Ep. 9 Commentary - Diego & Miki


Dialogue

ディエゴ:

盛り上がってるね。
もりあがってる ね。
Everyone seems to be having fun, huh?

ミキ:

じゃあミキの彼氏候補はどこだよ?
じゃあ ミキ の かれしこうほ は どこ だ よ?
Then where’s my new boyfriend?

ディエゴ:

彼氏欲しいの?
かれし ほしい の?
You want a boyfriend?

ミキ:

わかんない。
I don’t know.

ん~欲しいかも。
ん~ ほしい かも。
Hmm… Maybe.

ディエゴ:

今まで誰かと付き合ったことないよね?
いままで だれか と つきあった こと ない よ ね?
You’ve never gone out with anyone before, have you?

ミキ:

あるよ。
Yes I have.

ディエゴ:

え?いつ?
Huh? When?

ミキ:

大学のときとか。
だいがく の とき とか。
Like in college.

ディエゴ:

誰?
だれ?
Who?

ミキ:

ディエゴの知らない人だよ。
ディエゴ の しらない ひと だ よ。
You don’t know him.

ディエゴ:

大学のとき俺らはずっと遊んでたじゃん。
だいがく の とき おれら は ずっと あそんでた じゃん。
We were always hanging out in college.

彼氏がいたなら知ってるはずだよ。
かれし が いた なら しってる はず だ よ。
If you’d had a boyfriend, I think I’d know.

ミキ:

本当にいたってば!
ほんとう に いた ってば!
I really had one!

もう!
Whatever.

ディエゴ:

はいはい、分かりましたよ。
はいはい、わかりましたよ。
OK, OK. I believe you.


Commentary Transcript

If you haven’t already noticed, Diego, Miki, and Kanako are all three really close friends, and it shows in their speech with one another, which is extremely casual. This conversation, in particular, borders on rude in a few places, which I’ll point out when necessary.

Let’s look at the first line…

ディエゴ:

盛り上がってるね。
もりあがってる ね。
Everyone seems to be having fun, huh?

Last year, I had a job translating 3000 commonly used Japanese phrases into English, and 盛り上がってるね was one of them. I translated the whole thing to “Everyone seems to be having fun, huh?” but the literal translation would be something like “Everyone is lively.” That sounds unnatural to me, though.

The word 盛り上がる means “to swell” or “to rise,” but I tend to always hear it used when referring to people having a good time at a party, sporting event, etc.

ミキ:

じゃあミキの彼氏候補はどこだよ?
じゃあ ミキ の かれしこうほ は どこ だ よ?
Then where’s my new boyfriend?

  • Then
  • Miki’s
  • Boyfriend candidate
  • [topic]
  • Where
  • Is
  • [assertion]

So I translated this whole sentence to “Then where’s my new boyfriend?” But as you can see, the direct translation is something like, “Then where’s my boyfriend candidate.” The reason that we have this super strange direct translation is the word 候補(こうほ), which means “candidate” or “nominee.” This is one of those words that I leared in the early stages of my Japanese studies, but I didn’t really have any clue how to use it until I reached a much higher level. I suppose this is becaues I learned it in terms of the English, in which we have pretty limited uses of the words “candidate” and “nominee.”

We can use this word the same way that we use “candidate” or “nominee” in English. For example, if I said 市長候補(しちょうこうほ), it would mean “candidate for mayor” or “mayor candidate.” 市長(しちょう) is “mayor” (literally, “city” “chief”). And adding 候補, “candidate” to the end of it, makes it “candidate for mayor.”

That all seems pretty simple… maybe… I hope. But the usage of 候補 is so much more versatile than the usage of “candidate.” A great example is right here, in this dialog, as Miki is saying 彼氏候補(かれしこうほ) “boyfriend candidate.”

