Did I get this right?

I’m reading 小学生なら知っておきたいもっと教養366: 1日1, which is a collection of one-page articles on various topics. Today’s article is about Curious George, every American child’s favorite monkey. It includes the following sentence:
好奇心おうせいで知りたがりのジョージは、動物園の外の世界が知りたくて、脱走してバスにのってにげてしまうんだ。

Which I translate very freely as
Full of inquisitiveness, Curious George wanted to learn about the world outside the zoo, so he used the bus to escape.

I’m not going for a literal translation, just want to make sure I’ve accurately expressed the sense of the original.

(For anyone curious, I absolutely love this book. Great balance of difficulty and interest. )

3 Likes

Looks good to me. :+1:

1 Like

Sounds about right.

I translated the sentence before reading your version as as to not be influenced by yours. I think I might translate the above a little differently.

I saw it as the noun 好奇心 (curiosity), followed by the verb おう (to follow or pursue), and finally the grammar point せいで (meaning “because of” or “due to”, usually in a negative sense).

So I would translate more like:

In order to satisfy his curiosity, Curious George wanted to learn about the world outside the zoo so he used the bus to escape.

Maybe a nitpick and pretty similar to your translation, but I’d like to see if you or others agree on the breakdown of the first clause. I would have thought there would have been an object particle in there, like 好奇心をおうせいで, but this is the only way I can think of to parse that part of the sentence.

Well, jisho.org translates おうせい as “lively, vigorous, energetic,” or “full of,” and one of their sample sentences includes the specific phrase 好奇心おうせい, translated as “a healthy curiosity.” Which then makes で a particle indicating that the “healthy curiosity” is the motive for George’s escape.

Your Japanese is probably better than mine, though, so I’m not going to argue too much.

3 Likes

The original rather says „he slipped out and boarded the bus and escaped“ as a sequence of events and not as a means. But that’s probably included in your slightly liberal translation? Just making sure you got the nuances there.
Other than that, I agree with you on the おうせい part.

3 Likes

なるほど。No, I think you’re right. Something seemed funny about my translation, as I mentioned with the missing を particle (which I have seen before in very casual speech), so I even actually looked up おうせい on jisho.org while doing my translation. I must have done a bad copy paste, because i don;t find anything - but looking again now I see you’re right.

I think I should at least get half credit for my crackpot translation. At least it sorta makes sense. :sweat_smile:

3 Likes

I mean he does often pursue his curiosity. So you’re not wrong.

Present tense, imo. Slips out, boards the bus and escapes.

3 Likes

That would be this clause:
脱走して – breaking out
バスにのって – boarding the bus
にげてしまう – finish escaping
んだ – did

No, I didn’t get the nuance of a sequence of events. Thanks! That’s why I asked!

1 Like

But isn’t だ the past tense of the copula?

だった is the past tense.

5 Likes

To add on to what @MrGeneric said: だ is a casual copula and です is a formal one. Their respective past tense forms are だった and でした. You are probably mixing up the past form of むぬぶぐ ending verbs (e.g. 読む・読んだ) with the casual copula だ.

2 Likes

Yep. Thanks for the clarification.

2 Likes

Ending a sentence with …んだ is like starting it with „It’s that …”, and doesn’t determine the tense of what’s enclosed within it. It just gives the entire sentense an explanatory air.

The present tense is because it’s しまう , in past tense that would have been しまった .

2 Likes