689 - にそういない

JLPT N2: に相違ない(にそういない // must be; [I'm] relatively certain [that]...

These two grammar points basically mean the same thing:

に違いない(にちがいない // must be; [I'll] bet [you that]...
に相違ない(にそういない // must be; [I'm] relatively certain [that]...

They mean something like "must be" or "almost certainly." The probability being expressed by the speaker is stronger than "probably" but not as strong as "definitely."

The standout difference is that に相違ない sounds much stiffer than に違いない. Accordingly, you're unlikely to come across に相違ない anywhere other than in writing.

That means that if you read this last lesson: [NDL #688] - JLPT N3: にちがいない...

...then today's lesson will be a walk in the park.

Or so I thought.

Instead, I found that I had a lot of trouble translating the sentences we're looking at in this lesson.

Hopefully you have an easier time than I did.

(Note: Isn't it hard to read に違いない and に相違ない side by side? My brain keeps mixing them up. I suppose the trick is to look for that 相 from 相談する [そうだんする // to consult; to discuss] or the い in 違い.)

(Note #2: I always feel bad not showing the kana breakdown of a word every single time it's used, but if I always did that, then our kanji skills would hardly improve at all. So please don't get frustrated if you have to scroll up and back down time and time again when you see words like 相違ない. That frustrating experience is you getting better at Japanese.)


Our first example:


プロの選手でも跳べる人が少ないとは、トリプルアクセルはそうとう難しいに相違ない
プロ の せんしゅ でも とべる ひと が すくない とは、 トリプルアクセル は そうとう むずかしい にそういない。
Considering that there are few professional figure skaters who are even capable of landing a triple axel, it must be extremely difficult.
Literally: “pro + の + player + でも + can jump + person + が + few + とは, + triple axel + は + considerably / extremely + difficult + must be / almost certainly (=に相違ない).”


↑ This sentence didn't make sense to me the first five times I read it. I think I was thrown off by the way it dives right into something like "even-pro-players can-fly-people are few とは."

...uh... what?

Then I calmed down and did something I hadn't done in a long time. I pulled out different parts of the sentence and then reconstructed them piece by piece. Being able to read most Japanese sentences without any problems these days, I had almost forgotten how difficult it used to be for me to decipher the meaning of lengthy sentences like this one.

Let's make sense of all this...


プロの選手でも
プロ の せんしゅ でも
even professional figure skaters
Literally: “pro + の + player + でも”
Note: It says "players," not "figure skaters." But we can change the translation based on the context of the rest of the sentence.

跳べる人が少ない
とべる ひと が すくない
there are few people who can jump
Literally: “can jump + person + が + few”

プロの選手でも跳べる人が少ない
プロ の せんしゅ でも とべる ひと が すくない
even (among) professional figure skaters, there are few people who can jump
Literally: “pro + の + player + でも + can jump + person + が + few”

Our とは takes that phrase (↑) and makes it the topic of our entire sentence.

In semi-literal land, we might think of it as saying:


プロの選手でも跳べる人が少ないとは
プロ の せんしゅ でも とべる ひと が すくない とは
to think that even (among) professional figure skaters, there are few people who can jump
Literally: “pro + の + player + でも + can jump + person + が + few + とは”


Now for the second half of the sentence:

トリプルアクセルはそうとう難しい
トリプルアクセル は そうとう むずかしい
the triple axel is extremely difficult
Literally: “triple axel + は + considerably / extremely + difficult”

↓ Add に相違ない ↓

トリプルアクセルはそうとう難しいに相違ない
トリプルアクセル は そうとう むずかしい にそういない。
the triple axel must be extremely difficult.
Literally: “triple axel + は + considerably / extremely + difficult + must be / almost certainly (=に相違ない).”


There's another thing that caused me problems when translating the above sentence.

I wanted to connect the two phrases that we've assembled:

(1)
プロの選手でも跳べる人が少ないとは
プロ の せんしゅ でも とべる ひと が すくない とは
to think that even (among) professional figure skaters, there are few people who can jump
Literally: “pro + の + player + でも + can jump + person + が + few + とは”

(2)
トリプルアクセルはそうとう難しいに相違ない
トリプルアクセル は そうとう むずかしい にそういない。
the triple axel must be extremely difficult.
Literally: “triple axel + は + considerably / extremely + difficult + must be / almost certainly (=に相違ない).”

