(The increasingly less) Daily senryu thread

More argument about だって

The thing that’s 例外でない is that there are no exceptional days when he’s taking a break. The dictionary you’re using has combined all the different uses of だって-as-particle into two subheadings, so its definitions for each of those headings are going to be a bit less exactly applicable than if the dictionary editiors had chosen to break down the definition into more granular subheadings. If you look at eg Daijirin, which expands out a subheading treating the ‘counter/extent word’ case and glosses it …でも。…も。with a similar example of 一度だって姿を見せない.

Anyway, I could be wrong, I’m still learning this language, but this for me isn’t one of those “I think it’s this but perhaps I’m misinterpreting it” cases, it’s a “I have seen this construct a lot of times before and I will be very surprised if your interpretation is correct” level. If you have access to a native speaker or similar means of checking I’d encourage you to cross-check :slight_smile:

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Understood and appreciated. I will check with my wife.

Hmm. If my dictionary can be this misleading then I have concerns… Giving a misleading example under a description seems pretty grievous.

I’m not nearly as confident I understand how だって is used so I will check with my wife. But, trust me, it’s better not to over-use that resource, and I tend to have better/deeper/more-nuanced discussions leading to better understanding here, regardless.


Maybe it’s those danged Japanese dropping the subject that’s confusing us (or me at least).

Maybe the sense is “It may not seem like much, but even one day away from work is significant — ‘I never miss even a day’”?

That is, not "He doesn’t even take one day off“ but “I don’t even take one day off”?

I was going through contortions to capture that sense of “not as significant as it seems” but interpreting the subject as “I” rather than “he” seems to capture it perfectly.

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Heh, I understand what you mean. If you prefer, because だって is generally treated as “grammar” in teaching of Japanese, there are also plenty of explanatory articles on the net that deal with its various uses in a less compressed form than the dictionary entries. (It’s also in the Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar.)

I’ll research further.

I’ve heard it and even used it often over the years, but my brain has always interpreted it as literally a mash between だ and って — sort of like, “that is … you/we/I/one says [but]”. A copula plus a quote if you will.

I was never taught that, it was just pattern matching. I always translated it in my head as “[you say] but …”. I mostly heard it when expressing skepticism or doubt/disagreement: 「だって。。。本当にできる?」

一日だって “One day [you say,] but …”

休まない “doesn’t rest”

This is why my original mistaken interpretation of 休みにならない seemed to sorta fit.

But now I completely agree that “I don’t take even one day off” is the best translation. And replacing だって with でも has almost exactly the same meaning but is somehow easier for my brain to parse: 「一日でも休まない」

So hard to express, but it’s not that “One doesn’t rest in just one day” it’s that “One day may not seem like much, but I don’t take even one day off”.

This was a useful discussion. Thanks for sticking with me.

Best of all, I get to keep my dictionary! :laughing:

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Yeah, the start of sentence だって (and the end-of-sentence “he says/apparently” だって) are different animals to the particle one.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. 答案に「お願い」とだけ書いてあり
    とうあんにおねがいとだけかいてあり
    written on the / test answer sheet is / just the word “please”

It was nice to have a fairly straightforward one for a change! Nothing particularly Japanese about this one (neither linguistically nor culturally!).

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Salaryman

  1. 「いつ買った」? 前からあったと シラを切る

Oh man. What is it the kids say? “I feel seen”?

Something similar takes place every few months when my wife steps into my shop for some reason.

(I had to look up シラを切る — that’s the key to this senryu.)


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.

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Reading: いつかった まえからあったと しらをきる

Translation: “When’d you buy that?” / “I’ve had it for ages” / she cuts me dead

Another one which jumps back and forth on whether っ counts as a syllable for the 575…

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I didn’t know this until I looked it up, but

しらを切る

apparently means “to feign ignorance”:

  • しら‐を‐きる【しらを切る】
    知っていながら知らないと言いはる。しらばくれる。「あくまでも―」

Isn’t it the author doing the しらを切る?

Also, does “cuts me dead” have that connotation? (Genuine question)

I’m guessing the シラ comes from ()らん. [Edit: NOPE!] But I wonder where ()る came from?

Explanation of the origin is here: しらを切る/白を切る/しらをきる - 語源由来辞典

シラ is (しら) which became 当て字 for 知らぬ (what I was expecting).

切る comes from the expressions 「啖呵を切る」(to speak sharply), 「見得を切る」(to assume a pose) and the like. It implies a conspicuous way of speaking or assuming an attitude.

TIL

Definitely very low confidence on this one, but I took it as the other person, treating the と as connecting her line to this phrase. Looking more carefully at the definition of しらを切る I think I’ve probably got it wrong, though…

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Yeah. The lack of an explicit subject strikes again!

After looking it up, though, it seems to make more sense if it’s the author feigning ignorance.

“When did you get that?!”

