(The increasingly less) Daily senryu thread

Thanks for the heads up. Both fixed.

Also, I think you may be right about why this one was difficult for me to easily grasp. ()たり()(かん)

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無料でも 家族間での 通話なし

むりょうでも・かぞくあいだで・のつうわなし
(assuming that つう is counted as one mora)

CORRECTION:
むりょうでも・かぞくかんでの・つうわなし
(It is 5-7-5, after all! Thanks to @Myria for pointing out alternate usage of かん reading for 間. Mea culpa.)

2-4-2
Free calls,
yet… family
won’t phone

  • Painful memories of AT&T (telephone monopoly in the US at that time) phone bills from the 80’s…
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The 5-7-5 works out much better if you put かぞくかん for 家族間 :slight_smile:

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I wasn’t familiar with the “inter-” meaning of 間, which I am now, thanks to you pointing it out.

Trying to find examples of compound words that use 間 as a 接尾 with the above meaning was challenging, though, as they are not easily found in dictionaries. I ended up using DeepL, where, by attaching various nouns in front of 間, I found a few words that made sense (e.g. 夫婦間 - between husband and wife、大学間 - intercollegiate、会社間 - inter-company、州間 - interstate、人間間 - interpersonal…) and then searching for their use in sentences with Weblio to confirm that the word is indeed valid and not a DeepL artifact. :wink:

Just wondering if there’s a simpler way to locate such compound words and related examples without having to do the app acrobatics that I did. Hope someone here knows…

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For in particular 家族間 I looked it up in ALC Eijiro, which lists some collocations/phrases that use it, with English translations. I don’t know anything that would let you search to find other words that use the suffix, though.

2 Likes

Wednesday, October 5, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. 無料でも 家族間での 通話なし
    むりょうでも・かぞくかんでの・つうわなし
    Free calls, / yet… family / won’t phone

I think 2-4-2 in English is a first. Can’t get much shorter than that!

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Ladies

  1. どの彼の時も最初はこの料理

As is so often the case, I’m probably wrong in my initial interpretation.

I think this one means something like “Whichever boyfriend it is this time, this is what (I cook? she cooks?) first.” As usual, the lack of a specific subject makes it tricky to interpret. It sounds gossipy like it might be about someone else, but “cooking” makes me wonder if the author is talking about herself.

Help!


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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どのかれのときもさいしょはこのりょうり

No matter which
boyfriend it is, their first meal
is always this

I agree with your original translation! I think it’s judgy but since putting a pronoun in makes it confusing, I tried to keep it neutral. I am not sure if I want to keep “their” instead of “his” but I don’t mind either way. My original thought is to emphasize that many men have had this same “first home cooking”

4 Likes

どの彼の時も最初はこの料理

どのかれの・ときもさいしょは・このりょうり

3-4-3
My time with
any SO starts
with this dish

  • I understand 彼の時 as “my time with a boyfriend,” which would read better in English as “my relationship with a boyfriend.” But, that is too syllable verbose, so I ditched it for a less effective translation. (Also the reason why I switched boyfriend with the colloquial SO)
  • Is this senryu about “the way to his heart is through his stomach?” Or, perhaps a lament along the lines of “here we go again?”
5 Likes

Friday, October 7, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. どの彼の時も最初はこの料理
    どのかれの・ときもさいしょは・このりょうり
    This dish starts / every occasion of / boyfriend-time

Notes:

  • I liked how @superelf94’s version sounded, but I think my initial interpretation led you astray.

  • @LaVieQ cleared it up for me: 彼の時 means “boyfriend time”. Without the どの at the beginning I’d have understood that immediately, but somehow adding it confused me. I now think どの彼の時も means “any/every boyfriend-time” (i.e. with the same boyfriend, but different times) rather than “time with any [new] boyfriend”.

  • In other words, I think this senryu is about the dish that immediately precedes putting on a Barry White or “boom chicka wow wow” soundtrack.

  • This also convinced me that the subject here is the author rather than some third person.

  • For all of these reasons, I decided to go with my 3-6-3 version above (apologies).

  • It always fascinates me how reversing the order of the original usually works better in English.

