I am a Cat (Chapter 7 b) Section 233 Study Guide

Practice text with full furigana

すると主人しゅじん細君さいくんむかっていまいた、にゃあこえ感投詞かんとうしか、副詞ふくしなんだかってるか」といた

細君はあまり突然とつぜんといなので、何にも云わない。じつうと吾輩わがはいもこれは洗湯せんとう逆上ぎゃくじょうがまださめないためだろうとおもったくらいだ。元来がんらいこの主人は近所きんじょ合壁がっぺき有名ゆうめい変人へんじんげんあるひとはたしかに神経病しんけいびょうだとまで断言だんげんしたくらいである。ところが主人の自信じしんはえらいもので、おれが神経病じゃない、なかやつが神経病だと頑張がんばっている。近辺きんぺんのものが主人を犬々いぬいぬと、主人は公平こうへい維持いじするため必要ひつようだとかごうして彼等かれら豚々ぶたぶたと呼ぶ。実際じっさい主人はどこまでも公平を維持するつもりらしい。こまったものだ。こう云うおとこだからこんな奇問きもんを細君にむかって呈出ていしゅつするのも、主人っては朝食前あさめしまえしょう事件じけんかもれないが、聞くほうから云わせるとちょっと神経病にちか人の云いそうなことだ。だから細君はけむかれた気味きみで何とも云わない。吾輩は無論むろん何ともこたえようがない。すると主人はたちまちおおきな声で

「おい」と呼びかけた。

細君は吃驚びっくりして「はい」と答えた。

「そのはいは感投詞か副詞か、どっちだ」

「どっちですか、そんな馬鹿気ばかげ事はどうでもいいじゃありませんか」

「いいものか、これが現に国語家こくごか頭脳ずのう支配しはいしている大問題だいもんだいだ」

「あらまあ、猫の鳴き声がですか、いやな事ねえ。だって、猫の鳴き声は日本語じゃあないじゃありませんか」

「それだからさ。それがむずかしい問題なんだよ。比較ひかく研究けんきゅうと云うんだ」

「そう」と細君は利口りこうだから、こんな馬鹿な問題には関係かんけいしない。「それで、どっちだかわかったんですか」

Rough translation

The master turns and questions the wife. "That mew - Would you say it was an interjection, or would you say it was an adverb?"

The wife, caught off guard by this query out of left field, refrains from answering. Truth be told, I wonder myself if the master's head isn't still swooning from the heat of the baths. Even forgetting the baths, the master is known for his eccentricity, so much so that a certain neighbor asserts that his nerves are frayed. The master, however, has full confidence in his own faculties. "My nerves are fine. It's these other schmucks who are off the rails," he maintains. If the neighbors call the master a "doggity dog," then in the name of fair play the master refers to the neighbors as "piggity pigs." For the sake of fair play, there's no end to which the master won't go. He only wades in deeper. Being such a fellow, the master thinks little of lobbing a quirky question at the wife. The wife, though, on the receiving end, can't but feel his nerves are on the edge. Caught off guard, she holds her tongue, a bewildered look on her face. I too, of course, am in no position to answer. In the next moment, the master breaks the silence.

"Hey!" he calls out.

"Yes?" the wife replies in surprise.

"That 'yes' of yours - an exclamation or an adverb? Which was it?"

"What's it matter what it was? Who really cares?"

"Everyone cares. Japan's liguistic scholars are grappling mightily with this very issue."

"Well I'll be. Including the mew of a cat? After all, it's not even part of our language."

"There's the rub. That's what makes it so hard. It's comparative research."

"I see." The wife is savvy enough to steer clear of the master's nonsense. "And what have they concluded?"

Vocabulary

主人しゅじん master細君さいくん the wifeむかって turn (to)いま now; just nowいた cried; mewedう saying; statingこえ voice感投詞かんとうし interjection (usually 間投詞かんとうし)副詞ふくし adverbなん whatってる know; understand; be aware ofいた asked; inquired 突然とつぜんな sudden; unexpectedとい question; inquiryじつうと to tell the truth; actually吾輩わがはい I; me; myself洗湯せんとう bathhouse; public baths逆上ぎゃくじょう rush of blood to the head; dizzinessおもった thought; considered元来がんらい from the start; fundamentally近所きんじょ合壁がっぺき immediate neighborhood有名ゆうめいな well known; renowned変人へんじん eccentric; oddball; crankげんに actually; in factあるひと a certain person神経病しんけいびょう nervous disorder断言だんげんした asserted; declared自信じしん confidence (in oneself)なか the world; societyやつ fellows; folks頑張がんばって insist on; persevere in; stick to近辺きんぺん neighborhood; vicinity犬々いぬいぬ doggy dogぶ call out; designate (as)公平こうへい fairness維持いじする maintain; preserve必要ひつよう necessityごうして announce; declare (as)彼等かれら they; them豚々ぶたぶた piggy pig実際じっさい in actuality; in factこまった impossible; hopelessおとこ man; fellow奇問きもん odd questionむかって turn (to)呈出ていしゅつする offer up; presentっては to ...; for ...朝食前あさめしまえ easily handled (lit: done before breakfast)しょう事件じけん minor incident; trivial affairかもれない it may be that ...ほう side; partyちかい near; close (to)こと matter; thingけむかれた mystified; bewildered気味きみ sensation; feeling無論むろん of course; naturallyこたえようがない have no means of answering; be in no position to answerおおきな big; loud (voice) 吃驚びっくりして be surprised 馬鹿気ばかげた foolish; idiotic; senseless 国語家こくごか scholars of the Japanese language頭脳ずのう heads; minds支配しはいして occupy; hold sway over大問題だいもんだい pressing problem; pivotal question 比較ひかく comparative研究けんきゅう research; analysis 利口りこう clever; savvy; shrewd関係かんけいしない not engage in; steer clear ofわかった understood; determined