Feigning ignorance, I said “I’ve had it for ages”

But without explicit subjects, there is no way to know if this was the intended meaning:

“When did you get that?!” [I asked]

“I’ve had it for ages” [she replied] feigning ignorance

Interesting etymology, regardless.

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Mmm, while you were writing that, I came to basically the same interpretation:

Somebody walks in and asks the author “hey, when’d you buy that [new gadget/dress/etc]”, and the author is the one brazenly claiming it’s not a new purchase when in fact it is.

Given the ‘salaryman’ category and that traditionally the family finances are controlled by the wife, I guess we should read the author as male? My western preconceptions started me off thinking the other way around.

Here’s an attempt based on that theory (though qua poem it’s not great):

“When’d you buy that?” / Oh, had it for ages / I boldly lie

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「いつかった」? まえからあったとシラをきる

“When did you buy it?”
Asked before
I could feign ignorance

This one was really hard for me. The から and the と were giving me issues, couldn’t exactly place what they were doing in this phrase, but I tried to figure it out x_x

EDIT: OH, is the と a quotation particle, so the “前からあった” is someone speaking? That’d make more sense

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Yes, exactly.

This one is a little tricky grammatically, because there are two separate sentences and three separate clauses:

The first sentence with one clause: 「いつ買った — “when did you buy [it]?” (presumably asked by the wife).

The main clause of the second sentence: 白を切る — “[I] feign ignorance”

And the quoted clause in the second sentence:「前からあった」と [答えた] “[I replied] ‘[it’s] been there since before’”

Really though, the subjects of all three clauses are guesses. They can be thought of as the “zero pronoun” in all three cases (a magic pronoun that can mean "I’ or “she” or even “it”).

This is why I like diagramming sentences and using the “zero pronoun” instead of subjects not explicitly given (like “I” and “my wife” and “it” in the second quoted clause). It makes it easier to visualize and reason about how to parse these kinds of things.

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So from that a better one could be something like
“‘When did you buy that?’
It’s been there from the start
I said innocently.”

I know the ‘innocently’ might read as genuine innocence, but with the context, I feel like it implies a lie that’s being covered up

3 Likes

I like that word choice, much better than mine.

Thursday, September 22, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. 「いつ買った」? 前からあったと シラを切る
    「いつかった」? まえからあったとシラをきる
    “‘When did you buy that?’ / It’s been there from the start / I said innocently.”

Notes:

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Husbands

  1. そっと起きそっと出かけてそっと寝る

I love it when I can read one of these without resorting to a dictionary or further research.

Fortunately those days are long past, but I remember rarely seeing sunshine and trying not to wake the household coming and going at odd hours.

It was definitely worse for salarymen in Japan, though, especially during the “Japan, Inc.” days. The expectations placed on people were brutal (thankfully, getting better). The fact that there is even a word in Japanese (過労死(かろうし)) for working yourself to death still horrifies me. [1]


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.


  1. I hate to be a downer, but I had a very close friend die from this (super long hours and smoking and drinking). Forgive the unsolicited advice, but for any still early in their careers: work should never be the most important thing nor dictate how you live your life. It’s not worth it. Don’t let yourself become trapped by others expectations and perceptions about your work ethic. Take pride in your work and work hard, but don’t let it control your life. ↩︎

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そっとおきそっとでかけてそっとねる

Without a whisper
I wake up, leave
And go back to sleep

If my translation isn’t wrong, I assumed this is about the fact that workers will often leave very early (so they have to wake up and go out without waking up others, and then return home very late (so they have to prepare to sleep quietly to not wake up anyone)

3 Likes

そっとおきそっとでかけてそっとねる

quietly
wake, depart, and go
back to sleep

2 Likes

そっと起きそっと出かけてそっと寝る

そっとおき・そっとでかけて・そっとねる

Waking softly, / depart on tiptoe, and back / in bed softly

  • 4-7-4 translation
2 Likes

Saturday, September 24, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. そっと起きそっと出かけてそっと寝る
    そっとおきそっとでかけてそっとねる
    Without a whisper / I wake up, leave / And return to sleep

Another one where it was tough to choose a translation. 5-4-5 is s little unusual, but it seems to work.

Just one small tweak: I changed “go back to sleep” to “return to sleep”. Almost exactly the same meaning, but I think the latter slightly implies returning home to sleep (vs. just going back to sleep). Unsure if it’s meaningful since “leave” is already explicit.

My own 4-5-4 attempted to acknowledge the repetition:

Silently rise, / silent departure, / silent to bed

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Salaryman

  1. 定年後 メシ・フロ・お茶は 妻の声

Hmm. I can piece together the words, but I’m unsure of the meaning:

  • 定年(ていねん)() (after retirement)

  • メシ (めし) (meals)

  • フロ 風呂(ふろ) (bath)

“After retirement, the only words I want to hear are my wife saying: ‘mealtime’, ‘bath is ready’, and ‘tea-time’”?


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.

1 Like