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I was reading the definition of 環境:

取り囲んでいる周りの世界。人間や生物の周囲にあって,意識や行動の面でそれらと何らかの相互作用を及ぼし合うもの。

I understand the first sentence it as: "world that is a surrounding-area" or like "the place around us".

I have, however, problems with understanding what the meaning of 及ぼし合う is:

人間や生物の周囲にあって,意識や行動の面でそれらと何らかの相互作用を及ぼし合うもの。

I know 及ぼす means "to exert (influence)", but with 合う, I know that the action is done with someone. On Yahoo, I found a definition of it 互いに影響しあう. With whom/what is this 及ぼし合う done with?

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  • How do you understand 面?
    – aguijonazo
    Feb 12, 2022 at 11:22
  • @aguijonazo I understand it as "surface", so "surface of ..."
    – firuvi
    Feb 12, 2022 at 11:32
  • But I don't think it makes sense here
    – firuvi
    Feb 12, 2022 at 11:37
  • @aguijonazo Do you think it's 面 めん【aspect; phase; perspective; angle】   経済面 、資金面、内政面←→外交面、 外面(がいめん)←→内面(ないめん)、表面←→裏面 from abacus.bates.edu/~kofuji/StudyResources/kanji.html?
    – firuvi
    Feb 12, 2022 at 12:30
  • 1
    Yes, that’s the one.
    – aguijonazo
    Feb 12, 2022 at 12:54

1 Answer 1

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The core meaning of this type of masu-stem + 合う is "mutually". It's typically translated as "each other" or "together" (4th definition here) when the targets are humans, but the targets don't have to be living things. For example, Newton's law of universal gravitation can be explained as すべての物体は引力を及ぼしあっている.

In your sentence, 人間や生物 and 環境 are the two things that exert influences mutually; humans and animals influence the surrounding environment, and vice versa.

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  • Is the と particle after それら ( which is pointing to 人間や生物) indicating who the action is mutually being done with?
    – firuvi
    Feb 12, 2022 at 16:09
  • 1
    @firuvi Yes, when a verb that normally takes を/に/etc has 合う, it can take と, too. For example, 彼を罵る → 彼と罵り合う, 犬に触れる → 犬と触れ合う.
    – naruto
    Feb 13, 2022 at 1:35

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