And in trying to do so, I kept getting confused. After a little while, I figured out that the thing causing me problems was the verb 跳べる (とべる // to be able to jump, leap, spring).

But I'm guessing all figure skaters can jump. So we need to look at the second phrase to figure out that it's saying "to jump a triple axel." Only, we don't say that in English, do we? We'd probably be better off saying "complete a triple axel" or "land a triple axel" or even just "do a triple axel."

It took me a while, but the translation I eventually settled on was:


プロの選手でも跳べる人が少ないとは、トリプルアクセルはそうとう難しいに相違ない
プロ の せんしゅ でも とべる ひと が すくない とは、 トリプルアクセル は そうとう むずかしい にそういない。
Considering that there are few professional figure skaters who are even capable of landing a triple axel, it must be extremely difficult.
Literally: “pro + の + player + でも + can jump + person + が + few + とは, + triple axel + は + considerably / extremely + difficult + must be / almost certainly (=に相違ない).”

Ah, the joys of translation.


So, that was 大変 Thing #1 for me.

大変 Thing #2 was this sentence:


私が教室に入ったとたん話をやめたところを見ると、私の噂をしていたに相違ない
わたし が きょうしつ に はいった とたん はなし を やめた ところ を みる と、 わたし の うわさ を していた にそういない。
The moment I entered the classroom, they stopped talking. No doubt they were talking about me.
Literally: “I + が + classroom + に + entered + as soon as / at the moment that + talk + を + stopped + place + を + see + と, + I + の + rumor / gossip + を + were doing + must be / almost certainly (=に相違ない).”


This time I got thrown off by that 見ると (みると) at the end of the first half of the sentence. My brain wanted it to say something in past tense. I mean, isn't this something that happened in the past?!

Wouldn't it be more natural to say 見たというのは or something like that instead of 見ると?

Then I remembered that ところを見ると is actually another N2 grammar point that is used when you are making some kind of conjecture based on a fact that you have witnessed. We haven't covered this one yet, but we will in a future lesson.


大変 Thing #3:


今朝聞いた話はに相違ないだろうとは思うが、もし本当なら恐ろしいことだ。
けさ きいた はなし は うそ にそういない だろう と は おもう が、 もし ほんとう なら おそろしい こと だ。
I’m relatively certain that the story I heard this morning is not true, but if it were true, that would be terrible.
Literally: “this morning + heard + story + は + lie + must be / almost certainly (=に相違ない) + だろう + と + は + think + が, + supposing + true + if it’s the case + terrible / dreadful + thing + だ.”

Hold on. Is there a difference in nuance between 相違ない and 相違ないだろう?

I asked Rei, and she says they seem pretty much the same to her. The だろう is just included here because the speaker is supposing something to himself, and だろう is used a lot when people are thinking "maybe blah blah blah" to themselves.

I might as well also mention that I tend to have a hard time translating 恐ろしい (おそろしい). I'm not sure why, as the meaning is relatively straightforward: "terrible; dreadful." Just, for some reason, I have to think of multiple translations of sentences containing 恐ろしい before I find one that feels relatively natural to me. I'm not sure why.


大変 Thing #4:


あの二人の子供なら、賢くて優しい子に育つに相違ない
あの ふたり の こども なら、 かしこくて やさしい こ に そだつ にそういない。
If it's those two's kid, no doubt it will grow up to be a kind, intelligent child.
Literally: “that + two people + の + child+ if it’s the case, + smart (and) + kind / gentle + kid + に + will grow up + must be / almost certainly (=に相違ない).”


For some reason, I initially read this sentence wrong and thought that あの二人の子供 meant "those two kids" and not "those two people's kids." And I was thinking, how do kids grow up to be kids?

I felt a bit embarrassed when both Rei and other proofreaders pointed out my mistake. Oops.


Man, today is just not my day.

At least we should be able to understand sentences with に相違ない in them now...

...even if it takes us multiple readings and headaches to do so.

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