  • I’ve been spending a ridiculous amount of time recently translating Japanese middle-school grammar instruction, which has improved my understanding of Japanese grammar significantly. I believe the absolute “core” of this senryu is simply:

    料理(りょうり) [だ]

    with an implied だ at the end. In other words, “[it is] cooking”. Adding the この modifier: “[It is] this cooking”).[1]

    If I were to transliterate this senryu, attempting to keep the structure somewhat similar (vs. translations which sound like more natural English) it would be something like: “As for the beginning, any boyfriend-time is this-cooking.” The structure 「どの◯も」of course just means “any ◯”. Here, it means “any boyfriend-time”.

    That’s obviously far less understandable in English, but I really do believe that analyzing the grammatical structure this way (making the differences from English obvious) helps tremendously. Translations aren’t the best way to learn the true nature and idiosyncrasies of a language.

    My English translation, for example, made the word “dish” a grammatical subject. English is a subject-focused language, so this feels natural. I’m firmly convinced, however, that as a predicate-centric language, Japanese puts a single noun like that in the predicate (with an implied copula だ). 料理 does not function as the grammatical subject in the original sentence. The subject is “boyfriend-time”.

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Various settings

  1. 趣味日舞 詳しくきけば盆踊り

I could read and understand all of the words except 日舞(にちぶ) (I guessed the reading correctly, but still don’t really understand the meaning — it obviously must be different than 盆踊り!). So far I’ve not found any good examples of 日舞 online to explain this one for me.

Help!


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. As an aside: I recently learned the word 指示語(しじご) which means “pointing” words. This includes この and どの in this senryu. These are also colloquially referred to as こそあど words: れ、れ、れ、れ. ↩︎

1 Like

So, my theory:

EDICT says 日舞 is an abbreviation of 日本舞踊, i.e. traditional Japanese dance. Now while technically the 盆踊り is a traditional Japanese dance, if somebody tells you their hobby is Japanese dance you’re probably assuming they’re into a super elegant classical art form, not cavorting around at festivals. So the humour is in the speaker (and the reader, given the word order) getting the sudden letdown from the sublime to the ridiculous.

3 Likes

Ah! Got it.

I see, it’s a much more formal type of dancing than “festival cavorting” as you said. (Made me laugh).

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I don’t think 日本舞踊 is a particular kind of dance, it’s a broad term covering a wide range of styles (i.e. the word covers all forms of Japanese traditional dance). Japanese wikipedia says 盆踊り is indeed one sub-category of 日本舞踊. It’s just a question of what your initial mental image is when you hear the word…

2 Likes

No submissions? I’ll give it one more day before coming up with something on my own (fair warning! :slight_smile: )

WARNING: absolute spoiler below, don’t twirl it open if you want to continue to work on it on your own.

My diagram for this one

Diagramming this one actually led me to understanding this one better.

趣味日舞 詳しくきけば盆踊り
“If you ask [@] about their traditional dance hobby, [it’s] bon-odori”

diagram (6)

This is my first attempt at diagramming something with the 〜ば conditional inflection. I think it works.

Basically:

  • It’s a compound sentence with two clauses

  • The “core” question is just 「聞けば」 (if [you] ask)

  • The response is just “[it’s] bon-odori”

  • The logical subject of the response is implied to be the object of the question

Neat!

2 Likes

Shouldn’t the ば clause have an indicated unstated subject too in that diagram?

Let’s move this to the diagramming thread, but yeah. I thought I was showing one: it’s just indicated with a に rather than a が in a 〜ば conditional phrase.

A bit of a meta question - are senryu actually required to be complete sentences? I’ve noticed a couple sentence-diagram-rabbit-holes in this thread that stem from attempts to analyze poetry as if it were a normal sentence.

No, I don’t think they have to be complete sentences. But Japanese seems to allow even one-word sentences all the time (with verbs or nouns).

I’m unsure if I’ve seen one yet that can’t be parsed as one or more complete sentences.

(Also, I’m not trying to enforce rules on poetry or art. But my goal with this thread was to use senryu for learning about the language. I find analyzing the grammar useful for this - it helped me understand this latest example, for instance.)

