Friday, August 24, 2012

Shunshoku Umegoyomi Vol. 1: The Young Husband

Fig. 1: 中に此ごろ家移か。
Now we enter the dwelling of interest:

Fig. 2: 萬たらはぬ新世帯。
Inside, at the moment, is it someone is moving in/out? (fig. 1) It is a new household, lacking in various aspects (fig. 2).
 「萬」 is the traditional form (旧字体) of 「万」, the character for "10,000." An archaic meaning for this was "various."

There's another classical verb conjugation to study here: first, we have 「たらは」, the imperfective form (未然形) of a "ha"-form yodan verb (自ハ四), 「足らふ」. It is in that form because it is followed by the negative verb 「ず」, which is itself in the attributive form (連体形), where it changes to 「ぬ」. The attributive form is necessary because it's followed by a noun, 「新世帯」 ("new household").

Fig. 3: 主は年頃十八九。
The husband's age was 18 or 19 (fig. 3). He didn't look like a person of low birth (fig. 4),but like someone who had probably met with misfortune in the past (fig. 5), and was mired in the hardships of poverty (fig. 7).
Fig. 4: 人品賤しからねども。
Fig. 5: 薄命なる人なりけん。
Now we get some more information about the husband. Note that Tamenaga assures the reader that the husband is not of "low birth" (賤し), a "ku" adjective. 「賤しから」 is that adjective in the imperfective form, followed by the negative verb 「ず」 in the realis form (已然形). After that is 「ども」, a conjunctive particle that indicates direct concession. Once again, the verb/adjective forms are determined by the types of words that directly follow them.

We can see the classical influence here as well. Tamenaga's reference to "low birth" may have originated from a statement in the Analects of Confucius (論語), seen in fig. 6.

The sentence is in Classical Chinese, but has annotation marks (kundoku) that allow the characters to be read in an order that makes grammatical sense in (classical) Japanese. This style of writing is known as kanbun, and was used for many official documents in pre-modern Japan.

Fig. 6: 貧與賤是人之所惡也
Note how hiragana is used for the furigana and katakana is used for the okurigana. There are no foreign words in kanbun to be written in katakana anyway, so scholars decided to distinguish between furigana and okurigana, which must be written next to one another in kanbun, through this convention.

When the kundoku rules are followed, the sentence is rendered as :


This transcribed form is known as kakikudashibun (書き下し文).

The translation is:
Poverty and low birth, these are the things that people hate (fig. 6) (Analects of Confucius).

Fig. 7: 貧苦にせまる

As he is the protagonist of Umegoyomi, this clarification of Tanjirou's societal status was considered necessary by Tamenaga. Although Tanjirou might be looked down upon for his poverty, he still had his pride.

The 「けん」 seen in fig. 5 is a sound-shifted version of 「けむ」, which is an auxiliary verb that indicates speculation about the past. It is in the predicative form (終止形), as it is at the end of a sentence. The preceding verb, 「なり」, is the copular auxiliary verb of classical Japanese (analogous to 「だ」 in modern Japanese) in the continuative form, as required by 「けむ」.

The verb 「せまる」, written with kanji as 「迫る」, means 「生活に困る」 ("to face problems in one's daily life") in this context.

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