本好きの下剋上: Week 7 discussion

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Week 7


Start Date: September 26th
Previous week: Week 6
Next week: Week 8

Reading:

Chapters 18 - 20 (トゥーリの洗礼式, 黄河文明、愛してる, インクが欲しい) (37 pages/ 11%)

Discussion Rules

  • Please use spoiler tags for major events in the current chapter(s) and any content in future chapters.
  • When asking for help, please mention the chapter and page number. Also mention what version of the book you are reading.
  • Don’t be afraid of asking questions, even if they seem embarrassing at first. All of us are here to learn.
  • To you lurkers out there: Join the conversation, it’s fun! :books:

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(second chapter)

いつ死ぬか、今度倒れたら駄目かもしれない。ずっとそう思っていたから、今元気になっていくだけで十分だ

The irony is that his actual daughter did die…

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Yes, I remember thinking “well, do I have news for you”. At the same time, current マイン do fit in the family, and he could lose her for “real” (as in the body could die).

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:sob:

(Chapter 3)
I can’t really picture what a 煤鉛筆 would look like. No picture in this chapter unfortunately.


I read these chapters so fast (all three chapters over two days), now I don’t know what to do for the rest of the week. :sweat_smile: I can read a bunch of manga chapters, or get ahead in the book I guess.

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I picture it like a black crayon, considering it’s made of clay :thinking:

:eyes: join the dark side of the Force book club.

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The reading felt even quicker than usual this week! I love マイン and, really, everyone, and I’m very much enjoying this book, yay. Hardly feels like work at all to read. :smiley:

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Compared to last week (44 pages) this week was pretty short (only 37)! :slight_smile:

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I found that week was slightly harder than usual but I read faster than usual for some reason.

This week spoiler

I know we already had that conversation but Mayne and Urano could still be the same person. She might have just regained her memory of her past life. I guess in both cases she died thought but nothing proves us that they are different entities.

That 洗礼式 seemed like a super nice festival. The way it was described made it seem heavenly with the flower that dropped from the sky.

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This week spoiler

Hm, I can’t remember when, but a clear answer is given to that. It is explicitly stated during the second book, but I’m pretty sure マイン reflects on that a few times beforehand, so it should probably be clear already. (I’m mostly mentioning it in case you missed something somewhere)

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Hey, I’m caught up finally! Just finished chapter 1. I have a question, not regarding the language but rather something that I don’t understand logically – if the writing system is phonetic (IIRC there are 30 letters), why does Mayne need Otto to teach her how to read and write words? Is it just a matter of new vocab, like the red lettuce and such, or did I miss something?

(One crazy theory I came up with was that they’re not actually speaking Japanese, so even though she has an inherited knowledge of the new language, she still needs to re-learn it in some way…but I feel like that’s more complicated than necessary)

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Well, Otto is teaching her the words themselves in many cases. A lot of the words are business words and other things she’s probably never heard before as a 5-year-old who barely left home until recently. Which is to say, the words wouldn’t be in her memory.

But…

This definitely crossed my mind. It seems like she automatically knows some things, but other things she has to explicitly try to recall from Main’s memory. So it’s not unreasonable to think that she speaks the language intuitively, but that it’s harder to recall the specifics for writing.

But in any case, it is a bit odd in how it’s portrayed, since as you said it’s a phonetic language and therefore she should be able to write any word just by hearing it.

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I’m pretty sure it’s explicitly stated it’s not a phonetic system, so that even if you know all the letter, you may have trouble guessing how to read a given word (like in English). If you count separately the accented letters, French has more than 30, by the way.
I sadly don’t remember if that discussion has already come up in the text, though, so I won’t go into further details :sweat_smile: (I wonder if that counts as spoiler… it’s not exactly plot relevant so maybe not?)

That’s the case. There are many words that she only knows in Japanese but had to relearn in the local language. The flagship example is the word for book, but there are many more.

