2018年8月25日土曜日

sonna ni

Nihon wa atsui desu!! (It's hot in Japan.) Kyo mo Tokyo wa totemo atsui! (Today is another hot day in Tokyo.) Despite the heat I hope you're having a great summer.

I'm sorry for the radio silence. I haven't posted anything since June.
Today I’d like to discuss something that I sometimes notice when talking with foreigners.
  • It's so kind of you.
  • This is so good.
  • He is so kind.
  • It's so kind of you.
How would you phrase these English sentences in Japanese? Dictionaries say that the English “so” =  “sonna ni” or, conversely, that “sonna ni” is “so”. Therefore, I think many people would use “sonna ni”. But unfortunately, that isn’t correct.

You need to review how to use “so” in order to understand this mistake. “So” is used as “very” or “extremely” in the sentences above. In this case, “so” can’t be translated into “sonna ni”. Use “honto ni”, “totemo”, “cho” or “sugoku” instead.
1) A came 30 minutes late to a meeting with B.
A: B san, honto ni gomen ne! (I’m so sorry. = I’m very sorry.)
2) A had a bite of food.
A: Wow! Cho oishii! (This is so good. = This is very good.)
“So” can be replaced by “very” in these sentences. Once you understand this usage of “so”, please move on to the next example.
2) A had a bite of food. B is watching. 
A: Wow, cho oishii!  
B: Eh? Sonna ni oishii no?
B said “sonna ni”. This doesn’t mean “very” or “extremely”. B is asking “Is it that good?” while seeing A’s reaction.

“Sonna ni” refers to what was previously said in the conversation. It’s about something the second party is experiencing or has experienced. So, it refers to the degree of deliciousness that A has mentioned. 

Let’s go back to example 1.
A apologizes many times. 
A: honto ni gomen ne! gomen ne! (I’m really sorry! I’m sorry! 
B: sonna ni ayamaranakutemo ii yo. (No need to apologize that much.)
“Sonna ni” refers to something the other party is doing and has just said, and it indicates the degree of A’s apologies.

There is another way to use “sonna ni” also. I think the third one is actually similar to “so” in English. I’ll write about it sometime soon. I don’t want to confuse you, so I won’t write too much this time. 



 

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