What's new

~た方を ...um, what?

Joined
Dec 20, 2014
Messages
37
Ratings
1
Hello, forum people! I was reading this adorable Japanese fairy tail when I came across this beauty.

「最初に朝日を見た方を十二支に加えよう。」

Okaaaaaay, here's what I know so far. ~た方 is like for comparisons in regards to verbs. Example time!

待った方がいいじゃんか?- Wouldn't it be better to wait?
一緒に働いた方が早いと思うんだ。 - I think it would be quicker to work together.

Then today I get 方 used with を AND a verb after it. So....let me see if I can answer my own question, then if someone would give me the okay or tell me to do more thinking, that'd be wonderful. Anyway...

The grammar for 方 comes from the idea of "method" or "alternative". Obviously, it loses the the literal meaning in a phrase like ~た方がいい, but if you break it down, it's like: "if [verb] is done, it would be a better alternative". So, in a sense, using 方 with a verb would mean the sentence is translated to: "The first one to see the morning sun will be added to the zodiac."

My reasoning for this is because I'm thinking the verb 加えよう (shall be added) is describing a "method" that would get the person to be added to the zodiac. Essentially, it's saying, "If you are the first one to see the morning sun, the method then is to add you to the zodiac." A cause and effect sort of thing.

Thoughts?
 
Joined
Oct 12, 2013
Messages
1,507
Ratings
293
While your translation is OK, I don't think you are using the right definition for 方. I think a dictionary will give you a better, more plausible option for 方 than "method" or "alternative", although in this case alternative is not too far off the mark since the speaker is talking about making a choice between two possible alternatives.
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
16,454
Ratings
1,568
Come to think of it, I think かた and ほう are both plausible here, especially absent any other context.

But it definitely isn't the "method" meaning.
 

jt_

人生絶賛迷走中
Joined
Oct 12, 2004
Messages
410
Ratings
35
Googling the phrase in question turned up the full source here:
モンゴルの十二支話 モンゴルの民話 <福娘童話集 お話しきかせてね きょうの世界昔話>

Since the context is a showdown between the final two animals competing to be included in the 十二支, this is almost certainly ほう, with the following meaning:
二つ以上あるもののうちの一つをとりあげてさす語。「黒い―が好きだ」「もっと味を濃くした―がいい」「こちらの―が悪かった」
ほう【方】の意味 - 国語辞書 - goo辞書

(edit/added)
As you can see from the definition above, this is essentially the same construction as (verb)-ほうがいい. This is a good example of a case where Japanese grammatical constructions are, in actual use by native speakers, considerably more flexible than the fixed expressions you learn in a textbook. As you get exposed to something like 方 in more and more contexts, you'll gradually get to the point where it doesn't feel like something different or confusing at all, but just an extension of what you already know.
 
Last edited:

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Messages
14,837
Ratings
2 1,539
ほう【方】
4 〔比べられる物の一方〕a side; a part
その小さい方をください
Give me the smaller one.
私の方の手落ちでした
The fault was mine.
彼の方に不服はなかった
There was no dissatisfaction on his part.
私たちは皆彼の方についた
All of us sided with him.
生活は今の方が前より楽だ
I am better off than I used to be.
ほう【方】の英語・英訳 - 和英辞書 - 英語辞書 - goo辞書

待った方がいい
Comparing with the two options, "to wait" and "not to wait", "to wait" is better.

一緒に働いた方が早い
Comparing with the two options, "to work together" and "to work separately/individually", "to work together" is quicker.

最初に朝日を見た方 refers to one of the two animals(= a side/alternative), so these are all the same structure, as pointed out.

When 方 is attached to an adjective or the past form of a verb as in the examples, it never means "method/way". When 方 is attached to the dictionary form of a verb, it can mean "method/way", but this usage is rare. 方 as "method/way" is attached to the -masu stem of verbs in most cases.
e.g.
彼を助ける方[ほう]がわからない。(助ける方法がわからない is more common.)
彼の助け方[かた]がわからない。
I don't know how to help/rescue him.
 
Joined
Dec 20, 2014
Messages
37
Ratings
1
Holy.... I didn't expect to get so much help! Thanks, everyone! I will try to respond to each of you as best as I can.

In this case 方 (かた) is a polite substitute for 人 (ひと).
That is distinctly possible. In which case, that would make my translation: "The first person to see the morning sun shall be added to the zodiac", no?

While your translation is OK, I don't think you are using the right definition for 方. I think a dictionary will give you a better, more plausible option for 方 than "method" or "alternative", although in this case alternative is not too far off the mark since the speaker is talking about making a choice between two possible alternatives.
The only reason I mentioned "method" or "alternative" was because that's how the idea of ~た方 was explained to me. Even though it is translated as "would be" or something, one can think of it like "this method is ~" or "this alternative is ~" to explain where the 方 came from. Of course, it's not literal. ^3^

Come to think of it, I think かた and ほう are both plausible here, especially absent any other context.

