My reading notes for the second part of Le Petit Prince in japanese. (p11 to 16). The narrator meets the Little Prince for the first time and draws several sheep. (Notes for the first part)

  • 砂漠・さばく desert
  • 不時着・ふじちゃく emergency landing (不時・ふじ means emergency, unexpectedness)
  • 整備士・せいびし mechanic (person). 整備・せいび means maintenance, servicing, outfitting and it is one of those words I have difficulties to remember because I don’t know exactly in which context they are used and because they have so much synonyms. Thanks to 整備士 I can somehow figure out this word better…
  • やりとげる・遣り遂げる to accomplish
  • 覚悟・かくご resolution, readiness, preparedness
  • かなた・彼方 means other side, there, across. It certainly emphasis here that the narrator is far from everything
  • 眠りにつく・ねむりにつく to fall asleep
  • 大海原・おおうなばら the ocean
  • ただなか・只中 the middle
  • いかだ・筏 a raft
  • 漂流・ひょうりゅう drifting, drift
  • 変わる・かわる here, it means certainly «to be uncommon, unusual». French says : « une drôle de petite voix », a funny little voice.
  • ヒツジ・羊・ひつじ sheep

In French, the little prince says « s’il vous plaît… dessine-moi un mouton ! » which is cute because, being a child, he mixes up polite and casual speech. It should be either the «vous» polite form « s’il vous plaît… dessinez-moi…» or the «tu» casual form « s’il te plaît… dessine-moi…». Even if this mistake cannot be translated into English (at least, I think so), it could have been rendered in japanese. But the translator simply chose the informal speech: ”お願い…ヒツジの絵を描いて…” Now I wonder… would have it been possible to write お願いします…羊の絵を描いて… ? Or is it just weird in japanese ? Would a japanese child not make this kind of language mistake? I can’t imagine that the translator wasn’t aware of this particularity in the original version, so the choice not to render it in japanese must be deliberate, but why?

If you have an answer, please don’t let me in the dark!

  • 打たれる・うたれる to be struck
  • 飛び上がる・とびあがる to spring, to jump up
  • ごしごし onomatopoeia for scrubbing
  • こする to rub, to scrub
  • 見つめる・みつめる to Watch intently, to stare at, to fix one’s eye on
  • のちに later on
  • 肖像画・しょうぞうが portrait
  • とはいえ though, although
  • 愛らしい・あいらしい pretty, charming, lovely, adorable

Here comes a phrase I had difficulties to understand. The narrator talks about the drawing he later made of the little prince and says that :

輝くばかりに愛らしかった眼の前の姿を、とても伝えきれてはいない” p11

The underline part was strange to me. It is obviously here the grammar ばかりに which comes after the verb casual form and which means «because of… a negative result has occured».

So the phrase means that because the narrator’s drawing was 輝く・かがやく it couldn’t convey the charming appearance he had before his eyes.

Now, 輝く・かがやく means to shine, to glitter, to sparkle… Is it a way to say that the drawing was somehow too flashy, elaborate, ostentatious??

Why did the translator add that? In the original version, there is no such explanation. The narrator only says « Mais mon dessin, bien sûr, est beaucoup moins ravissant que le modèle ». He does say that his drawing is less charming than the original but he doesn’t give any reason for that. In fact, the only explanation we get is given afterwards; he just can’t draw well enough, having stopped drawing when he was a child).

I am totally wrong? Maybe I didn’t understand the japanese well! If someone can help me understand what 輝く is doing here, please do it. 🙂

Just another point, I think that 伝えきれてはいない uses the grammar きる・きれる in its negative form きれていない, which means not being able to do something completely.

  • なにしろ・何しろ at any rate, anyhow, anyway (there are so much words in japanese to say «anyway»…)

”あきらめさせられた” p12. The causative-passive form! « I was made to give up »

  • それなのに and yet, despite this, but even so.

I didn’t know the grammar ”…(で)もなければ…もない” so I just couldn’t figure out the use of ”ければ” here. This grammar means « neither… nor… ». Here it is used a little differently but the meaning is still the same. That’s funny because the japanese version uses three different structures to express that the little prince was neither that nor that : negation+し・もなければ・~たり. Maybe, the use of so many different structures emphasis the negation. In french it is on the contrary the repetition of the same structure « ni » which strengthens the negation : « ni égaré, ni mort de fatigue, ni mort de faim, ni mort de soif, ni mort de peur ».

  • 心を打つ・こころをうつ to touch a person’s heart
  • 逆らう・さからう to go against, to oppose, to disobey, to defy (I knew this word but didn’t recognize it without kanji)
  • さらされる・晒される to be exposed (to danger), passive form of 晒す・さらす (to expose)
  • ばかげる to look foolish, absurd. This certainly comes from the N2 grammar point げ which means « seeming, giving the appearance of ». Since I learnt this grammar, it is the first time I see it, so I am quite happy, it will help me remember it.
  • むっと onomatopoeia for angrily, sullenly
  • 告げる・つげる to inform, to tell
  • 注意深い・ちゅういぶかい careful (one of those words I have in my anki deck but constantly forget)
  • 気遣い・きづかい consideration, concern, solicitude… In french it is « indulgence » because the narrator should know that a sheep with horn is a ram sheep.
  • 牡ヒツジ・牡羊・おひつじ ram sheep. Strangely, when I searched 牡羊 in internet I found only results relative to Aries, the constellation. 牡羊 seems to be mainly used to design the Ram constellation 牡羊座・おひつじざ
  • 角・つの horn. First time I encounter this kanji with this pronunciation (it’s usually かくor かど)
  • がまんできない・我慢出来ない can’t stand, can’t put up with, can’t take any longer
  • 分解・ぶんかい disassembly, dismantling
  • きむずかしや・気難し屋 someone who is hard to please, always complaining
  • ぱっと suddenly, in a flash
  • 覗き込む・のぞきこむ to look into, to peer in

Among the words I have written down here, figure a lot of words that I had actually learnt but somehow wasn’t sure about. It is so much easier to remember a word when we can associate it with a context, a character, a story. The word 整備 for instance, it is now linked to the mecanicien the narrator didn’t have with him when his plane crashed down. Before, it was just another word in my interminable list of N2 words.

Notes for part 3.