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「鈴の転がるような、軽やかで澄んだ声だった」 what is the meaning of の in this sentence? my guess is that it meant something like: "It was a light and clear voice, like a rolling bell". This feels right, but I think I'm getting confused with the の + 転がる. Is の being used in the possessive form? Would が in place of の here make sense? Any help would be appreciated.

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Would が in place of の here make sense?

You're spot on, and this の here is indeed a replacement of が. This phenomenon is known as the の-が conversion, and is a feature passed down from ancient Japanese.

In ancient Japanese, there used to be no distinction between the usage of の and が, and they were used interchangeably to mean possessive and subject-marker. Even today, where の is mostly possessive particle and が subject marker, the two can still take on the other meaning occasionally in modern Japanese.

が as a possessive marker

Today, we still use 我{わ}が国{くに}, a old-fashion expression passed down from ancient Japanese, which just means my/our country (私たちの国). In anime, sometimes people will use 我がXXX to mean my XXX, just to add an air of prestige to their speech.

遊戯王の海馬瀬人:現れろ、我が魂!ブルーアイズホワイトドラゴン!我が敵を喰らう!
Kaiba Seto from YuGiOh: Appear, my soul! Blue eyes white dragon! Devour my enemy!

By the way, remember 鬼{おに}が島{しま}(or written 鬼ヶ島 but read the same) from 桃太郎? Yeah, 鬼が島 is essentially 鬼の島, the island of oni.

の as the subject marker

In ancient Japanese, you could use の freely as the subject marker. In modern Japanese, however, the usage is limited to relative clauses. In other words, in relative clauses, the subject marker が can be replaced with の in modern Japanese. For example:

海の見える街 = 海が見える街
私の知らないまま = 私が知らないまま

And of course, your sentence,

鈴の転がるよう... = 鈴が転がるよう...

鈴が転がる is the relative clause that modifies the noun よう.

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  • It's starting to make sense now. I didn't realize よう works as a noun which also made me not see that it was a relative clause. The information on the の-が conversion was helpful too since this was something that just made sense to me when reading but I never knew why.
    – Saabo
    Commented May 21, 2023 at 7:04

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