Wait, it is? Again, I’m pretty sure it’s not. Also, there are only 30 characters, which is low for a phonetic language (Japanese has 50, with 46 in current usage, for instance AND uses combinations of characters on top of that). So either their language is phonetically poor, or there are some tricks to the way things are read (like Japanese before the spelling reform).

Edit: I’m not going to post it in case there are spoilers, but the (arguably fanmade) wiki of the anime confirms that those are letters. (Actually, there are spoilers, as they show future character names)

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Hmm, I interpreted the set number of characters as the language being phonetic, but I suppose it could be like English where the pronunciations don’t correspond well with the written language.

I do not understand the connection :thinking: If anything, German has 30 characters and the names do sound German (Otto, Gunter…) so that feels like those are just standard characters. As @icefang97 mentioned in a previous thread, there’s a clear connection between alphabet and those characters in the illustrations too.

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I just read this part yesterday and I am sure it was 35. Actually, yes, it is 35. Page 179 in my book

I am also pretty sure that she explicitly mention that it wasn’t

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If either of you could point me to the place where it says this I would be very grateful; as it stands I’m just feeling like there was a major misinterpretation somewhere. I’m sure she mentioned learning あいうえお at some point, and I certainly don’t remember any mention of kanji-style ideograph characters. 35 letters seems more than enough to me (English has 26 after all, unless you count uppercase/lowercase which are easily dispensed with).

Unless we’re talking past each other and both mean the same thing? I mean, when I say “phonetic system” I’m including the possibility of either having separate consonants and vowels or a syllabary system like kana. 35 is definitely enough for the former and probably enough for the latter.

(If it’s mentioned in a later book I don’t mind the spoiler as long as it’s marked for people who would like to avoid it).

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After a lot of searching, I found it on page 152 in my book

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I think we’re saying different things. We’re saying “phonetic” to mean “strong correlation between written language and spoken sounds”. Japanese would be considered a highly “phonetic” language (excluding kanji) since you generally know how to spell a word if you can hear it and can always pronounce a word if you see it written. There are still exceptions (は, へ, じ・ぢ, ず・づ), but it has a high correlation. English, on the other hand, would not be considered a “phonetic” language. In English, the same letters can be pronounced differently depending on the word. It sounds like maybe that’s what’s going on here.

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Ok…I had a feeling this was going to come down to terminology. Despite the fact that it’s obviously not phonetically regular, I still think of English as using a phonetic writing system and it didn’t occur to me that my choice of words there would cause confusion (it didn’t even occur to occur to me).

Thanks, I went back and found it too. This is actually the line that I was thinking of too.

ここで使われている文字はアルファベットのようなものだ。平仮名のように表音文字ではなく、漢字のように表意文字でもない。

With the information that “it’s like an alphabet; the doesn’t convey meaning (like kanji) or phonograms (like kana)” I just figured that we were talking about a consonant-vowel paradigm. From what I could tell, 表音文字 includes kana (where each character is a complete sound), but not necessarily English letters (from the English wikipedia article, “igh” is a single phonogram that contains three letters). So it’s totally possible that the letters have sounds associated with them, but aren’t comparable to a syllabary like kana.

綴りで発音も意味も変わるものだ。

This line just makes me think it’s basically the same as English, where misspelling a word could change its meaning but not necessarily its pronunciation, like “knight” or “night”, or vice-versa.

After processing it out like that, I guess it makes sense that she might need to learn the correct way of writing certain words, even if she knows how they sound. Or who knows, maybe it’s like Tibetan and you basically have to learn all the words as units because the spelling is just so busted.

I’m confused about this too – in the scene where she visits the 雑貨屋, there’s this exchange:

「お、おじさんっ! これは? これは何!?」
「あぁ、本じゃよ」

Am I to understand that she’s thinking in Japanese but speaking in the local language? Is the old man actually saying some other word that she transparently understands as “book”? When she has to relearn the word for “book”, does that come in a later volume or did I miss it in what we’ve read so far?

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