View Full Version : 大臣て何 How do interpret this sentence?

01-17-2008, 09:31 PM
Is the "te" a quote particle? Isn't it strange to say "the minister is what". There is a similar sentence,
一番えらい大臣て事さ. How do you translate it?

01-24-2008, 04:49 AM
i saw this question last week but i thought since it's a just a standard question, i'd let someone else answer it. but nobody did and i'm surprised.

って or the shortened form て, is the contracted form of という/と/とは/というのは depending on the situation. it is often used in casual speech.

it's really too long and such a pain to explain everything to you from scratch so i suggest u read up your japanese textbook on those chapters and if u have any questions then i'll be happy to help. but for a rough guideline, just think of quotation marks

now to answer ur questions....

if u translate 大臣て何? it would become: what is a "minister"?

in this sentence, て is the short form for とは or というのは (they are very similar...in fact its easier if u just think of them as the same) and u basically use it like a quote mark.

other sentences with the same grammar:
1) 愛って何だろう --> 愛とは何だろう
what is "love"?

2) 存在って複雑な概念 --> 存在とは複雑な概念
"existence" is a very complicated notion

its still the same (think of quiotation marks) in ur second question (一番えらい大臣て事さ) . athough this time, this て is the short form for という and is used in a slightly different way. the sentence before the という describes the noun after the という.

1) 太郎って人 --> 太郎という人
a person called "Tarou"

2) 鹿って動物 --> 鹿という動物
a animal called a "deer"

3) お互いに助け合うのは友達ってものさ --> お互いに助け合うのは友達というものさ
helping each other is a thing called "friendship"

and for ur sentence, 一番えらい大臣て事さ if directly translated becomes:

the thing is the most awesome minister

.....which doesnt really make sense ( u cant always just translate stuff the same way)

in natural english: basically he's the highest ranking minister
(this sentence has the nuance that the person speaking is summarizing what he has just said)

01-25-2008, 11:31 AM
Thank you tetekmahkang!!!
I thought it is tricky in this particular situation as one of the "te" is という while the other is というのは. Anyway thank you!