(The increasingly less) Daily senryu thread

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Previous senryu

  1. おねだりの孫の電話に陰の声
    grandchild’s pleading / phone call has whispers / in the background
    In grandchild’s phoned / plea — mystery voice, / sotto voce


  • (かげ)(こえ) means a “mystery voice”, the voice of an announcer on a game show or whatever giving the audience an answer without letting the contestants hear it. Presumably, the grandchild is getting prompts from the parents when asking the grandparent for something.

  • The key for me was @LaVieQ’s realization that more than the caller and the recipient could be involved in 〜の電話(でんわ) — I thought it was the grandchild speaking with 陰の声, but it makes more sense if it was the parents in the background.

  • I liked “sotto voce” a lot for 陰の声. It’s a perfect substitution, but 5-7-5 felt a bit too wordy. “Whispers in the background” still missed the mark and is wordy itself, but seemed to at least approach the meaning. “Whispers” seemed a hair closer to the original than “some help” which introduces an idea that is likely correct but not actually present in the original.

  • I eventually massaged it into the final 4-5-4 I’ve chosen to go with. It actually sounds senryu-like to my ear! “Mystery voice, sotto voce” for 陰の声 seems perfect.

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Salaryman

  1. アレどこだ!? アレをコレする あのアレだ!

Oh boy. No kanji! Should be a fun one to translate.

I’m not 100% certain I’ve understood it at a glance, but I’ve two hints:

  1. It uses some colloquialisms with dropped particles, etc.

  2. It might be easier to follow if you say it aloud with plenty of hand gestures for the second sentence!

Good luck!

Remember to please use the spoiler tag with your translation attempts! Also, please include the reading in kana with your submission.

Everyone is encouraged to participate, no matter your level! Questions and comments are as valued as translation submissions.

Please try not to be disappointed if your translation isn’t selected or if you disagree with the daily choice: the judge isn’t terribly consistent with his grading (and has awful taste!).
Online tools like dictionaries, sentence databases, and even AI translation engines are fair game and can be extremely helpful. Yomichan is particularly handy if you use the Chrome or Firefox browser. The 語源(ごげん)由来(ゆらい)辞典(じてん) is also an excellent resource for researching the etymology of various words and expressions.

Here are the links to the 356 Japanese originals (spoiler free) and to the the spreadsheet with all the upcoming senryu as well as the translations to date.

Once again I felt the urge to diagram yesterday’s senryu. This may only be of interest to me, but I think it might be useful for other beginners like myself to attempt to create your own. It helps me to better understand the basic grammatical structure for some of these:

The basic core of the senryu is the sentence 電話に[ありました].

I’d love to know if there is any interest at all in this. I’d recommend trying your hand at it, though. I’ve no idea if I’m doing it correctly (or if it’s even possible in such a different language), but breaking down the constituent parts as modifiers and distilling the basic core of the sentence seemed quite useful to me.

One judgement call: in “stacked の’s” like this it isn’t clear if おねだり is modifying (まご) or 電話(でんわ). I think it could be attached to either in this case.

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