564 - たる

For most of the Japanese grammar points that we look at in these JLPT lessons, I know exactly what I'm talking about.

That's why, with the help of native speakers like Rei, I can offer cool insights and tips regarding the way language is actually used in real life, problems with grammar-book explanations, and so on.

Not so with this lesson:


JLPT N1: たる

たる confuses me. Let's explore why together.

We'll start with an example:

経営者たるは、変化を恐れるべきではない。
けいえいしゃ たる もの は、 へんか を おそれる べきではない。
A business owner should not fear change.
Literally: “entrepreneur / business owner + たる + person + は, + change + を + fear + should not.”

So why is this sentence different than just saying:

経営者は、変化を恐れるべきではない。
けいえいしゃ は、 へんか を おそれる べきではない。
A business owner should not fear change.
Literally: “entrepreneur / business owner + は, + change + を + fear + should not.”

...?

Therein lies the problem: I don't know.

First, the version with たる is very formal, written language. I'd be surprised if you came across a sentence with たる more than a couple times during your first few years of studying Japanese.

Second, we have the nuance of the sentence, which is... tricky...

I have one grammar book that says たる means "has the job of" or "who is."

But changing our English translation to "One who is a business owner should not fear change" doesn't really help us understand the nuance of the Japanese any better.

Digging a bit deeper, that same grammar book says that, in sentences with たる, the NOUN coming before たる is highly evaluated by the speaker. So in our example above, the speaker thinks highly of business owners.

OK... not sure how to add that nuance to our English translation.

There are, however, sentences in which I can add this "high evaluation" nuance. Check out this one, for instance:

紳士たる、お年寄りに席を譲るのは当たり前のことだ。
しんし たる もの、 おとしより に せき を ゆずる の は あたりまえ の こと だ。
A true gentleman will always give up his seat for an elderly person.
Literally: “gentleman + たる + person, + elderly person + に + seat + を + give up / turn over + のは + natural / obvious + の + thing + だ.”

By adding the word "true," we get the sense that the speaker thinks highly of legitimate gentlemen... or at least believes that one must hold himself to a high standard to be considered a gentleman.

We can accomplish something similar by using the world "real" in the following example:

スーパーヒーローたる、人々を救うのに見返りを求めてはいけない。
スーパーヒーロー たる もの、 ひとびと を すくう の に みかえり を もとめてはいけない。
A real superhero should never expect a reward for saving people.
Literally: “superhero + たる + person, + people + を + save + のに + reward / compensation + を + must not request/wish for / should not request/wish for”

So that helps a bit with understanding the nuance of たる... I suppose...


👷 ボブとはたらくブーブーズ 👷

NOUNたるNOUN

It doesn't get much easier than that, yeah?

As you've probably noticed, in most cases the NOUN after たる is 者 (もの), which means "person."


Last one:


百獣のたるライオンを飼うには、それなりの覚悟が必要ですよ。
ひゃくじゅう の おう たる ライオン を かう には、 それなり の かくご が ひつよう です よ。
If you wish to own a lion, the king of the jungle, you need to prepare yourself accordingly.
Literally: “king of beasts (=all kinds of beasts + の + king) + たる + lion + を + own / have (an animal) + には, + accordingly / as suits that + の + preparedness / resolve + が + necessary + です + よ.”


The end!

Oh, by the way, ボブとはたらくブーブーズ is "Bob + with + work + vehicles." In English, that's "Bob the Builder," which I've never actually seen.

ブーブーズ means ブーブーたち. We saw the (childish) word ブーブー, "car" or "vehicle," back in this lesson: [NDL #418] - Japanese Baby-Talk.