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Tobira ch9 dialogue 4

Hi, I am having a hard time understanding the meaning of this part of Tobira Ch 9 dialogue 4. I'll write my understanding, sentence by sentence. I'm not trying to really translate, but to illustrate which parts I'm not getting.


Emily: Usually when Japanese people are praised, they immediately say something humble (謙遜). But sometimes they're just polite. But those times, [ I don't understand this part - "something bad is attached to the complement"?]

Sensei : You noticed something interesting, didn't you. That's right. The compliment was hard to get (せっかく褒めてもらった), so without denying it you quickly accept. But because you want to show humility, [ I'm not clear here either]

Emily: That's right. Whenever you praise someone, that person [ again not sure - "that person saying thanks is..."] because you're saying something bad about the praised thing, I thought it was a little strange, but recently I've understood Japanese people's humility habits (謙遜の習慣)


Please help me fill in the blanks. When japanese people are complemented and are humble, it sounds like they're disagreeing, but that's not the case? Really enjoying the textbook by the way, overall strongly recommended for post-genki learners.

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  • 付け加える basically means the same as 加える and they are transitive verbs.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Feb 12, 2023 at 16:17

1 Answer 1

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As a concrete example, the dialogue refers to the following kind of exchange.

A: 広いお庭ですね。 B: 田舎だから土地が安いんですよ

Here A says the garden (of B's house) is huge, and B humbles indirectly by degrading the neighborhood as the countryside where the land is cheap.

Basically, disagreeing with the compliment directly would spoil the favor and agreeing with it would mean praising themselves or things in their inner circle - both are out of manners in Japanese standard.


I suppose, with the above in mind, 褒められたことについて何かちょっとよくないことを付け加える should be straightforward. Just consider part by part

  • 褒められたことについて to/about what was given a compliment
  • 何かちょっとよくないことを something a little negative
  • 付け加える add

So, it means (Japanese people often expresses humbleness by) adding a bit negative comment on the thing that was mentioned in the compliment. なにかちょっとマイナスのことも付け加える basically means the same thing (minus means negative here).

The last part is Although the person says thanks for the compliment, they also say bad things about the praised thing, which makes me feel strange. Note 言うので connects to 変だと思ってた, not ありがとうというにもかかわらず.


せっかく褒めてもらった

This should help. It literally says since I got the favor of compliment..

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  • Thanks for a great answer. I also now realize that I didn't know かかわらず is used basically an expression ("despite, even though") instead of as a normal word Commented Feb 13, 2023 at 13:28

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