Can really find a funny and vivid English.
But I have a question about the grammar because this seemingly simple sentence threw me for a loop and I want to check If I got it right.
So I think the meaning is clear: Restaurant where/whose sample are rotten colors. Actually if we put “Restaurant whose sample are rotten colors.” into deepl it give us literally the senryuu, moji for moji !
But then the most straight-forward parsing doesn’t work:
サンプルが腐った色 = the color of rotten sample (サンプル is the subject of 腐った)
[…]色のレストラン : A restaurant with color […]. For example 黄色のレストラン : a yellow restaurant.
So we get “restaurant with color of rotten sample” that doesn’t sound right it’s as if we are talking about the color of the wallpapers or something!
So theory number 2, the の in 色のレストラン is actually a shortcut of the full copula である
And then the first part is a normal XがYである with X = サンプル and Y = 腐った色. So サンプルが is NOT the subject of 腐った.
If it’s right then I guess we can also do something like サンプルが黄色のレストラン (restaurant whose sample are yellow). I wonder if it’s proper grammar.
I think it’s still talking about color. Even the plastic sample dishes look “off”.
Monday, November 28, 2022
restaurant / where even samples / look rotten (3-5-3)
This version seemed to take the fewest liberties, though it still takes a few. It introduces the word “even” to add emphasis not explicitly in the original. It also uses “look” to capture the meaning of 色 (hardly an exact translation).
Current senryu challenge
Oooh. Some fun vocabulary with this one.
お見合い is a very Japanese pre-marriage thing that is increasingly less common, but still practiced. I know other cultures also have similar matchmaking practices. My family is a bunch of southern hillbillies (mostly from Kentucky and Virginia). I’m pretty sure there were matchmakers involved in my family several generations ago, but I can’t find any historical references to matchmaking in the US (though most of the hillbillies were of Irish descent, so I’m sure it existed).
Also, I should point out that the judges have indicated they will accept judicious usage of the word “photoshop” in the translations.
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 語源由来辞典 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.
Huh. I put ‘even’ in my translation too, because by the time I was thinking of translations I’d got it into my head that the original used も ! It just somehow seemed more natural in my head. Now I’m wondering why the original author chose が rather than も or の…
Heh. Yeah, it seems hard to capture the feel without using “even”. I think it’s because Japanese leaves the subject out so often that が really has a strong sense of “finger pointing” as Tofugu calls it when it is actually included!
Kinda nice to get one with a clear subject, even if it’s only in a modifying clause.
Can’t get this out of my head. I wonder if we might be interpreting it wrong.
I wonder if the plastic samples outside were all ancient and rotten-looking, but the food itself was great. Heaven knows I’ve been to enough holes-in-the-wall where this was the case …
Reminds me of the best Chinese restaurants in America where the pictures are always yellow. You know it’s good if the menu board looks janky
In the end I got a native speaker to walk me through it, so here is their explanation (maybe it was obvious for all of you, but just in case!)
grammatical musing solved
Basically paraphrasing this
So the idea is that with sentence like 象は鼻が長い, we can pull out the は-marked argument and leave the が-marked argument to construct a relativized phrase like so:
- 背が高い人 tall people
- ワインが有名なフランス France, which is famous for wine
- 表紙が緑色の本 a book with a green cover
Strangely, the i-adjective and na-adjective examples feel fairly obvious to me, but not the noun one somehow… By the way, another example I found is あなたがピンチの時 (when you are in trouble)
So サンプルが腐った色のレストラン can be rewritten as レストランはサンプルが腐った色だ.
But what tricked me in the first place is that indeed サンプル is not the subject of 腐った. 腐った is a mini relative clause that modifies 色 so 腐った色 is a set and it should be read [サンプル]が[腐った色] (だ)
Thanks for passing that on – I was definitely a bit unsure how to parse it. I’ll have to look out for the construction in my reading.
I’m usually the one who’s mystified by grammar, but this one seemed quite straightforward to me for some reason.
<descriptive-noun-phrase> の <noun> is a really common construct in spoken Japanese：
I believe all are grammatically correct and mean roughly the same thing, but the latter two zero in on the floor being what’s specifically dirty.
I’d diagram the senryu like this:
That is, the descriptive noun phrase here is 「サンプルが腐った色だ」 but because this is used as a modifier for レストラン rather than a standalone sentence, the だ gets replaced with の.
Any corrections to my understanding? This is what I assumed from my first reading.
Edit: I forgot to link to a thread related to this: Confusion regarding の in Word Use Examples
Probably best to avoid the word ‘obvious’ in a conversation about Japanese syntax.
I still have a lingering question about this one.
Did the the native speaker clarify whether 色 is being used here to mean literally ‘color’ or in its more figurative sense?
No, I think your diagram is spot on!
Seems to be closer to a literal meaning. Quoting them:
“The restaurant has rotten(-colored) (food) samples”. Food models of an old restaurant often have very unappetizing appearances…
腐った色 […] refers to a dirty color of a rotten food.
I was a bit confused because I think of noun phrases with の like this:
<descriptive sentence A> <noun B> の <noun C>
I usually assume that A describes B, and that B describes C. Like in your 汚い床のレストラン example - which restaurant is it? The one with the floor. What kind of floor? A dirty one.
But in the senryu, 色 describes the サンプル, not レストラン - and the noun phrase as a whole describes the restaurant. Intuitively it made sense, but grammatically it’s a bit different.
Contrast it with these re-writings:
Where サンプル is the “head noun” of the phrase instead of 色.