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Modifying nouns

Rinilex

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I'm sometimes confused as to which noun in a sentence is being modified when there's more than one.

Using these two sentences as an example:

純真無垢の少女の瞳から...

平和だった街の歴史は...

I automatically translate the 少女 as being 純真無垢, and the 街 as being かつて平和, but I see other people do it differently (瞳 and 歴史 being the nouns modified) and see I may be incorrect. Is there any concrete way to be able to tell? Would it be phrased differently depending on which noun is being modified?
 

Toritoribe

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I believe 純真無垢少女の瞳 is more common.

Both interpretations (yours and other people's) are equally possible in those examples. It depends on the context which one is correct, but the difference between the two interpretations is subtle in many cases, I think. (For instance, a girl who has innocent eys would be mostly innocent.)
The order of words can be one of the keys, though. For instance, 少女の純真無垢な瞳 only means "a girl's eyes are innocent", not "a girl is innocent". This order must be used in a context where the girl is not innocent, e.g., 一見反抗的なその少女の純粋無垢な瞳から、彼女の本心が垣間見えた.
 
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