Honestly, I’m not sure why I ever had problems with this word, because it’s really easy to use. There are two ways we can make a “candidate formation:”

  • Noun + 候補
  • Noun + の + 候補

The easiest examples for these are using people. 彼氏(かれし) is boyfriend. 市長(しちょう) is mayor. 大統領(だいとうりょう) is president. And these are all nouns. So we could just add 候補 to them:

  • 市長候補 = candidate for mayor / mayor nominee
  • 彼氏候補 = candidate for boyfriend
  • 大統領候補 = candidate for president

It's also OK to stick の between the noun and 候補, but in my experience, this is not as common when talking about people:

  • 市長の候補 = candidate for mayor / mayor nominee
  • 彼氏の候補 = candidate for boyfriend (yeah, that sounds strange)
  • 大統領の候補 = candidate for president

This gets just a little bit trickier, though, when we’re not talking about people. For example, if I’m looking for a new apartment, and I find a place that I’m thinking about moving to, I could call it a 引越し先候補(ひっこしさきこうほ), a “moving destination candidate.” Wow, that sounds natural. So when you move 引越し[する], the place you move to is called 引越し先(ひっこしさき), but we can just call it “(my) new place.” Then we add 候補 to it, and it’s “my candidate for new place.” In other words, “the place I’m thinking about moving to.”

For just one more example, let’s look at 明日(あした)着(き)る服(ふく), “the clothes I’m going to wear tomorrow.” Literally, “tomorrow / wear / clothes.” I could put 候補 onto the end of this, and the direct translation would be “tomorrow / wear / clothes / candidate.” But in English we’d just say something like “the clothes I’m thinking about wearing tomorrow.” There are so many examples like this, and I think that’s why it took me such a long time to get a feel for Noun + 候補. I’m still working on it, honestly. But yeah, it seems like every time I heard the word 候補, I’m thinking “Wow, you can use it like that, too!” So maybe try to keep your ears open for some interesting uses of this quite common word in Japanese.

One more time, we have Miki saying:

ミキ:

じゃあミキの彼氏候補はどこだよ?
じゃあ ミキ の かれしこうほ は どこ だ よ?
Then where’s my new boyfriend?

There’s still one more thing about this sentence that I want to talk about, which is this use of だよ? at the end of a question. In all honesy, you should probably avoid using this construction, because it can be very rude if you’re not careful. If Miki were being a bit more polite, she might have told Diego, じゃあミキの彼氏候補はどこなの? This would still sound sarcastic and not necessarily “nice,” per se. However, it’s softer than ending her question with だよ? Because when we end question with だよ! It’s kind of like you’re ordering the person to answer you. So when Miki says 【じゃあミキの彼氏候補はどこだよ】, it’s kind of like saying, “Then (I command you to tell me:) where’s my new boyfriend?” But that would sound really strange in English, because we’d probably use word stress and tone to communicate our feeling. Anyways, sticking だよ onto the end of your question is going to make it sound like you’re ordering the person to answer you.

Diego, not at all phased by Miki’s random, maybe even a bit rude question, asks…

ディエゴ:

彼氏欲しいの?
かれし ほしい の?
You want a boyfriend?

  • Boyfriend
  • Desired
  • [genuine question]

I translated this to "You want a boyfriend?”

We’ve seen the auxiliary adjective 〜たい already, which means “I want to [verb].” For example, 食べたい, “I want to eat,” 行きたい, “I want to go,” したい, “I want to do.” But we only use that for “(I) want [to (verb)].” If we want to say “want (something),” (in other words, “want + [noun],” then we’re going to use:

[noun] + 欲しい

So, 彼氏欲しいの? Means “You want a boyfriend?” Or I could say お金(かね)欲(ほ)しい!, which means “I want money!”

I could give a lot more examples of using nouns and 欲しい, but instead, I’ll present a different, totally awesome usage of 欲しい, which is “I want you to [verb]:” te-form of verb + 欲しい

So for example…

  • “I want you to eat (it)” would be… 食べて欲しい
  • “I want you to go” would be… 行って欲しい
  • “I don’t want you to go” would be… 行かないで欲しい

If all that sounds confusing, don’t worry about it. I’m sure we’ll see 〜て欲しい at some point in Toby’s story.

Anyways, moving on…

ミキ:

わかんない。
I don’t know.

ん~欲しいかも。
ん~ ほしい かも。
Hmm… Maybe.

