486 - というか~というか

I like this lesson's grammar point because it's useful when not being sure of exactly what you want to say:


JLPT N2: というか~というか (don't know if I should call it... or... // not sure if it's ... or ...)

Standard procedure. We'll start with an example:

わたしの職業は、ブロガーというかライターというか、とにかくものを書く仕事です。
わたし の しょくぎょう は、 ブロガー というか ライター というか、 とにかく もの を かく しごと です。
I don’t know if I should say I’m a blogger or a writer. But anyway, I write things for work.
Literally: “I + の + occupation + は, + blogger + というか + writer + というか, + anyway / in any case + things + を + write + job + です.”

The speaker does not think that "blogger" or "writer" are the perfect labels for her/his profession, but they're pretty close. So she/he can just say "blogger というか," "writer というか."

Pretty straightforward, yeah? Just put the "imperfect descriptions" of what you want to say directly before each というか.


👷 Construction 👷

Generally speaking, you can just put a NOUN or any word in plain form directly before each というか.

In this lesson, we will see というか directly preceded by NOUNS / な-ADJECTIVES, い-ADJECTIVES, and (plain form) VERBS.

NOUN / な-ADJECTIVE + というか

い-ADJECTIVE + というか

(Plain form) VERB + というか

Check the example sentences to see these in action.



栃木はこのところ、涼しいというか暖かいというか、とても過ごしやすい気温です。
とちぎ は このところ、 すずしい というか あたたかい というか、 とても すごし やすい きおん です。
Recently, I don’t know if I would say Tochigi is cool or warm, but it’s a really comfortable temperature.
Literally: “Tochigi + は + recently, + cool + というか + warm + というか, + very + easy to live + temperature (for weather) + です.”
Note: We can imagine that the speaker is living in Tochigi and is writing this in a letter. By the way, I like the word 過ごしやすい, literally meaning "easy to pass (time); easy to live." I've seen it translated to "pleasant," and here I translated it as "comfortable," but I don't know of any English word that really does it justice.

It's not exactly cool. It's not exactly warm. But it's really pleasant/comfortable.

Cool というか、warm というか, really pleasant/comfortable!



彼は純粋というか世間知らずというか、何でもすぐ信じる。
かれ は じゅんすい というか せけんしらず というか、 なんでも すぐ しんじる。
I don’t know if I'd call him innocent or naive, but he'll believe anything you tell him.
Literally: “he + は + pure / innocent + というか + ignorant of the ways of the world + というか, + anything / everything + easily / immediately + believes.”

Starting to pick up the pattern now?



城田さんの声はこもっているというかかすれているというか、癖があってちょっと聞き取りづらい。
しろた さん の こえ は こもっている というか かすれている というか、 くせ が あって ちょっと ききとり づらい。
I don’t know if I’d call Shirota-san’s voice muffled or hoarse, but there’s something about it that makes it a little difficult to understand him [her].
Literally: “Shirota-san + の + voice + は + is being muffled / deep + というか + is being hoarse + というか, + peculiarity / tendency + が + has (and) + a little + difficult to catch / hear.”

That was a tricky example, yeah? Using the literal breakdown, take it one word at a time, and see if you grasp what's going on.


Now that we're finally getting out of grammar town, I can talk about the fun stuff: Casual language!

In informal settings, it is extremely common to use this grammar point... only, というか gets abbreviated to っていうか / ていうか and ってか / てか (sometimes you'll even see it lazily written as ってゆーか / てゆーか).

Also, you'll find that these sentences often do not list two or more っていうか. Rather, it will be used a single time, usually when rephrasing what one is saying or changing one's mind mid-sentence.

Consider this example:

Walking out of a movie with your friend, you say...

あんまり面白くなかったね。...っていうか、つまんなかったね!
あんまり おもしろくなかった ね。 ...っていうか、 つまんなかった ね!
It wasn't very good, was it? Actually, it sucked!
Literally: "(not) very + wasn't good + ね. + ...っていうか, + was boring + ね!"
Note: If you like more literal translations, perhaps you could say, "It wasn't very interesting, was it? Or rather, it was boring wasn't it?!"

Interestingly, this could also be a 2-person conversation:

A:
あんまり面白くなかったね。
あんまり おもしろくなかった ね。
It wasn't very good, was it?
Literally: "(not) very + wasn't good + ね."

B:
...っていうか、つまんなかったね!
...っていうか、 つまんなかった ね!
More like, it sucked.
Literally: " ...っていうか, + was boring + ね!"

Listen up for people using っていうか in casual situations when rephrasing their thoughts. Then copy them like there's no tomorrow. It's one of the best ways to get better, after all. ^^

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