This week I started a new textbook (which, by the way, apparently doesn’t have a single word of English in it – no translations of new vocabulary, no grammar explanations in English, nothing. Cool.):
and, on page two, I was reading an essay about the use of the word 猫 in different Japanese sayings. Apparently 猫の額 (a cat’s forehead) is a common point of reference for small things. Okay, fine. I’m following along all right until I hit the very next sentence:
I’ll be honest: this one really lost me. So, I’m going to break it down to see if I can make any sense out of it.
猫にも- so here we have the word for cat followed by にもwhich might mean also or just might add emphasis to the word
額の広い猫 – so…hm…yeah…wide forehead cat…or…cat with wide forehead…I think…
額 – forehead
の – shows possession or connection
広い – wide
猫 – cat
so, forehead of wide cat…a wide cat’s forehead…I’m really not liking this any better…
と – and
狭い猫 – narrow cat…? Really? Where are we going here? But that surely has to be narrow cat.
がいると思う – subject particle followed by exists for living things, followed by I think…
ので – indicates a cause or a reason for something…because…
So, the first part ends up being something like…I think because there are foreheads of wide cats and narrow cats…or…wide cat foreheads and narrow cat foreheads…
You know, I don’t think we’re off to a promising start here.
*sigh* Well, let’s keep going.
日本語の分かる猫に – well, I swear this looks like cat that understands Japanese…
聞かれたら- this is a conditional verb that either means something like if it hears or if asked
「失礼じゃないですか」- ah, a quote…isn’t that rude?…
と怒られてしまいそうです – it will get angry followed by an ending that means it seems or even it is likely…
Which leaves me with If this is heard by a cat that understands Japanese “that’s rude, isn’t it?” it is likely that it will get angry.
Which, rather unbelievably, leaves me with something like this:
I think, because there are cats with wide foreheads and cats with narrow foreheads, a cat which understands Japanese, if it hears this, will say “Isn’t that rude?” and is likely to get angry.
Now, when I first read this sentence, (and even when I started typing this post) I could not makes heads or tails of it (and that is not another 猫 reference) and I really didn’t know what I was going to come out with after I broke it down, so whoever is reading this just watched me go actually go through the process of trying to make sense out of a Japanese sentence.
And, since what I ended up with, makes at least grammatical sense in English, I’m going with it. Granted, that may not make it a sensible sentence. Still, there are more sentences waiting.
By the way, if anyone out there can make more sense of this crazy sentence, have at it!