etc)は、人の多い店のほうが(品物の回転が速いので新鮮だからor人気がある証拠だから)いいです。」もいけるかな~と思いましたが、どうでしょう?
    – Chocolate
    Oct 22, 2021 at 3:12
  • @Chocolate あ、確かに。言われてみればそれが一番自然かも。
    – naruto
    Oct 22, 2021 at 3:13
  • 英語圏出身である故かもしれませんが、個人的に3,4が頭の中に先ず浮かんでくる解釈です。日本語圏出身の観点から見ますと、1,2のほうが最初に当たる解釈でしょうか。興味深いです。 Oct 22, 2021 at 6:01
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    @EiríkrÚtlendi どれも文脈によっては全く問題ない解釈なので、順番はあまり関係ない気がします。今見ると、なんとなく2と4が他よりは自然かもしれません。普通は店の中の混んでいる場所を好む人はいないので。
    – naruto
    Oct 22, 2021 at 6:12

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