16 votes
Accepted

Are Japanese modifiers "greedy", "anti-greedy", or do they mean whatever people choose them to mean?

Unfortunately, there is no easy and clear rule to determine which parsing strategy is correct. The general rule is "Choose the shortest and simplest parsing strategy as long as it makes sense". It ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 315k
12 votes
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私に言われても versus 私が言われても

私に言われても is Suffering Passive (迷惑の受身), a kind of Indirect Passive Structure (間接受身構文), and 私が言われても is Direct Passive Structure (直接受身構文). 「(あなたが)私に言う」 (Active/能動) "You tell me." → Direct Passive: 「私が(...
chocolate's user avatar
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7 votes
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Is Facebook's use of double が grammatically unambiguous?

Actually, this kind of "double が" situation happens all the time. Sometimes there's just no elegant way around it. In this case, Aさんは doesn't feel exactly right because these notifications appear out ...
どっかのおっさん's user avatar
7 votes
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Does “Tekken” sound like “iron sword” to someone unfamiliar with the franchise?

There is no difference in pitch accent between 鉄拳 and 鉄剣, so it purely depends on which word is more familiar to laypeople. Neither is particularly common in daily life, but IMO 鉄拳 is a little bit ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 315k
6 votes

一線を画する ambiguity

This ~と一線を画す is an idiom, and in this context it means "to keep a distance from ~". It's not even ambiguous, and I think your translation attempt is correct. 年長者であり医師であり is of course "being a senior, ...
naruto's user avatar
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6 votes
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庭 & Ambiguity of Yard or Garden?

庭 refers to a (wide but usually enclosed) place adjacent to a house. Assuming your yard looks like this, 庭 refers to everything in this picture, including the brick-paved part. Your "garden" may be ...
naruto's user avatar
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6 votes
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Object of a sentence ambiguity

This sentence can either mean "The one I want to protect is you" or it can mean "the one who wants to protect (someone else) is you". Yes, it can mean both. Any way to distinguish besides context? ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 315k
5 votes

The exquisite depths of 和菓子's mind

Your translation is 100% spot on. However, this usage of 考える is neither colloquial nor poor use of the language. Following your same logic, パッと見て何を模したかわかる形 would imply that the 形 is the thing doing ...
sbkgs4686's user avatar
  • 3,060
5 votes
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How to use 彼 and 彼女?

(1) The words are still used commonly as you describe, i.e. 彼 = he/him/boyfriend and 彼女 = she/her/girlfriend (2) Semantic context is definitely the easiest way to differentiate. Yes, there might be ...
kandyman's user avatar
  • 11.6k
5 votes
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Misreading Japanese text due to bad kerning (rn→m, cl→d etc.)

As you know, most glyphs in Japanese fonts share the same width, so problems arising from kerning (or variable character widths, broadly speaking) almost never happen in Japanese typography. Well, we ...
naruto's user avatar
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5 votes
Accepted

Riddle question

Assuming the beginning is 「どうぞ」 and not 「どくぞ」, then it is quite simple. The sign says ごじゆうに おとりください. The store owner's intended meaning is ご[自由]{じ・ゆう}に, which means "freely" or "feel free to". ...
istrasci's user avatar
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5 votes
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Ambiguous sentences when using の and に together

I also think, and hope, the first interpretation is correct. It would be terrible writing if the author meant it in the second way. As pointed out by Will, 地域に生息する他の固有種 would have made this meaning ...
aguijonazo's user avatar
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5 votes
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Usage of 「書かない」referring to famous authors

It may be easiest to think of this as an example of historical present. In short, 書かないんだ can sound more vivid and dramatic than 書かなかったんだ or 書いていないんだ. Sentence in the present tense when the text is in ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 315k
4 votes
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General meaning of AとBのC?

It depends on the context. For example, in the case of 彼と私の娘は、昨年同じ小学校に入学した. When he is a child, it means Aと(BのC). When he is an adult, it means (AのC)と(BのC). When he is the daughter's father and the ...
Yuuichi Tam's user avatar
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4 votes

General meaning of AとBのC?

