Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Learning Japanese - Part 48, Page 13

More of page 13.

50 年前私は画家になりたくて、この街に出てきたんです。 今考えると笑ってしまうくらい田舎人でね

50 ねん まえ わたし は がか に なりたくて、 このまちにでてきたんです。 いま かんがえる と わらって しまうくらい いなか じん でね

50 nen mae - 50 years before
watashi - I
wa - topic marker
gaka - painter
ni - towards
naritakute - conjunctive form of "want to become"
kono machi - this town
ni - towards
dete kitan - left and came
desu - is
ima - now
kangaeru - to think about
to - and
waratte - laugh
shimaukurai - to the degree that have to do
inaka-jin - country bumpkin
de ne - desu + emphasizer

50 years before . I . (topic) . painter . towards . wanted to become
this . town . towards . left and came . is
now . to think about . and . laugh . have to do . country bumpkin .is . right?

"50 year ago, I wanted to become a painter, so I left home and came here. When I think about it now, I have to laugh. I really was a naive hayseed."

There are two interesting phrases here. The first is "ni naritakute". Take "ni naru" (to become or turn into) and turn it into "ni naritai" (want to become). "te" here is from "sou iu wake de" (for that reason). "ku" softens the entire phrase. "ni naritakute" then gives us "for the reason that I wanted to become".

The second phrase is "warratte shimaukurai" "warau" is "to laugh". "shimau" is "to do". "kurai" is a modifier in this case, used to mean "to the extent that". Therefore "waratte shimaukurai" means "to the extent that I have to laugh (at myself)".

I used "50 years ago, I came here wanting to be an artist. Looking back on it, I have to laugh. I really was a naive bumpkin."


お客様。 ご一緒にポテトはいかがですか?
おきゃくさま。 ごいっしょ に ポテト は いかが です か?

o - honorific prefix
kyaku - customer
sama - honorific suffix
go - honorific prefix
issho ni - together with
poteto - potato
wa - topic marker
ikaga - how about
desu - is
ka - question marker

honored customer . honored together with . potato . (topic) . how about . is . ?

"Sir, how about having potatoes together?"

There are three standard components here that are used to elevate the position of the other person above the speaker. "o-" and "go-" are both prefixes appended to nouns and verbs that have no English equivalents. The standard translation, though, is "honored". Both are used with specific words with no clear rules. Basically, you have to memorize them based on usage. "-sama" is the next step up above "-san", both having the meaning of "Mr." or "Ms."

Usually, shop clerks are trained to use "okyaku-san" (customer) when talking to a customer. "Okyaku-sama" is an extremely polite variant of this.

Normally, the Japanese will just use "issho ni" (to do something together with someone else). But, if you are being very polite, such as with someone of a much higher social status than you, you use "go-issho ni". The English translation is the same in both cases.

Technically, she's referring to "french fries", rather than "potatoes". You see "potato set" on menus in McDonalds, meaning a small fries and a drink. But, I decided that "potatoes" was more interesting.

I went with "Would you like to have potatoes together?"

To be continued.

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