In this specific case I don’t think of it as 趣味日舞 being the object of 聞く , but I’m not prepared to go out on a limb and say that interpretation is wrong :slight_smile:

1 Like

I think the nose piercing one from a while ago is a good example. The author isn’t saying that the piercing exists, or is something, or does something… it’s just a noun phrase that evokes a feeling. There isn’t an inferred da or aru, because there isn’t a predicate at all - it’s just an incomplete thought.

Or with the latest senryu -

I don’t think you can definitively say that a だ is being implied. It could also be “盆踊り” [they will say] or something like that, for example.

(incidentally, I actually don’t know if 盆踊りだ is valid, since it would be true even if the condition (きけば) is false)

It feels more natural to me to think of it as 3 somewhat-independent thoughts:
Dance for a hobby;
If you press for details…
The macarena :roll_eyes:

With this interpretation, the last part doesn’t have (or need) a predicate at all, because it isn’t a sentence.

4 Likes

I’m not insisting that any senryu must be grammatically correct or complete. Eye of the beholder and all that. Please continue to interpret them as you prefer.

These aren’t haiku, though, they are mostly lightweight comedic observations and closer to jokes than high art — they definitely aren’t intended to be imponderable (they’re intended as entertainment for wide audiences and are mostly contest submissions).

I interpret this one as meaning

“If you ask them about their traditional dance hobby, it’s bon-odori”

Putting it into 3 stanzas (ignoring syllable counts), the poem form does become something closer to your “independent” version:

“traditional dance” hobby?
if you ask
it’s bon-odori

I think most Japanese natives would interpret it this way (though they might substitute me/my for them/their).

I think humans are wired to express complete thoughts most of the time. Your three “independent thought” English interpretation still uses punctuation to express a unifying thought rather than complete independence. It could even be diagrammed even as a grammatical English sentence if you begin the third stanza with “It’s the” (see below for my thoughts on the incompleteness of “noun phrases” in the two languages).

I also interpret your English version quite similar to what I diagrammed (I get a strong sense of “is” coupling between Macarena and hobby/dance). My only quibble is that I think 趣味(しゅみ)日舞(にちぶ) is constructed as a compound noun. I think it literally means “traditional-Japanese-dance-hobby” — the word “for” in your first stanza seems to detract from the connection between the last stanza and the first.

Grammar/diagramming thoughts

We should probably continue this in the diagramming thread if you wish to reply to my thoughts in this section.

A “noun phrase” being something ungrammatical/incomplete? I really don’t think that’s the case in Japanese.

The single word (あめ) (rain) would sound complete and grammatical in Japanese conversation (after 「なんの(おと)?」or 「なんで()かない?」perhaps), but often wouldn’t in English (it would sound like you were muttering to yourself if you just said “rain” – you’d be sore tempted to say “it’s raining” or something similar).

[Probably not the best example.]

I think implying だ is even more common in senryu than in everyday conversation because of (おん)(すう) constraints.

In English it would absolutely require a verb to be complete and grammatical: “Rain falls” perhaps. Making it an object would requires two additional words, the verb “is” and a pronoun for the subject: “It is rain”.

But in Japanese subjects are omitted constantly. And predicates are pretty much universally seen as the most important part of a Japanese sentence. At least I’m convinced that if all you have is a single noun, it belongs in the predicate.

If it’s not the subject then you pretty much have to assume an implied だ。

I disagree. A bareword noun in Japanese absolutely says that noun “is something”. It doesn’t simply exist, nor does it do anything: it is something else (unspecified but implied by context, exactly what the zero pronoun is for).

綺麗(きれい)(はな)

面白(おもしろ)冗談(じょうだん)

Both strongly imply a final だ but it wouldn’t be unusual at all to leave it off in casual conversation (or in poems!).

This was my mistake back during the nose-ring poem: I initially interpreted the bare-word noun as a subject and wrote 「(はな)ピアスがある」(causing many to throw up all over my diagram :smile:). But interpreting it as a subject has a problem: what verb do you assume? Depending on context, the subject (はな)ピアス could be followed by ()ちている、(わす)れた、()つからない… It wouldn’t be simply ある in some contexts.

But if you assume 鼻ピアス is in the predicate, then だ always works (because of the zero pronoun as the subject).

I don’t follow why that’s a concern. In the English sentence “If you want to know the weather, it’s raining” the independent clause “it’s raining” will also be true regardless of the desire.

1 Like