But it definitely isn't the "method" meaning.
Apologies for not adding the full context. I didn't want to crowd my post by pasting the whole story or anything. o.o Anyway, jt_ found the correct source for it, so you can see the full story for yourself, if that will help any.

Googling the phrase in question turned up the full source here:
モンゴルの十二支話 モンゴルの民話 <福娘童話集 お話しきかせてね きょうの世界昔話>

Since the context is a showdown between the final two animals competing to be included in the 十二支, this is almost certainly ほう, with the following meaning:
二つ以上あるもののうちの一つをとりあげてさす語。「黒い―が好きだ」「もっと味を濃くした―がいい」「こちらの―が悪かった」
ほう【方】の意味 - 国語辞書 - goo辞書

(edit/added)
As you can see from the definition above, this is essentially the same construction as (verb)-ほうがいい. This is a good example of a case where Japanese grammatical constructions are, in actual use by native speakers, considerably more flexible than the fixed expressions you learn in a textbook. As you get exposed to something like 方 in more and more contexts, you'll gradually get to the point where it doesn't feel like something different or confusing at all, but just an extension of what you already know.
See...I understand it fine when it's used with adjectives, but I just can't seem to get it when its used with verbs, hehe. I agree, eventually it'll become second nature, but as of now, I'm really not sure what to think of it. o_O

ほう【方】の英語・英訳 - 和英辞書 - 英語辞書 - goo辞書

待った方がいい
Comparing with the two options, "to wait" and "not to wait", "to wait" is better.

一緒に働いた方が早い
Comparing with the two options, "to work together" and "to work separately/individually", "to work together" is quicker.

最初に朝日を見た方 refers to one of the two animals(= a side/alternative), so these are all the same structure, as pointed out.

When 方 is attached to an adjective or the past form of a verb as in the examples, it never means "method/way". When 方 is attached to the dictionary form of a verb, it can mean "method/way", but this usage is rare. 方 as "method/way" is attached to the -masu stem of verbs in most cases.
e.g.
彼を助ける方[ほう]がわからない。(助ける方法がわからない is more common.)
彼の助け方[かた]がわからない。
I don't know how to help/rescue him.
Hmmm, you way of breaking down the grammar seems straight forward. Let me try with the sentence now.

最初に朝日を見た方を十二支に加えよう
"to see the sun first" and "to not see the sun first", "to see the sun first" is added to the zodiac...? So, my translation would be correct? o_O

Also, like I explained to Majestic, I'm aware that 方 doesn't directly translate to "method" or "alternative" in this case. That was just how someone explained it to indicate why the 方 might be used in this grammar. I think I like your breakdown a lot more though! Haha!
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
16,454
Ratings
1,568
The "method" or "way of doing" applies only when it is used as a verb stem suffix.

食べ方
飲み方
書き方
読み方
やり方
座り方
歩き方

Etc etc
 

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Messages
14,837
Ratings
2 1,539
So, my translation would be correct?
As a result, yes, "The first one to see the morning sun will be added to the zodiac." is correct even though your understanding of 方 is not correct/accurate.

I'm aware that 方 doesn't directly translate to "method" or "alternative" in this case.
方 in 見た方 CAN'T mean "method" since the preceding verb is the past form, as I explained. This is a strict grammatical rule. 方 exactly means "二つ以上あるもののうちの一つをとりあげてさす語。" / "〔比べられる物の一方〕a side; a part" as in the dictionaries jt_-san and I quoted, thus, your interpretation "alternative" is not bad in this case, as pointed out.
DO NOT use dictionaries that provide only English translations of Japanese words. I strongly recommend using the ones that contain example sentences and/or explanations.

−かた【−方】
1 〔…の仕方〕
書き方を教える
teach ((a person))how to write
あの人の話し方はおかしい
His way [manner] of talking is awkward./He speaks awkwardly.
その時のあわて方と言ったらなかった
You should have seen 「how flurried he was at the time [how he panicked then].
かた【方】の英語・英訳 - 和英辞書 - 英語辞書 - goo辞書


かた【方】
[接尾]
動詞の連用形に付いて、方法・手段、また、ようす・ありさまなどの意を表す。「ひもの結び―」「車の混み―」
かた【方】の意味 - 国語辞書 - goo辞書
 
Joined
Dec 20, 2014
Messages
37
Ratings
1
I feel like there's some confusion here because you both are pointing out things I already know. o_O Where are you getting that I don't understand STEM+方 or that one cannot directly translate 方 to "method" via dictionary?