  • I don’t know
  • Hmm…
  • Maybe

わかんない is a super casual form of 分からない, which is the negative, plain form of 分かる, which means “to understand.” In other words, it means “(I) don’t understand.” It’s pretty casual, so I would only use it in informal situation, but other than that feel free to use it whenever.

Next Miki says ん〜欲しいかも. I translated this to “Hmm… maybe.” But really it means “Hmm… Maybe I do want (a boyfriend).” かも is an abbreviation of かもしれない, which is an incredibly useful construction for saying “maybe (something something) in Japanese. To make a “maybe” construction, we can just stick 〜かも知れない to the end of just about anything in Japanese.

For example, we can stick it onto i-adjectives:

  • 欲(ほ)しいかもしれない / “Maybe (I) want (it).”
  • 美味(おい)しいかもしれない / “Maybe (it’s) good.” Or “Maybe (it’s) delicious.”
  • 高(たか)いかもしれない / “Maybe (it’s) expensive.”

We can also stick it onto nouns and na-adjectives, no problem:

  • 先生(せんせい)かもしれない / “Maybe (he’s) a teacher.”
  • 大変(たいへん)かもしれない / “Maybe (it’s) difficult.” / “Maybe (it’s) tough.”
  • 犬(いぬ)かもしれない / “Maybe (it’s) a dog.”

We can also stick it onto verbs, be the positive or negative (as long as they’re in the plain form):

  • 食べるかもしれない
  • 食べないかもしれない
  • 行くかもしれない
  • 行かないかもしれない

And when we’re feeling super lazy and casual, we can lose the 〜しれない and just say 〜かも. 食べるかも, “Maybe (I’ll) eat (it).”

Diego responds with a very dangerous question:

ディエゴ:

今まで誰かと付き合ったことないよね?
いままで だれか と つきあった こと ない よ ね?
You’ve never gone out with anyone before, have you?

  • Now
  • Until
  • Someone
  • With
  • Dated
  • Thing
  • Don’t have
  • [assertion]
  • [you feel me]

I translated this whole thing as “You’ve never gone out with anyone before, have you?” Let’s look at why.

今まで is “now” plus “until.” So we can put those together as “until now.” And in the translation it becomes “before.”

誰かと is “someone” 誰か plus と, which in this case means “with.” So together it means “with someone,” and in the full translation we made it into “with anyone.”

Now for the tricky party. We have 付き合ったことない. The verb 付き合う is pretty difficult to define in English. 付く means “to stick to” and 合う means “to fit,” and when we put them together it means “to stick to and fit with” something? Haha. I don’t know. But technically it means something like “hang around.” To “hang out with someone” often or regularly. That’s why, in English, I translated it to “go out with,” which is similarly vague and laced with possible means. I could have also translated it to just “had a boyfriend,” but that seems like a different nuance to me.

Next we have the construction 〜たことない. We can take the plain past forms of verbs, then stick こと(が)ある to them, and it means “have verb[ed] before.” So if I wanted to say “I have been to London,” then I would say:

ロンドンに行ったこと(が)ある

Or, if I wanted to say that “I’ve never been to London,” then I would say:

ロンドンに行ったこと(が)ない

In the example from the dialogue, we have 誰かと付き合う, “to go out with someone.” If we put that into the plain past tense, it becomes 誰かと付き合った, “went out with someone.” Then we can add ことがある or ことがない to the end of it to get:

誰かと付き合ったこと(が)ある / “Have gone out with someone before”

誰かと付き合ったこと(が)ない / “Haven’t gone out with someone before”

In the dialogue, Diego, being casual with Miki, drops the particle, saying: 今(いま)まで誰(だれ)かと付(つ)き合(あ)ったことない, “You haven’t gone out with anymore before.” Then at the end he adds よね, which directly might mean [assertion] and [you feel me], but in normal English just “have you?” or “right?” And that’s how we came to the full translation:

“You’ve never gone out with anyone before, have you?”

Miki responds with:

ミキ:

あるよ。
Yes I have.

  • Have
  • [assertion]

This might seem like the simplest sentence in this whole dialogue. It’s just “have” plus the assertion particle よ. Actually, this is the one line from this dialogue that I’ve been looking forward to explaining the most.

