528 - にあたって

JLPT N2: にあたって

In the last N3 lesson, we looked at 際 (さい), which basically means "when" or "on the occasion of." In the literal translations I had said "on the occasion of," and I don't think that's wrong... but にあたって also gets translated to "on the occasion of!" Agh! *_*

にあたって is a little different because it doesn't just mean "when," it means "on the occasion of" in the sense of "Since it's X, one does/did Y.

Consider this example:

新年にあたって、校長先生からご挨拶があります。
しんねん にあたって、 こうちょうせんせい から ごあいさつ が あります。
To start off the new year, we’re going to hear a few words from the principal.
Literally: “new year + にあたって, + school principal + from + ご-greeting + が + there is.”

Since it's a new year, the principal is going to say a few words.
→ New year にあたって, the principal is going to say a few words.

I said earlier that にあたって gets translated to "on the occasion of," and I have seen it translated that way in dictionaries and grammar books quite a bit. I've also seen it listed as meaning, "at the time of (indicating an opportunity or situation where something should be done)."

Both of these are fine. But they are talking about what にあたって means/does in a sentence. They are not indicating how it will appear when it is translated.

Know why? Because it's translated all kinds of different ways!

For instance, our first example had "new year にあたって" becoming "To start off the new year," and our next example has "dog training にあたって" getting translated as "When training my dog..."

愛犬のしつけにあたって、わたしは何十冊もの本を読みました。
あいけん の しつけ にあたって、 わたし は なんじゅっ さつ も の ほん を よみました。
When training my (beloved) dog, I read dozens of (dog-training) books.
Literally: “beloved dog + の + training / discipline + にあたって, + I + は + several tens + [counter for books] + も + の + books + を + read.”


Construction of にあたって is easy.

Just put Vる or a NOUN directly in front of にあたって.

We see examples of these all throughout this lesson.

Oh, and note that にあたって will typically be used for formal situations. (In other words, I personally never use this grammar point, but I do come across it occasionally.)



全国大会に出場するにあたって、今まで以上に気を引き締めて練習に取り組むつもりです。
ぜんこく たいかい に しゅつじょう する にあたって、 いままで いじょう に き を ひきしめて れんしゅう に とりくむ つもり です。
Now that I’m going to be competing in the Nationals, I plan to dedicate myself to my training more than ever before.
Literally: “national tournament + に + appearance / participation + do + にあたって, + now + until + more than + に + focus my energies (and) + practice / training + に + make an effort + intend to + です.”


Bonus: We can also say にあたり in place of にあたって.

The meaning is the same:


このプロジェクトを成功させるにあたり、チームの団結は必要不可欠だ。
この プロジェクト を せいこう させる にあたり、 チーム の だんけつ は ひつよう ふかけつ だ。
Team unity is indispensable in order to make this project a success.
Literally: “this + project + を + success + make (do) + にあたり, + team + の + unity / collaboration + は + essential / indispensable + だ.”

That's all for this one!

A pretty straightforward lesson, yeah?

Make sure you read all of the examples and breakdowns!

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