- アレどこだ!? アレをコレする あのアレだ！
Where is it!?! / The thing that does this / — that thing!
Feedback from my wife and oldest daughter:
The アレ in the middle stanza could logically be either the same thing or something different from the first and final アレs (which are clearly the same). Thinking of the middle one as the same thing is simpler, so I’ll bow to the consensus despite my reservations. FWIW: my daughter definitively sides with my interpretation, while my wife seems ambivalent (“could be either”).
This phrasing seems to be more written-senryu-like than actual conversation-like. In an actual conversation you’d be more likely to use something like こうするやつ or whatever if you meant the thing you’re looking for, and ソレを if you meant something different. The アレを was likely added to the middle stanza to sorta-complete the sentence-fragment and to increase the repetitive comedic effect.
The thrice repeated アレ specifically seems to be for poetic cadence, 音数, and for comedic affect. It’s unlikely that a native would use this exact wording when speaking aloud in real life.
As we’ve discussed, the ambiguity is what’s funny. That it isn’t completely clear whether it’s the same or different things between the first and middle stanza actually adds to that ambiguity.
Apologies for dragging out these subtle little points like this, but involved threads like these are the fun and interesting part for me! I’ve learned a ton in this thread just by hashing this kind of stuff out. I’m here to learn Japanese — I’m already halfway-competent at writing English.
Volume: Heartfelt (しみじみ編)
Another interesting grammatical construction! Thankfully, I think this one has only one interpretation. (Thus I doom myself to being proven wrong yet again).
If anyone else wants to try to diagram this one, it might be interesting to compare our “core” sentence structures.
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.
I hate appeals to authority, but I trust these authorities! I doubt anyone cares, but: My wife was born and bred in Japan, majored in English at University, and has lived and worked in the US for decades. While obviously stronger in her native language, she’s able to have subtle, nuanced discussions in either language. My bilingual daughter was born in the US, but raised and schooled (primary and secondary) in both countries (spending several months in both countries almost every year in native-only classes). My daughter graduated from and became a certified Japanese-language teacher at a Japanese university in Kobe. Between the two of them, I get pretty good feedback. My other two kids are also completely bilingual. My son, the oldest, also graduated from a Japanese university (but doesn’t have the teaching certification). Only my youngest graduated from a US university. Of the three, daughter #1 seems the most balanced: my son seems more comfortable with Japanese/Japan-life, and daughter #2 seems more comfortable with English/US-life. ↩︎