Monday, January 22, 2007

〜ながら, and the English word-weight

In the text-book we use, in the 〜ながら-section, it was explained that the second action is the more important action, and it gave the examples:
コーヒーを飲みながら、手紙を書いた。
I wrote a letter while drinking coffee.

アルバイトをしながら、大学で勉強した。
I went to university while doing a part-time job.
Now, while I understand the Japanese sentences, the English sentences seem to me flipped around. I see the use of "while" to refer to the first action, with basically the first action happening only during the timeframe of the second action; just like in Japanese, I feel that in English (and Swedish) the focus in the sentence lies on the second action. So in the first example, if going by the English translation in the book, the character was sitting down to drink coffee, and just started to write a letter as a side-thing.

I did a search for the word "while" and came across this informative Wikipedia entry, which says the primary meaning is "during the time that". Now, with that in mind, let's see the example sentences from the book again, with "while" replaced with the whole phrase.
I wrote a letter [during the time that I was] drinking coffee.

I went to university [during the time that I was] doing a part-time job.
I think that it becomes clearer there how the 'weight' of the action lies on the second part.

4 comments:

Homo Escapeons said...

I read your post while drinking coffee. I found you because you have Aphrodite's Child as a fave..Bravo!

Harvey said...

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Maybe you have already seen it though!

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Ainu said...

No, not a word yet..

Ainu said...

Friday afternoons ok to you?