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知りたくてなりません / につかなかった / だけ/に見えた

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Hi,

1. 「ご主人様、我々は知りたくてなりません・・・どうぞうお教えください」

I can't figure out the purpose of なりません. I thought it might be some kind of humble language, but I still don't see why it's negative.

2. 「そして母親は、自分でも知らずにこやつを、この俺様にも予想だにつかなかったやり方で護った」

What does につかなかった mean?

3. 「しかし、待つだけむだだった・・・・」

Does だけ create a meaning like "simply waiting was pointless [i.e. something more had to be done]"?

4. 「そして・・・四年前のことだ・・・俺様の蘇りが確実になったかに見えた」
「ああ、あの男こそ、俺様が夢にまで見た千載一遇の機会に見えた」

While I grasp the general meaning of these sentences, I seem to be having a blank moment with the grammar of に見えた. What is the subject of the verb? What is the purpose of に?
 

Toritoribe

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1)
~たくてならない is a set phrase, meaning "to be dying to~", as same as ~たくてたまらない / ~たくて耐えられない.

2)
~だに…ない means "never". This だに a bit classical particle, equivalent to すら or さえ.
e.g.
微動だにしない
never move even an inch

予想だにつかない (an emphasized form of 予想もつかない)
never expect

3)
It's an emphasized form of ~のが無駄. The nuance is more close to ~ば~だけ(the more~, the more...).

4)
The subject is the speaker. に indicates the state of the object. Note that those two examples have different structures.

「俺様の蘇りが確実になったか」に見えた
The speaker doesn't see/feel 蘇り directly. 蘇り and 確実になった doesn't refer to the same thing.

あの男こそ(=が)機会に見えた
あの男 is compared to 機会, thus, these two words refer to the same thing.

Confusingly, the subject is also indicated by に(mostly には), and が indicates the object since 見える works as a potential verb.
e.g.
俺にはあの男が機会に見えた。
俺: the subject
あの男: the object
機会: the state of the object, what/how the object was looked like
(The structure might be close to "That man seemed to me to be an opportunity".)
 
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Thanks Toritoribe. I remember (1) now. I'm sure I have asked about it before. (Particle use in (4) is a bit of a nightmare for me ...)

By the way, can I ask you a completely different question? Previously you have mentioned that Japanese translations of English books can sometimes be written in a kind of "translatese", but would you say that the grammar or structure of the English language has had any influence on the native writing of Japanese authors? I'm not asking about the use of English loanwords, but only about sentence/phrase structure and overall textual or narrative style.
 

Toritoribe

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Probably the answer is yes. Not only English but also other European languages influenced Modern Japanese, especially written Japanese. In Meiji period, writers strove to create new modern Japanese. One of the key figures at that time was Natsume Sōseki, who was an English teacher of Tokyo Imperial University and had experience studying in the UK, and another one was Mori Ōgai, who had experience of studying in Germany. In fact, I've read somewhere that a passive sentence whose subject is an inanimate things started to be used mostly in Meiji period.
 
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Thanks, that's interesting. Back on the topic of 見える, I'm wondering whether I have always misunderstood this verb. What is the subject of 見える in each of the following simple sentences?

それらの星は肉眼で見える。
この丘から市の全景がよく見える。
大人だけこの映画が見える。
 

Toritoribe

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The first and second sentences express a character/property of それらの星 and 市の全景. People in general, or even animals can see those things. In these cases, 見える is closer to an intransitive verb, i.e., それらの星 and 市の全景 are considered the subjects.
As for the last one or the two sentences from Harry Potter, 見える/見えた expresses the ability/situation of the subjects; 大人 and the speaker, respectively. For instance, people other than the speaker didn't see/feel that that man was an opportunity. In these cases, この映画 and あの男 are the objects, not the subjects.
Another interpretation of the first and second sentence; people in general is the subject, and それらの星 and 市の全景 are the objects, can't be said to be wrong, though.
 
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