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Let’s Learn Japanese #3

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Let’s Learn Japanese #3

AMARI

Amari is a conjunction which marks a cause that involves excessive action.

Its meaning : because of too much ~; because ~ too much; so ~ that ~ [REL. Sugiru]

¤Key Sentences
(A)
Watashi wa sono ban koufun no amari nerarenakatta.
(I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep that night.)

(B)
Kono kyoukashou wa bunpou o juushisuru amari omoshirokunai mono ni natte shimatta.
(This textbook has turned out to be an uninteresting one because it stressed grammar too much.)

Formation
1. N no amari
Shinpai no amari (because of too much anxiety)

2. Vinf amari
Youjinsuru amari (someone is so cautious that)

Examples
1. Akiko wa kyoufu no amari koe mo denakatta.
(Akiko was so frightened that she couldn’t even make a sound.)

2. Watashi wa yorokobi no amari omowazu tonari no hito ni dakitsuite shimatta.
(I was so happy that I hugged the person beside me without thinking.)

3. Nihon no Eigo kyouiku wa bunpou ga kyouchou sareru amari kaiwa ryoku no yousei ga orosoka ni natte iru you da.
(As for English education in Japan, it seems that because grammar is emphasized too much, the development of conversational skills is neglected.)

4. Kondo no kaigou wa keishiki o omonzuru amari naiyou ga toboshikunatte shimatta.
(The last meeting ended up having little content because it focused too much on formalities.)

Notes
1. Clauses and phrases involving the conjunction amari can be rephrased using the adverb amari and the conjunction node or tame ni, as in (1).
(1) A. Watashi wa sono ban amari koufun shita {node/tame ni} nerarenakatta.
     B. Sono kyoukashou wa amari bunpou o juushi shita {node/tame ni} omoshirokunai mono ni natte shimatta.

2. Adj (i) and Adj (na) cannot precede amari, as seen in (2) and (3).
(2) Watashi wa {kanashimono/kanashii} amari namida mo denakatta.
(I was so sad that I couldn’t even cry (lit. Even tears didn’t come out).)
(3) Karera wa {shinpaino/shinpaina} amari shokuji mo node o tooranai yousudatta.
(It looked like they were so anxious that they couldn’t even eat (lit. Even foods didn’t go through their throats).)

3. Vinf can be either past or nonpast when it represents a past action or event, as in (4), although the nonpast form is more common.
(4) Kono kyoukasho wa bunpou o juushishita amari omoshirokunai mono ni natte shimatta.

[Related Expression]
The auxilliary verb sugiru expresses a similar idea. For example, KS (A) and (B) can be rephrased using sugiru, as in [1].
[1] A. Watashi wa sono bankoufun {no amari/shisugite} nerarenakatta.
     B. Kono kyoukasho wa bunpou o juushi {suru amari/shisugite} omoshirokunai mono ni natte shimatta.

However, there are some differences between amari and sugiru. First, amari is always a part of an adverbial clause or phrase which expresses a cause. Sugiru, however, does not always express cause and can be in the predicate of a main clause. Second, amari is used only when the verb or noun represents a psychological action or state. Thus, the following sentences are unacceptable.

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[2] Kinou biiru o nomi amari kyou atama ga itai.
(Yesterday I drank too much beer and I have a headache today.)
Cf. Kinou amari biiru o nonda {node/tame ni} kyou atama ga itai.

[3] Tsukare no amari shokuyoku ga nai.
(I am so tired that I have no appetite.)

Third, sugiru is used in both spoken and written Japanese while amari is limited in use to formal written Japanese.

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