コンビニ人間: Week 2 Discussion

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Week 2

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Start Date: July 6th
Previous Thread: Week 1
Next Chapter: Week 3

Reading:

End Page (PB) End Page (HB) End % End Phrase Pages
27 22 15% 人間にしているのだった。 9

Word lists - Learn the vocabulary for コンビニ人間

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5 Likes

Almost missed the end of this week’s part :sweat_smile: I thought “wait, until where are we reading? Oh, until right here, okay”.

1 Like

On page 16 of the hardcover, there is this sentence:

今まで、誰も私に、「これが普通の表情で、声の出し方だよ」と教えてくれたことはなかった。

What is the reason for the ことはなかった? Why not just straight up say 教えてくれなかった?

It also makes the 誰も feel awkward to me, since there is no negation in its own clause. How would you even translate 誰も教えてくれた? Not “someone also taught me”, right? That’s more like 誰かも教えてくれた?

Check these out:

You can use [た]ことがない to mean “have not done”. For example, 日本料理を食べたことはない means “I have never eaten Japanese food”. This is different from 日本料理を食べない, which would just mean “I didn’t eat Japanese food”. This also means that the ない really is part of the same clause as 誰も (at least I’d consider it that way) since it’s a set phrase.

So for this:

今まで、誰も私に、「これが普通の表情で、声の出し方だよ」と教えてくれたことはなかった。

Stripping out the quote, this means “until now, no one has ever told me [quoted text]”.

EDIT: Maybe “had ever” is more accurate since it’s なかった and not ない. :thinking:

6 Likes

Oh yeah kinda forgot about the ことはない thing. So it changes “no one told me” into “no one ever told me”. Makes perfect sense, thanks :+1:

Edit: I just now realised the ことはない refers to the 誰も, not 私.
I forgot that ない is actually a verb
So it is actually saying that “no one” has had the experience of telling her, not that she has not had the experience of someone telling her. My confusion on that front is now gone.

2 Likes

I don’t know that I agree with that. I think くれた puts the focus on her. She’s saying that she has never been given anyone’s instruction on normal facial expression and speaking style.

6 Likes

Yeah, I’ve been overthinking this, trying to find how 誰も works without a negated verb, but English has the exact same thing.

1 Like

自分と同じ大学生くらいの女の子や、フリーター風の男の子に、少し年上の主婦と思われる女性、年齢も服装もバラバラの15人ほどのアルバイトが、ぎこちなく店内をうろついていた。

I’m a bit puzzled by the construction of this sentence. The second part is OK. “About 15 part-time workers, of various age and clothes, were awkwardly crawling around the store.”

But the first part is some kind of list of people and the particles are all over the place :

自分と同じ大学生くらいの女の子、フリーター風の男の子、少し年上の主婦と思われる女性 ∅

Are those 3 peoples part of the group of 15 ? (Maybe to show the wide range of people ?) But why this weird フリーター風の男の子 in the middle ? Usually に is linked to a verb.

Not entirely sure but I think this is a shortened sentence with the same meaning as " フリーター風の男の子に似た男や". It might not be exactly “似た” but I get a “a boy with a フリーター looking face” feeling out of it.

And for the rest, it’s just that the や was omitted while listing.

There are probably other interpretations, but I read it as:
[ 自分と同じ大学生くらいの女の子や、フリーター風の男の子 ] に、少し年上の主婦と思われる女性
with both や and に serving to enumerate. や is the incomplete / example-giving enumeration. に is the ordered enumeration XにY “X and then/also Y”, so IMHO this に goes with 年齢: it’s enumerating people from younger to older, whereas the や joins the first two elements within the younger category, if you will.

7 Likes

Wow, this is new to me ! I had no idea に could be used to enumerate things. Thanks Carvs.
I found more information about it in this stackexchange post.

2 Likes

It’s probably related to それに. I can’t find any dictionary entries on it though. I wonder if それに uses this に (“in addition to that”) or if this に is short for それに. Or neither of those I suppose, but I feel like it’s probably something like that.

I found something in DOBJG:

It did not even have its own grammar point but was attached to と, so maybe it is not used frequently?

Also, I wonder whether the “indispensable member” aspect really fits that well here…?

5 Likes

Can you check the entry on それに if there is one? I found it in the Grammar Handbook but it didn’t mention に, and I forgot to check the Basic and Intermediate dictionaries for that entry.

Yes :grinning:

2 Likes

Hm, I did not find anything about それに being short-cut to に (if that’s what you were referring to?) but I found this (in the intermediate one):

My understanding is that there can be a list of things that are enumerated with に or と, and then an additional item is tucked on with それに。

4 Likes

The に here is just enumerating/listing things. See https://japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/12188/particle-に-to-enumerate-things

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I am struggling to figure out this sentence:

At 13%
社員の手によって隙間なく並べられたそれらは、どこか作り物めいて感じられた。

Not sure what めいて means here. jisho has three potential meanings, assuming めいて is the て-form of めく: to show signs of, to turn over, or to tear off; none of them make sense to me. I thought that maybe I was parsing it wrong, but can’t seem to find any other way to split that part that makes sense.

Any help is appreciated!

1 Like

I’m struggling on this one too. :man_shrugging:
Also a few sentences before, there is :

オープンまでの二週間、二人組になったり、社員を相手にしながら、架か空くうの客に向かって、ひたすら練習が続いた。

As with so many Japanese sentences, I understand the gist of it, but the details escape me. So I think basically two weeks before the opening they did some intense training with probably some kind of pair exercise, I guess one is doing the 店員 and the other one is doing an imaginary client.

But exactly who is doing what ?
社員を相手にする = dealing with employee. Who is doing the 相手にする? Who is 社員 ?
架か空くうの客に向かう = facing an imaginary client. Who is doing the 向かう ?

Also there is an Aたり、Bながら、Cて、D construction here. There is so many ways to parse that, is there any priority rules ? Or is it completely meaning and context based ?

1 Like

めいて here is indeed the te-form of めく: to have the appearance of.

作り物めいて: looks unreal (fake, made up)

4 Likes