Jun 30, 2012

Japanese is difficult even for people in Japan

There is a confused expression in Japanese that has long minded me.

In this video, the announcement says  "一番乗り場に、列車が到着します。危険ですから、黄色い線の内側でお待ちください。"(ichi-ban-noriba ni, ressya ga toutyaku shimasu. kiken desukara,kiiroi sen no uchi-gawa de o-machi kudasai.)

In English,"A train will soon arrive in the number one platform. Please wait inside the yellow line for safety."

In this situation, "kiiroi sen no uchi-gawa" means a close area to a train in the platform, I think. (but, the announcement uses it as the right side of yellow line in this video.) I suggest that it should be "黄色い線より、下がってお待ちください。"(kiiroi sen yori sagatte o-machi kudasai)

Japanese expression is sometimes very difficult even for people in Japan.


kinokage (木の陰) said...

That's an interesting point, bikenglishさん. Is the problem that 黄色い線の内側 suggests actually standing *within* the painted line itself? Many languages seem to have similar "problems" with prepositions—am I *on* the train or *in* it? (sur/dans/au) Am I stepping up onto the train (に) or boarding it (を)? Here in the US I think we'd say "behind" the line, because there's a sense of linearity (person–line–tracks); "within" also would work (though not literally), but "below" (下) probably wouldn't, in this context (because it would have a sense of "in the ground beneath the platform"). But with より下がって it makes sense (at least, to me).

ジョン said...

Interesting. In my mind, though, 内側 seems to naturally refer to the area away from the train, since I'm inside the station on the platform, as is the announcement. Thus, "time side" would be the station-side. It would be kind of like saying, "Please wait on this side of the yellow line." Maybe I'm missing something, though.

bikenglish said...

"Uchi-gawa","Soto-gawa" are words that express "relative position" in the case.

The problem is where the center is in a platform, I think.