710 - に沿って(にそって)

JLPT N2: に沿って(にそって // in accordance with; following)

The verb 沿う (そう) means "to run along" or "to run beside."

This word often appears as a noun suffix, in which case it becomes ~沿い (ぞい).

For example, 川沿い (かわぞい) means "along the river":


川沿いを歩いていると、気持ちが安らぐ。
かわぞい を あるいている と、 きもち が やすらぐ。
Walking along the river has a calming effect on me.
Literally: “along the river + を + am walking + と, + feeling + が + feel at ease.”

↑ In light of that information, it makes sense that に沿って (にそって) means "in according with" or "following."

NOUNに沿って
(= NOUN + running along)
in accordance with NOUN; following NOUN

An example:


私達のチームは、監督が考えたメニューに沿って練習しています。
わたし たち の チーム は、 かんとく が かんがえた メニュー にそって れんしゅう しています。
Our team is following the coach’s training program.
Literally: “we + の + team + は, + director / coach + が + thought of + schedule / program (lit. “menu”) + in accordance with / follow (and) + practice + are doing.”
Note: メニュー can refer to a "menu" at a restaurant, or it can refer to a list of things that should be done, which is the meaning used here.

Since we are talking about "running along" some NOUN, it may help to think of "NOUN に沿って" as meaning "not deviating from NOUN."

In more natural English, we can just say "following NOUN" or "in accordance with NOUN."


Another example:


うちは国が定める厳しい安全基準に沿って農作物を作っています。
うち は くに が さだめる きびしい あんぜん きじゅん にそって のうさくもつ(のうさくぶつ) を つくっています。
We grow our crops in accordance with the nation’s strict safety standards.
Literally: “we (e.g. our company, family, etc.) + は + country + が + establish / determine + strict + safety + standards + in accordance with / follow (and) + crops / agricultural produce + を + are making.”


When you want to say "[thing] in accordance with NOUN" or "[thing] followingNOUN," you can say に沿う or に沿った.

NOUNS will appear on both sides of the phrase:


お客様のご希望に沿うお部屋は見つかりませんでした。
おきゃくさま の ごきぼう にそう おへや は みつかりませんでした。
I was [We were] unable to find any places that match your preferences.
Literally: “customer + の + hope / wish + in accordance with / follow + room + は + didn’t find.”
Note: This might be said by a real estate agent, for example.

初めのうちは、マニュアルに沿った接客をしてください。
はじめ の うち は、 マニュアル にそった せっきゃく を して ください。
In the beginning, please follow the guidelines laid out in the manual when responding to customers’ needs.
Literally: “beginning + の + period of time + は, + manual + in accordance with / followed + serving customers + を + do (and) + please.”
Note: I'm having trouble conveying the nuance of 接客する in a natural translation. This could refer to anything from checking in a guest at a hotel to saying いらっしゃいませ when a customer enters a store.


That's all for に沿って.

But that doesn't have to be all for today.

For example, seeing as how we saw two different meanings for うち in this lesson, you could go back and review these in-depth looks at うち:
- [NDL #96] - Home = I = Inside = While = Before?!
- [NDL #97] - Home = I = Inside = While = Before?! 第2

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