So I hired professional voice actors to do all of the voices for the Toby story, which is pretty obvious, because I could never make such natural voices. I was really happy with the voice actors work, as most of their recordings were pretty much perfect on the very first take. However, this is one fo the very few lines that I had to request a retake for.

Here is the first recording that I got for Miki’s voice actress: [insert aru yo]. Then I asked for a retake, and this is the recording I got [insert aru yo 2]. Can you tell the difference?

In the first recording, the stress is on よ [insert 1], but in the second one, the stress is on the あ of ある [insert 2]. That small difference completely changes the meaning of these two lines.

Japanese people will always tell you that Japanese has no stresses, that it’s totally flat. I don’t understand why people always say that, because I think that it’s anything but flat. Proper intonation and rhythm is crucial in order to communicate the proper meaning in Japanese, and intonation is, at least in my brain, the same thing as stressing very particular parts of sentences.

In the example here, if Miki stresses the よ, then she is stressing the “assertion particle,” right? And we use the “assertion particle,” sometimes, in order to make it clear that we are presenting the listener with new information. So, by stressing that part of the sentence, Miki is sounds like she is saying “No really, I have had a boyfriend before.” It sounds like she’s genuinely of the belief that she’s presenting Diego with new information.

If, however, she puts the stress on ある, then it sounds like she’s saying “Yes, I have had a boyfriend.” The stress is not that she’s providing new information. The stress I that she has, in fact, had a boyfriend. And this point is not up for debate.

Last but not least, in the first, friendlier example, notice that Miki draws out the sound of that よ at the end. This sounds super feminine in Japanese. Actually, if you’re a guy, the safest things is probably just to never draw out the sound of a sentence-ending particle ever, as you run a huge risk of sounding feminine unless you already have a really solid mastery of Japanese intonation and pronunciation.

With that, let’s check out the shadow track, which alternates between Miki’s friendly, genuine [あるよ1] “No really, I’ve had a boyfriend before” and her angry, impatient [あるよ2] “Yes I have had a boyfriend. Jerk:”

[insert shadow track]

Diego responds with…

ディエゴ:

え?いつ?
Huh? When?

  • Huh?
  • When?

This is about as straightforward as it gets. Huh? When?

Then Miki says…

ミキ:

大学のときとか。
だいがく の とき とか。
Like in college.

  • College
  • Time
  • And stuff

The only thing here that we haven’t seen before is とか. Usually this gets translated (at least, in dictionaries), to “such as…” or “and such…” The general idea is that I’m saying and (which is expressed by と), but I’m also saying that this is not the only thing, it’s just an example.

So when Miki says 大学のときとか, the general nuance of her sentence is “For example, I had one or more boyfriends in college, although that’s not necessarily the only time that I’ve had a boyfriend.” In more natural English, we might say, “In college, for example.” The translation that I chose for the dialogue was “Like in college.”

とか is super useful in Japanese. Luckily, we’re pretty much guaranteed to see it a lot of times, so you can just pick it up naturally over time.

Next Diego says…

ディエゴ:

誰?
だれ?
Who?

誰 means “who,” so I used my awesome translation skills and translated this to “Who?”

Miki comes back with:

ミキ:

ディエゴの知らない人だよ。
ディエゴ の しらない ひと だ よ。
You don’t know him.

  • Diego
  • Does not know
  • Person
  • Is
  • [assertion]

I translated this full thing as “You don’t know him.”

This sentence is fairly straightforward, but I want to point out the reason that we use の here. It’s almost like a direct translation of this would be “(My ex-boyfriend) is one of the (many) people (in the world) that Diego does not know.” Or it would be kind of like saying “It’s one of the people you don’t know.” All of that sounds really weird in English, though. So instead, we can say “You don’t know him.”