I'm apologize if I'm coming off as a know-it-all or anything. ^^; But I'm just really lost as to why you're pointing these things out... Not that I mind, of course! A good review is a good review. ^3^
 

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Messages
14,837
Ratings
2 1,539
Then, why did you mention the meaning "method" that CAN'T be the translation of 方 in the example in your initial post?
 
Joined
Dec 20, 2014
Messages
37
Ratings
1
I think you missed this part. ^^;

Obviously, it loses the the literal meaning in a phrase like ~た方がいい...
But, aye! I'm so sorry for not being clear on what I needed help with. I tend to be bad at explaining myself, even in my native language. o.o Anyway, all of you have been so kind as to offer help, so for that I thank you very much.

Just one more clarification... Why is ~た方を used here if you basically omit it in the translation? Does it have the same meaning if it was written as 最初に朝日を見る動物を十二支に加えよう? Basically, why did the author choose to write it like that? I feel like I'm missing something...
 

jt_

人生絶賛迷走中
Joined
Oct 12, 2004
Messages
410
Ratings
35
Just one more clarification... Why is ~た方を used here if you basically omit it in the translation? Does it have the same meaning if it was written as 最初に朝日を見る動物を十二支に加えよう? Basically, why did the author choose to write it like that? I feel like I'm missing something...
Because Japanese is its own language that exists independently of English or any other language into which it might be translated. When native speakers (of any language) express themselves, the question of how a particular grammatical/vocabulary distinction would manifest itself in other languages (if at all) quite literally does not even enter their mind.

When you as a native speaker of English subconsciously choose between saying "I'd be happy to" or "I'd love to", do you stop to consider that they'd likely both be translated as 喜んで in JP? No, you go with whatever feels right to you in that particular context/situation/moment.

The author chose to write it with ほう because it's a perfectly natural way to express the thought given the context (a competition between two animals). 動物 also appeared just a few sentences before that.

And yes, it would be equivalent to 最初に朝日を見た動物を十二支に加えよう。
(Note that you still want the perfect tense.)
 

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Messages
14,837
Ratings
2 1,539
I feel like there's some confusion here because you both are pointing out things I already know.
Your statement
The grammar for 方 comes from the idea of "method" or "alternative".
clearly shows that you didn't grasp the difference between ほう and かた.

My reasoning for this is because I'm thinking the verb 加えよう (shall be added) is describing a "method" that would get the person to be added to the zodiac. Essentially, it's saying, "If you are the first one to see the morning sun, the method then is to add you to the zodiac." A cause and effect sort of thing.
Just for confirmation, where this "method" is come from?
 
Joined
Dec 20, 2014
Messages
37
Ratings
1
Because Japanese is its own language that exists independently of English or any other language into which it might be translated. When native speakers (of any language) express themselves, the question of how a particular grammatical/vocabulary distinction would manifest itself in other languages (if at all) quite literally does not even enter their mind.

When you as a native speaker of English subconsciously choose between saying "I'd be happy to" or "I'd love to", do you stop to consider that they'd likely both be translated as 喜んで in JP? No, you go with whatever feels right to you in that particular context/situation/moment.
You bring up a good point. ^3^ I do like to double check whether or not something has the same meaning before I actually go out and use it for myself though. I found your English example relate-able since I get asked those sorts of questions all the time by ESL students. Thank you for the explanation! ^^

And yes, it would be equivalent to 最初に朝日を見た動物を十二支に加えよう。
(Note that you still want the perfect tense.)
Ack! Curse my grammatical abilities! Thanks for the correction there. :3

Just for confirmation, where this "method" is come from?
I think at that point I was trying to wrap my brain around so many ideas as to what it could mean that I started flat out guessing. ^^; Aye, like I said, I'm terrible at explaining myself. You are really amazing with making everything simple and straight forward. I always seem to run into people trying to make Japanese complicated. o.o I guess that's why my questions and explanations become a jumbled text of confusion, hehe....

Again, terribly sorry for any confusion! You were very helpful to me and I feel extremely thankful that you did so.
 

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Messages
14,837
Ratings
2 1,539
You are really amazing with making everything simple and straight forward.
I believe that is how native speakers interpret sentences in their mother tongues mostly unconsciously and shows the reason why to learn grammar is important. You can avoid being one of the people trying to make Japanese complicated.
 
Joined
Dec 20, 2014
Messages
37
Ratings
1
I believe that is how native speakers interpret sentences in their mother tongues mostly unconsciously and shows the reason why to learn grammar is important. You can avoid being one of the people trying to make Japanese complicated.
I couldn't agree more. That is why I will continue my studies to the best of my ability!
 
Top