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Intermediate Japanese Language Learning with Dazai Osamu

Complimentary Japanese Reading Lessons From Maplopo Schoolhouse

Season ONE—水仙 (Page TWENTY ONE)


EP.21 Spotlight: てしまう, Dazai Osamu (太宰治), Daffodil (水仙)

Video file / Podcast Episode / Online Intermediate Japanese Course

てしまう, EP.21 Transcript | Intermediate and Advanced Japanese

[Soft Piano Music Playing]

Let’s stick with the fifth paragraph for now and take a look at this supporting verb てしまう.

Here’s the sentence:

(Speaking Japanese—1st Reading)

(Speaking Japanese—2nd Reading)

“We were entirely beaten down by the great passion and righteous sense of the senior.” Let’s pull apart the meaning of this a little bit. Now, it’s a supporting verb, right? So we’ve learned a few of these previously: ていく, てあげる, てくれる. These are all supporting verbs this 補助動詞.

And they enhance the meaning of the previous verb, right? The preceding verb. So, that’s what we see happening here in this sentence as well. But, the meaning of てしまう is to “completely finish something” or “to be done with it”. “To be over” … “reaching the end,” right? That kind of like “final straw.” Almost. So it emphasizes having completed something, right?

You’ll often see this in conjunction with, uh, adverbs like “utterly,” or, “extremely” … “completely” … “truly.” Sometimes it implies that you’re now in a troublesome situation, or, you’re going to be in a troublesome situation. Some sort of state of inconvenience, right? That’s the implication here. Often with this with this word and so it might leave you in a state of awkwardness—you’ve got (we’ve got) a situation here, right?

If you remember Jaws—if you’ve ever seen the Jaws movie— there’s this very famous line in there, right? And Richard Dreyfuss says “I think we’re gonna need a bigger boat.” That’s a very troublesome situation they’re realizing themselves to be in, right? So, that is not… (it) doesn’t have to do with the meaning of this word, but it’s kind of a little example of being in a really difficult situation, right? Now, example time.

Here we go:

(Speaking Japanese—1st Reading)

(Speaking Japanese—2nd Reading)

“The computer I bought 15 years ago is completely busted.”

(Speaking Japanese—1st Reading)

(Speaking Japanese—2nd Reading)

“I started working at five in the morning and I’m utterly exhausted.”

(Speaking Japanese—1st Reading)

(Speaking Japanese—2nd Reading)

So a parent might say this, right? To a child. If you’re maybe you would say to your husband I don’t know or your wife that would be funny… “If you’re constantly naughty, Santa will end up not liking you so yeah don’t be like on Santa’s naughty list.”

Watch “Elf” if you haven’t seen it recently it’s a great movie. And, just to draw your attention to the conjugation here… so, (the) first two examples are conjugated in past tense, right? And, the last one (because it’s still present tense) is with this little particle at the end, よ, which we use to address someone.

So, without the よ it would be as if you were talking to yourself. But, the parent in this example is talking to a child, so that’s why よ  is used. So, the idea behind a lot of these spotlights is to highlight the nuance that’s happening in these sentences right in the first sentence the emotion that we are using in English is kind of captured by the use of the word “busted,” right?

If we didn’t use busted which kind of implies this: “Oh, no!” it’s absolutely dead, right? It’s not working anymore. If we didn’t use busted, and we’re a bit more clinical in our usage we might just simply say, uh: “The computer I bought 15 years ago is broken.”

It’s like you don’t care really, right? So, that’s what this word lends to the sentence in Japanese and the use of the word busted would kind of give us that same feeling in English, right?

In the next sentence what we’re feeling is this idea of having reached the lowest point of exhaustion—just so so darn tired, right? That’s what you get there.

And then in the last sentence another kind of, “Oh, no!” —Where the mother… or, where the wife… is saying: “You will be inconvenienced, because Santa will have reached his low, and you’re not going to get the things that you want, right?

So, more emotion… more disappointment. It’s not just a very kind of clinical “this is going to happen and you’re going to feel this” sort of thing.

Or: “That happened and this is the way you’re going to feel…”


[Soft Piano Music Playing]

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