I should confess that this is one of the sentences that my editor changed. I originally put ディエゴが知らない人だよ, then I was told that が was unnatural, and it should say の知らない人. I then grilled this native Japanese speaker, demanding for an explanation… which was… difficult. In the end, here’s the understanding that I have. The focus of this sentence is 知らない人, “unknown person.” However, if we say ディエゴが, then Diego becomes the focus of this sentence, almost like が is placing a big arrow that’s pointing at his name. But that doesn’t work, because ディエゴ cannot be the focus of this sentence, which is always going to be 知らない人. Or something like that. I’m not sure I totally undestand it, honestly. But we don’t say ディエゴが知らない人, but instead, ディエゴの知らない人. Weird…

Diego responds to this by saying…

ディエゴ:

大学のとき俺らはずっと遊んでたじゃん。
いがく の とき おれら は ずっと あそんでた じゃん。
We were always hanging out in college.

  • In college
  • We
  • Always
  • Were playing
  • Right?

And we can translate that to “We were always hanging out in college.”

We’ve already seen most of the elements of this sentence. Here are some quick notes on the new bits, though.

俺ら just means “we.” Diego is adding ら to 俺, and by doing so, he changes “I” to “we.” It’s pretty much the same thing as saying 俺たち.

I've seen about a million translations of the word ずっと, ranging from “long ago,” to “always,” to “all the time,” to “straight” to “throughout.” Uh, yeah, I’ll stop there. Long story short, ずっと has a lot of uses, and it will take a long time to get a full mastery of them. But it’s such a common word that this will happen faster than you think. One helpful thing might be to imagine ずっと as a long, continuous line. There are no breaks in ずっと, which is why is sometimes is translated to “all the time,” and it’s usually a long, straight line, which is why it’s sometimes translated to “a long time,” or even just “straight.”

Here, Diego says ずっと遊んでた, which I translated to “(We) were always hanging out…” Japanese people use the word 遊ぶ “to play,” a bit more liberally than we do in English. It’s not something that only children do. You could call going out with friends or playing sports with friends 遊ぶ, and you could also call “playing” 遊ぶin a sexual sense… but that’s a topic for another lesson. When Diego says it here, he just means that they were hanging out in college all the time.

Then he continues that into his next sentence…

ディエゴ:

大学のとき俺らはずっと遊んでたじゃん。
だいがく の とき おれら は ずっと あそんでた じゃん。
We were always hanging out in college.

彼氏がいたなら知ってるはずだよ。
かれし が いた なら しってる はず だ よ。
If you’d had a boyfriend, I think I’d know.

  • Boyfriend
  • Was
  • If
  • Am knowing
  • Should
  • Is

So I translated this sentence to “If you had a boyfriend, I think I’d know.”

Actually, this is sentence has some tricky stuff happening in it. I’ll explain a little bit, but I won’t get into any great depth here, because this is stuff that we’ll have lots of chances to look at later.

First let’s look at the phrase 彼氏がいた. いる means “to be,” (for living things), and the past tense is いた, so really this is like saying “boyfriend existed” or “boyfriend was,” but the common translation in this situation would be “had a boyfriend.” Then at the end of it, we had なら.

The lazy way to explain なら is to tell you that it means “if,” and that’s why this phrase is translated to “if you had a boyfriend.” The more complicated explanation would involve telling you that there are a lot of different ways to make conditional (i.e. “if”) statements in Japanese, and this is only one of them. I don’t really have the time to explain the other versions in this video, but luckily we’ll have lots of chances to look at them later.

For now, let’s just memorize なら as meaning “if (it is the case that).” In my experience, we can almost always apply this translation to なら. Eventually, I’ll look into explaining the tricky details of this in the Bunkai Beast Grammar Guide, but for now, yeah, let’s just memorize plain form verb, but なら equals: “If it is the case that [verb].” Here our direct translation would be “if (it is the case that) you had a boyfriend” or “if (it were true that) you had a boyfriend.”

Then after that Diego says 知ってるはずだよ. I don’t really know what I was doing introducing two complicated grammar constructions like なら and はず at the same time, so I’m sorry for the short explanations. For the most part, it’s okay to think of はずだ as “should.” However, saying just “should” in English can be a bit misleading, because we use should in a few different ways.

はずだ means “should” in the way that we say something “should be a certain way.” This is different than, for example, saying that someone “should do something,” which is talking about a future act and requires different grammar in Japanese. That probably sounds really confusing, so I’ll give you one trick for remembering はず: usually it’s okay to translate it as “should (already)” or “should (be the case that).”

