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  5. "わたしのあにはせが高いです。"


Translation:My big brother is tall.

June 28, 2017



わたしの is unnecessary here as あに refers specifically to the speaker's older brother


Unnecessary? Superfluous?

It's language we are taking about here. The speaker is clearly emphasising that it's Their brother that is tall.


What Tara is saying is that 兄 only ever refers to the speakers older brother. You would never call someone else's sibling 兄/あに (or 姉/あね). Hence why the 私の is not needed.


And what Obstructor was trying to say is that someone else in this conversation may have mentioned that their older brother is short, hence making 私の an appropriate emphasis when speaking about your own.


あに refers to the speaker's social inner circle's big brother, so it is possible that あに can refer to someone else's brother.


私 (I) の兄 (older brother) は背 (height) が高い (tall) です


Does japanese really say "the back is tall"?


They say "the back is high", to mean "tall", yes.


Interestingly, height as a measurement is 身長(しんちょう). While it can be used to make comparitive statements or general observations about height, that use isn't quite as common.


Is adding せ more comprehensible than just saying わたしのあには高いです?


Yes, 高い just means "high", and isn't used for people on its own. It's translatable as "tall" in English if you say (for example) "a tall tree" 高い木, but when you are talking about humans, you need to include 背(せ). "a tall person" = 背の高い人.


When i was in Japan a few people said things like 高いですね (I'm about 6'5"), and I don't think they included 背. As a casual comment, would you say people just say 高い?


Well, it's certainly not impossible. If you're 6'5" I'd say the context is pretty unambiguous! The last time I recall someone looked up at me they included it: 背が高いですね (followed by a casual 鼻も大きい - "also a big nose", since she was speaking to my gf and didn't realize I could speak Japanese as well ^_^).


Seems a bit rude to comment on your nose being big, whether you can understand it or not...


Ah well, you know what they say about people with big noses... (big handkerchiefs)


Having a big nose is often a compliment for Japanese.


Having a "tall" nose is a compliment (鼻が高い), having a big nose, well.....


I first learned 高い as meaning "expensive" so that could be one (admittedly odd) alternative translation! The 背(せ) thing seems weird to us but I suppose it does create some clarity.


My tutor told me that not using せ could potentially be construed as a snide remark, and that gender can have a role in this interpretation.


Because eyes is fatter


この「せ」( 背 ) は背中ではなく背丈 ( せたけ ) つまり「身長」のことですね。

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