This would probably depend on context, as in English. For instance, I think the following sentence would be ambiguous in both English and Japanese: 田中さんと島田さんのメモ帳のおかげでいろいろと分かりました。 I found out all ...
Ben Roffey's user avatar
  • 6,711
4 votes
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Value-augmenting なれば

I think using なれば rather than なる in your example shows that there is a wish or hope that planting such plum trees will contribute to the relaxation of the visitors. English has a similar way of using ...
sazarando's user avatar
  • 7,391
4 votes
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Differentiating between "search in" and "search for" in Japanese

I believe there's no way to differentiate other than reading paragraphs. 検索対象文書 may mean both, depending on the context. If you want to clarify the meaning, you should say explicitly : ...
ŌHARA Kazutaka's user avatar
4 votes
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The exquisite depths of 和菓子's mind

Your translation is correct, and どんな意味が込められているのか考えるもの(=形) is a completely natural Japanese phrase at the same time. Grammatically speaking, I think this is something called a gapless relative clause ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 315k
4 votes

Does “Tekken” sound like “iron sword” to someone unfamiliar with the franchise?

It's related to rather contexts than phonology. Other than the lecture of Japanese history, one normally associates "Tekken" with 鉄拳{てっけん}. I do not think one can associate "Tekken"...
kimi Tanaka's user avatar
  • 5,608
4 votes
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Looking for example where 明ける means "to begin" *unambiguously*

First, please read this question for the basic meaning of 明ける: What does 明ける mean? 明ける in this sense is used with only a small group of words as the subject, and you have already covered important ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 315k
3 votes

The redundance of 経緯

What you see is an appositive clause. For example, we can say in English: The fact that his fingerprints were not detected at the crime site did not change the conviction. The word "fact" just ...
broccoli forest's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

The redundance of 経緯

Is it simply a more formal or poetic alternative to となり or となってきて? By the title, you are confused with combo of 「となってきた + 経緯」 and you feel the explanation is redundant rather than it is a more formal ...
kimi Tanaka's user avatar
  • 5,608
3 votes

一線を画する ambiguity

Let's go through it, bit by bit. First, 年長者であり医師であり 「年長者」 can mean "older person", but in context it can also mean "the oldest person within a given group". 「AでありB」means "~is A as well as B". So ...
Halfway Dillitante's user avatar
3 votes

General meaning of AとBのC?

Usually ambiguities are resolved by context, and if not, then they are declared "bad writing" (or "bad expression"). In the case at hand, AとBのC can mean all of Aと(BのC), (AとB)のC, (...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
  • 48.2k
3 votes

Is Facebook's use of double が grammatically unambiguous?

It is quite obvious. It's a bit awkward, but I'm not sure I'd call it a 'train wreck'; there's not really a better way to say exactly that. There's really no ambiguity - *XがYが cannot be read as 'X (...
Sjiveru's user avatar
  • 7,637
3 votes

Subject ambiguity in 大阪府の警察は、樋田容疑者を警察署から逃げた容疑で調べていますが、何も話していません。

We commonly understand the subject of 何も話していません is the suspect from the context. That implies that the suspect is refusing to answer. Of course, it can be Osaka police, but in the case, we would say ...
Yuuichi Tam's user avatar
  • 24.2k
3 votes

Are Japanese modifiers "greedy", "anti-greedy", or do they mean whatever people choose them to mean?

Revised Edition Are Japanese modifiers "greedy" (modifies as large part as possible), "anti-greedy" (a.k.a. "non-greedy", modifies as small part as possible), or do they mean whatever people choose ...
user20624's user avatar
  • 15.3k
3 votes

Does “Tekken” sound like “iron sword” to someone unfamiliar with the franchise?

I think normal Japanese people cannot get what "tekken" means if he/she hears it first time, even if that word appears in a rich context. Neither 鉄拳 nor 鉄剣 is something you can easily come ...
r9238's user avatar
  • 31
3 votes

Ambiguous sentences when using の and に together

I think the first interpretation is correct even after taking the context into consideration, and this sentence doesn't seem ambiguous to me. See Will's comment. From the text, the sizes of the ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 315k
3 votes
Accepted

Meaning of 「いらないなら、いいけど 」

It means "If you don't want this, I don't mind", but the implication depends on the situation. If the girl is trying to give this doll to someone (which is likely), the text means "If ...
naruto's user avatar
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