For example, in the dialogue, Diego says 知っているはずだ. I translated this to “I think I’d know,” but I could have also translated it (perhaps more directly), as “I should already know about it.”

This is kind of a lame example, but I was watching an anime once (I forget what it was now), and one of the characters kept asking what was going on when one of their friends was very obviously dead. Eventually one of his companions said 分かっているはずだ, saying 分かっている means “to be understanding,” or, more naturally “to understand.” And はずだ is “should (already)” or “should (be the case that),” so translated altogether this is something like “You should already understand.” Or “I shouldn’t have to tell you.”

It is not talking about a future verb, it is talking about a current state that should be a certain way. With that in mind, here’s Diego’s full sentence one more time: [彼氏(かれし)がいたなら知(し)ってるはずだよ]. “If you’d had a boyfriend, I think I’d know.”

I feel like I went through that line pretty fast. Sorry if it was a bit confusing. I guarantee that we’ll see that grammar again in the future, though. So don’t worry if it all seems a bit confusing still.

Anyways, Miki is getting really impatient with Diego now, and she says:

ミキ:

本当にいたってば!
ほんとう に いた ってば!
I really had one!

もう!
Whatever.

  • Truly
  • Was
  • I’m telling you!

I translated this to “I really had one!”

The thing that I want to point out here is the very last word: いたってば! We have already seen って at the end of phrases before, where it acts like a kind of quotation mark, right? I believe the first time we saw this grammar was when Miki met Diego and Toby at the station, and she told them that their friends were already at the restaurant, saying: [もうお店だって]. In this example, Miki says [本当(ほんとう)にいたってば!] The って here is Miki quoting herself:いた, “was,” which is referring to her boyfriend. By adding ば to the end of って it means something like “I have already told you this before, but I’m telling you again.” So perhaps I could have translated the whole phrase as “I’m telling you, I had a boyfriend.”

If any of you have ever seen Naruto, you’ll now that his catch phrase is だってばよ. Now, aside from the fact that you should pretty much never copy anything that Naruto says ever, this is (at least in my opinion) a play on the phrase (something something) ってば. That’s why sometimes in English it gets translated to something really lame like “Believe it!” I don’t know.

Long story short, if you’ve already told someone something, but then later they say or act in such a way that makes it seem like you didn’t say that to them, you can repeat what you said and then add ってば to the (plain form of the) verb or adjective or whatever at the end of the sentence.

行ったってば / “I’m telling you, I went!”

行かないってば / “I’m telling you, I’m not going!”

美味しいってば / “I’m telling you, it’s delicious!”

Then at the end, to further elucidate her frustration, Miki says [もう!] This really means “Already!” But I translated it to “Whatever.” Looking at it now, maybe I should have translated it to “Forget it!” Feel free to just say もう when you’ve had it, and you’re ready to just forget it and say whatever. You might sound a bit childish, though. And at the very least, pretty fed up.

That’s why Diego responds at last with…

ディエゴ:

はいはい、分かりましたよ。
はいはい、わかりましたよ。
OK, OK. I believe you.

  • Yes yes
  • Understood
  • [assertion]

Saying はい two times like this is kind of patronizing, and I’ve heard parents tell their children stuff like ハイは一回(いっかい), literally “Yes one time.” In other words, they tell them “Just say はいonce.” It would kind of be like telling a kid to “Lose that tone.” Or something like that.

Speaking of tones, you have to be really careful with your はい and your はいはい and your はいは~い. This sort of “complaining-style” はいはい will have the second はい at a higher intonation, and it will stop short. はいはい. This is much different than the friendly はいは~い that Diego gave when they were meeting at the station early, where the second は gets drawn out into a は~ and the い sort of trails off into nothingness: はいは~い.

Listening to me explain might not be of much help, though. So instead, you can just practice by listening to this shadow looping track six hundred times: [insert shadow track].

Wow. That was a lot of notes. But we made it to the end! Nice! See you in the next video.

Discussion

0 comments