コンビニ人間: Week 3 Discussion

AFAIK S1ならS1で is an iterative construction similar to N1はN1で (e.g., それはそれで “that being as it is”, それならそれで “be that as it may”). Martin says it means “if indeed S1” (Reference Grammar of Japanese, 3.10.(6) p246), (I assume) from the literal meaning “if S1 then it is (indeed) S1 and …”. So here, “if s/he is indeed quitting”.

Any implication of judgement is IMHO reading too much into the construction alone. It could well be “if s/he is indeed quitting [then I don’t mind]” in context, but I think it might be more a matter of interpretation rather than of grammar.

P.S.: I know that in the case of N1はN1で, it can be interpreted as N1はN1でも, with a concessive meaning “even though N is N (be that as it may)”, so maybe something similar can apply to S1ならS1で to give it more of a concessive meaning; I have no source for this, though, and the “indeed” interpretation seems to work well enough, to me… :man_shrugging:

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Jisho includes the following definition for 癖:

peculiarity; idiosyncrasy; mannerism​

So I just assumed it was that.

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Basically, yes.
But the fact there was a specific entry for food, plus my previous experience (which, as far as I remember, was because there was a bunch of some ingredient, leading me to the wrong conclusion), plus confirmation bias with a smidge of not reading the entry carefully lead me to the previous result :stuck_out_tongue:

In any case, I am now one epsilon less wrong.

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普通とは異なった特徴。「―のある字」「―のある髪の毛」

I’m still enjoying this book but I hope something actually happens soon.

I liked the part this chapter describing how she copies other’s fashion and talking because that’s what she thinks is normal for someone her age. It’s relatable to a degree but then she takes it that one step further than most be would, by going through her coworker’s belongings and writing down the brands.

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Spoilers. :stuck_out_tongue:

Seriously though, you should use the spoiler tags for things like that.

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Am I the only one that was slightly creeped out by the fact that she repeats her coworker’s sentences word for word? Maybe more time passed between the occasions than it seemed in the book, but I expected the coworkers to totally notice and be kind of weirded out (or interpret it as mockery).

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Oh, I didn’t even notice. When was that?

When she gets “angry”, or at least pretends to, because people are late. Then she mentions (in narration obviously) that people as happy to be angry about the same things

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Can someone help me unpack that line a bit? I get most of it, but:

If I look at this half of the sentence:

自分が、雑貨の棚やコーヒーマシーンと同じ、この店の一部であるかのように感じられる。

I’m not sure about a couple of grammar points.

First, is the か sort of the ‘embedded question’ use? As in meaning "whether(or not) I am just a part (or fixture) of the store like the coffee maker and shelving?

Secondly, what is the function of the のように part? It is just meaning that sort of thought?

And thirdly, 感じられる appears to be the passive form, right? This seems slightly odd to me. Is this being seen as a consequence of the first half of the sentence 私の身体の殆どが、このコンビニの食料でできているのだと思う because of the particle と being used in the “if/then” sense?

So a full translation might be something like:

If I think about the fact that my body is almost completely composed of food from the convenience store, I get the feeling that I am as much a part of the store as the coffee machine and shelves full of products.

Thanks!

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~かのように is a grammar point that means “as if”. It’s preceded by である when there’s a noun or na-adj.
この店の一部であるかのように: As if I’m a part of the store.

As for 感じられる, this is a construction (potential by the way, not passive) that equates to “a feeling of”/“being able to feel”. Translating to English, I guess you usually translate it to whatever’s natural to say.

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I wonder if it’s neither the passive nor the potential, but the spontaneous form (自発) here. (One of the other use of the れる verb helper outside passive, more information here)

It seems to fit a bit better. When she think about her body almost made of food from this combini, it’s not really that she “can feel” as if she is part of the store, but she (spontaneously, without any volition) feels that way.

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If that helps, I like to think of the spontaneous passive as being somewhat similar to the way we use impersonal turns of phrase in English with verbs of perception: it felt as if she was part of the store.

In fact, you can add an experiencer (the one who feels or perceives) with dative に in Japanese, and similarly with a to preposition in English. Compare 彼女に…感じられた and it felt … to her. AFAIK, English doesn’t have a dative case anymore and even pronouns only retain a distinction between nominative (she) and objective (her). In French, with a verb such as sembler (seem), elle (she) becomes lui (vestigial dative) so the analogy is perhaps clearer: il lui sembla qu’elle fît partie du magasin.

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I was really wondering about this myself. Your explanation makes sense to me. I think it’s correct. Thanks!

Some questions please, if I may.

At 19%

菅原さんの喋り方をトレースし、少し語尾を大人向きに変えた口調で泉さんに答える。
Not sure about this トレース means here… jisho says “trace” but doesn’t quite seem to fit here…?

At 20%

パック食料ぜんぜん出てないじゃないですか、朝ピークなのに!
Not sure what 出てない means here… They haven’t taken out the packed food? Does this refer to something like taking it out from some storage room into the shelves or something?

At 21%

自分の中に、「朝」という時間が運ばれてくる感じがする。
I am having trouble with the 運ばれてくる. If I understand correctly it would be the passive of 運ぶ + てくる grammar point… so something like “become being carried?”

Any help is appreciated!

I don’t have the book with me, so I can’t really check context/typos and the like but:

At 19%

Actually “trace” (as in copying) does make sense to me :thinking:

At 20%

They haven’t taken out the packed food? Does this refer to something like taking it out from some storage room into the shelves or something?

That’s how I read it.

At 21%

Just “being carried” (toward the speaker, in this case). She gets the feeling (inside of herself) that the period in time called “morning” is being brought/carried to her. Kind of a weird thing to say, but she has being saying a lot of weird things so far, so :woman_shrugging:

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At 19% (but probably not helpful)

I originally read トレース as “a trace of; a hint of” (just in verb form I guess), but I don’t see anything in the dictionary to back that up. So probably what Naphthalene said.

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Hmmm… well, English is not my native language, but the only definition I can find of “tracing” meaning “copying” is a very specific type of copying where you put a transparent sheet of paper above the original thing you want to copy, and then draw the same thing you see unto the transparent sheet (which I see is also the first definition of トレース in the dictionary entry @seanblue linked) . I guess this could be extrapolated as a general metaphor though…

Googling a bit it seems “to trace” can also mean “to follow or study out in detail or step by step”, which I guess kind of fits too?

I see. That’s indeed very abstract, but I think I get the idea given the context.

Thanks for the help!

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Hm, no, not really. That’s more about going from one source to the next and cross-referencing things to make a coherent picture (see the example in the link you provided: “trace the history of the war”). You really want the first meaning listed, specifically 1.c

But yes, it is a metaphor here. We have the exact same one in French (my native language) so I didn’t even think about it being weird.

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About トレース. The English meaning doesn’t always need to fit with how the Japanese word uses it. “Despite having their origins in English, “wasei eigo” words often have quite different meanings to those on which they are based.” So instead of relying on how the word is used in English, we need to learn how it’s come to be used in the Japanese context. There are similar instances with many words. For example, you probably rarely use the word フォロー in a sentence where you want to say you covered up for a friend, but it’s used quite a lot in that sense in Japanese. With “Trace”, I can see a hint of how the word was used to mean “imitate”/“copy”, but I wouldn’t normally use it in that way in English I guess.

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