What's new

のだが not 逆接 or used at the end of a sentence?

Joined
Apr 12, 2016
Messages
4
(I've posted this question in some other forum, the reply I received so far is not complete, so I post here again)

I came across a long sentence in a story, which I have googled around and struggled for a couple of days. Here is what it reads:

この頃わかってきたのだが、旅人の中には用心のためか、こちらの挨拶に頷くぐらいしか、挨拶を返さないものが少なくない。

My rough translation would be:
At this time, you come to understand a fact that, in among the travelers, for the sake of precaution, they only return our greetings so much with a nod, and quite a few simply do not return greetings at all.

I’m not sure if I have got the idea right. But what haunting me most is the “が” in the first phrase この頃わかってきたのだが. What is “が” doing here for? There is no contradictory sense in the sentence. I mean, there is no need for “が” to function as a button to remind the readers that something contradictory is coming up.

Besides, I discovered that in some subjunctive sentences, they put a “が” at the end too, such as:もし私が鳥ならば、君のところへ飛んで行けるのだが. (If I were a bird, I would fly to you.)

There you go, “が” is haunting again.

Please enlighten me. Thank you.
 

mdchachi

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 6, 2003
Messages
2,514
Ratings
1 237
I can't explain it in grammatical terms but I think it's the typical Japanese habit of softening one's statement to add some uncertainty. Like "this is what I think but [I could be mistaken]." This avoids the unpleasantness of stark disagreements. Typically I don't think this changes the translation.

この頃わかってきたのだが、旅人の中には用心のためか、こちらの挨拶に頷くぐらいしか、挨拶を返さないものが少なくない。

Recently I realized that, among travelers, perhaps due to a sense of caution, that they don't respond to a greeting beyond a nod and there are quite a few who don't respond at all.
 
Last edited:

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Messages
14,833
Ratings
2 1,538
が or けど is not always adversative. It's used to introduce the main clause there.
e.g.
時間があるときでいいんだが、送ってくれないか。
時間があるときでいいんだけど、送ってくれない?

The subject of わかってきた is the writer/narrator "I", as mdchachi-san translated. こちら is also the same. This is not always plural "our side".
The structure is 旅人の中には「用心のためかこちらの挨拶に頷くぐらいしか、挨拶を返さないもの」が少なくない。.

As for が at the end pf a sentence in your second example, it's an adversative conjunction. The last half of the sentence, for instance, 私は鳥ではないから君のところへ飛んで行けない is omitted there.
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2016
Messages
4
Thank you both. Very helpful indeed.

After scouring other forums on related threads, I also found two clues: 1. When "だが" is used (at the end of the first clause followed by a comma) to introduce the next clause, it can mean "it's about.." or "when it comes to...". It does not necessarily mean "but" or "although". 2. When "のだが" is used at the end of a sentence, it can help adding a flavor of "regret" to the whole sentence.
 

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Messages
14,833
Ratings
2 1,538
As for the explanation #2, it's not always have a nuance of regret. For instance, が and けど don't have it in an inversion 明日駅まで送ってくれないか。時間があるときでいいんだが。 or answers in a dialogue 「明日駅まで送ってくれないか」「明日は結構忙しいんだけど」「いや、時間があるときでいいんだが」.

So, what is your new translation of the sentence?
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2016
Messages
4
The translation (of the sentence I had problem with in the biginning) would go much the same as mdchachi-San suggests except for the last part that Toritoribe-San brilliantly reminds me of the structure:
Recently I realized that, among the travelers, perhaps due to a sense of caution, quite a few only respond to my greeting with barely a nod.
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2016
Messages
4
Another translation:
Here is what I realized recently, among the travelers, perhaps due to a sense of caution, quite a few of them only respond to my greeting with barely a nod.
 

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Messages
14,833
Ratings
2 1,538
Yes, you got it right.:thumbsup: I would use more simply quite a few of the travelers only respond to,,, though.:)
 
Top