330 - たり~たりする (expressing changes)

So... cats!

Thinking of today's lesson, and how to approach it with a real-life example, the first thing that came to mind was cats.

When I think of cats, their 3 main hobbies come to mind... I feel like they find great delight in each of the following:

1. Quietly observing us from a distance (and silently judging us)
2. Knocking things off of tables and shelves
3. Being ever-so-annoyingly undecided.

"Pet me human" ---- "How dare you rub my belly. I kill you."
"Hey. Hey. Hey. What are you eating? Gimme some" ---- "*Sniff*: Ugh, yeah, no thanks, not interested."
"Hey I want out let me out" ---- "Inside, let me back inside human!!"

And here you have today's theme: Indecisiveness.

And of course the expression that comes with it:

たり~たりする
Vたり + Vたり + する
...repeatedly do ...and...

It shows repetition of opposite action or movement, like "coming and going" or "laughing and crying" and so on.

うちの猫が布団から出たり入ったりする
うち の ねこ が ふとん から でたり はいったり する。
Our cat keeps coming out of and going back into the futon.
Literally: "home / my family + の + cat + が + futon + from + exiting + entering + do."

For those of you who do not know what a futon is or have never felt the joy of sleeping in one, I must say it is the coziest thing to sleep in, it felt so good and relaxing (which is surprising because it's a thin mattress that you just lay on the ground. (No, it's not that sofa that turns into a bed thing---I have no Idea why people call that a futon).

But I do get how enjoyable it is to play in a futon. Cats are on to something; I must commend them for their ability to enjoy the good things in life.


Next, let's talk about the weather. Sounds a little funny, but in English we can say that the weather is "fickle." You know those times in the autumn or spring when it gets cold, and then warm, and then cold again and so on?

最近は気温が上がったり下がったりしている
さいきん は きおん が あがったり さがったり している。
Lately the temperature's been rising and falling.
Literally: "lately + は + temperature + が + rising + falling + doing"

And speaking of temperature fluctuations, the indoor ones must be the most annoying... #passive-aggressive-air-conditioning-office-wars.

私の職場は冷房がきついので、上着を着たり脱いだりして調節しています。
わたし の しょくば は れいぼう が きつい ので、 うわぎ を きたり ぬいだり して ちょうせつ しています。
The air conditioning at my workplace is very intense/strong, so I adjust (to it) by putting on my coat and taking it off.
Literally: "I + の + workplace + は + air-conditioning + is + strong/intense + so + coat + wearing + undressing + do + adjust + doing."

Note: While this expression is often used in situations of indecision (undecided cat, undecided weather, etc.), this is not always the case. Sometimes, just like in the example above, it's just about describing a "coming-and-going" or "on-and-off" situation.

Also, that きつい word sounds a little weird in the translation so I think of making a little digression and find out more about it.

Depending on the situation, it can mean "intense, strong, too much, tight, close, hard (liquor)," and probably some more that I can't even remember. I don't plan on exhausting all possible uses of this word in this lesson but instead we'll just take a look at some representative examples.

きつい仕事
きつい しごと
difficult work
Literally: "difficult/straining + work"

きついお酒
きつい おさけ
strong/hard liquor
Literally: "strong + liquor"

きついスケジュール
きつい すけじゅーる
tight schedule
Literally: "tight + schedule"

きつい香り
きつい かおり
strong scent
Literally: "Strong + scent"
*Usually used in reference to perfume

きつい服
きつい ふく
tight clothes
Literally: "tight + clothes"

So I think you got an idea about how this word is used with slightly different meanings.

Now let's get into our last example for the day:

電気を付けたり消したりしないでください。
でんき を つけたり けしたり しないで ください。
Please don't repeatedly turn the light on and off.
Literally: "light + を + turning on + turning off + don't do + please."

I hope you enjoyed this lesson (what am I saying, of course you enjoyed this lesson, I gave you cats, the most valuable form of internet currency... pictures of cats sell for, like, 100 bitcoins or something... jk, don't abuse your cat. Remember it's supposed to be the other way around!)

Have fun with your studies and see you next time!


This lesson was written by Adriana, a guest contributor.





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