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酷く子供じみたその響きが嫌で、セオは苛々と唇を突きだす。

『気持ちはわかるけど、言いすぎよ。いくら本当のことでも、ああいう言い方はよくないわ』

「わかってる。……ごめん」

 わかっていたのだ。そうあってはいけないとみんなで決めて、それはそうやって言葉にされる前から自然と理解できていたことだったから、ずっとこれまで守ってきたのに。

86─エイティシックス─ 安里アサト

Does the bold part come from そうある? How should I understand this そうある? Like "happen like that"? By the way, what does それはそうやって refer to?

Edit: Both the speakers are soldiers involved in a war. Their officer is a girl belongs to a different race than the soldiers. セオ and his comrades think the girl is discriminating them because of their skin colors while pretending to be caring for their well-being. Prior to this quote, セオ said something harsh to the girl, trying to reveal her true nature. In a recent battle, they lose a comrade and the girl says she is sorry for their loss. セオ says in anger to the girl that he thinks she is just pretending to be sympathetic and doesn’t treat them as humans. (本当のこと)

Here goes the text after the quote: 言いたいことはそのまま全て、思いつく一番きつい言葉で叩きつけてやって、でも、気持ちは収まるどころか余計腹立たしくてささくれ立って嫌な気分だ。怒りを向ける謂れはない、かけがえのない仲間達にも咄嗟に嚙みついてしまうほどに。

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  • I'm only 80% certain, so please add more context. (1) It appears that they are trying to avoid some bad situation together. What's that? (2) What was the harsh (言い過ぎ) statement said before this excerpt? What's the 本当のこと here? (3) Please add a few sentences after this except.
    – naruto
    Apr 13, 2022 at 15:34
  • @naruto I think they are trying to avoid uttering harsh statements, especially at a time when they just lose a comrade. Apr 13, 2022 at 16:11

2 Answers 2

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In terms of translation, I agree with the existing answer more or less. そうあってはいけないとみんなで決めて、それはそうやって言葉にされる前から自然と理解できていたことだったから translates: We agreed that we should not be so, and that (we should not be so) was naturally understandable before it (the agreement) was put to words that way, so...

Note that I haven't read the light novel which seems available online.

If there is no concrete description of how 'we all agreed', then a reasonable interpretation is that そうある refers to the general attitude of which セオ's harsh utterings were an expression. That is, in the story's world 86 is the discriminated-against kind and the officer girl is from the(?) discriminating race. But generally it is not a fault of any individual, and そうあってはいけない means 'we (86s) should not get emotional about being discriminated against (towards any individual person)'.

I guess the following sentence (another 86's words, later in the same page) should be relevant:

『それは不要です。別にあれが我々の総意というわけではありません。この現状を貴女が作りだしたのでもなければ、貴女一人の力で撤回できるものでもないということはわかっています。貴女には不可能なことを、しなかったと責められたからといって気に病む必要はありません』


Edit:

I'm uncertain how valid the following are, but just some hints.

  • To be and to exist overlaps in English as well: I think, therefore I am.

  • ある can mean a variety of 'being' including to be, to exist, to live, to stay. In particular, continuative form (連用形) + ある can mean to stay in the state (described by the word in 連用形).

  • For example: 彼女はきれいである She is beautiful. Here である can be treated simply as is, but in 彼女はきれいでありたい She wants to stay/become beautiful, it looks more natural to see it as きれいで + ある, where きれいで is a continuative form of きれいだ (or きれい+だ). It means the same as 彼女は美しくありたい, where 美しく is a continuative form.

  • Now for そうある/そうである, the former is used more often as そうありたい, そうあろうと etc while そうである can be used in this plain form. そうある is read as to exist/be (in) that way, just as きれいで 'modifies' ある. I.e. そう is an adverb describing how the subject is. On the other hand, である in そうである sounds as a copula (the subject is that). In a sense, this means the 'copula-ness' of だ in そうだ/きれいだ are different. The former is somewhat stronger. I guess it could have something to do with accepting 形容動詞 (see 形容動詞への対応).

  • See also: Can the である copula be explained as で (particle) + ある (to exist), i.e. "to exist in the form of ~"?

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  • +1, そう in そうあっては seems to vaguely refer to overt conflicts between races. They all had understood (and at some point in the past, explicitly agreed) that such overt conflicts within the party would amount to nothing.
    – naruto
    Apr 13, 2022 at 23:48
  • Thank you. So do you think そうある is interchangeable with そうである? Apr 14, 2022 at 4:06
  • @chinoalpha そうであっては.. could be used, but そうあっては sounds more natural to me. In principle, そうである usually means that is in fact true. (cf そうであったとしても even if that is the case) In the example, it means we shouldn't be like that, and そう refers to how 'we' are, and not what so that そうある is more natural.
    – sundowner
    Apr 14, 2022 at 15:11
  • Thank you again. But I am particularly confused by the meaning of ある. Doesn’t it mean "exist”? I think そうある literally means "something exists like that". Apr 14, 2022 at 16:47
  • @chinoalpha I can't explain clearly enough, but added a bit. Hope this helps.
    – sundowner
    Apr 14, 2022 at 23:10
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From the context you provided, I think そうあって here means "to be like that" (そうである). So, here he is saying, "I know. We decided not to be like that (言い過ぎる)."

As for the そうやって, I tried translating it roughly and put in bold what I think it means. It refers to how he said what he shouldn't.

それはそうやって言葉にされるまえから That is, before I put it to words like that/like I did

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  • Thank you. So why is ある used here? Doesn't it mean "exist"? Is そうある the same as そうである? Apr 14, 2022 at 10:44
  • Sadly I also don't know why ある is used instead of いる. Yes, I believe its meaning is similar to "exist". Maybe rather "to be". I think そうある and そうである should be similar.
    – zeuswife
    Apr 14, 2022 at 16:47

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