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SOUNDING NATURAL IN JAPANESE

Kōkōsei-wa nete-iru furi-wo shite-ita-noyo

by Akemi Tanahashi and Hitomi Tashiro

Kōkōsei-wa nete-iru furi-wo shite-ita-noyo. (A high school student pretended to be asleep.)

Situation 1: Ms. Gray and Ms. Tamachi are chatting about priority seats.

グレイ: お年寄りが来たら、優先席に座っている高校生は寝ているふりをしていたのよ。

田町: それは、ひどいね。

Gray: O-toshiyori-ga kitara, yuusenseki-ni suwatte-iru kōkōsei-wa nete-iru furi-wo shite-ita-noyo.

Tamachi: Sore-wa, hidoi-ne.

Gray: A high school student sitting in a priority seat pretended to be asleep when an old person came.

Tamachi: That’s terrible.

Today, we introduce the proper use of ふりをする and まねをする, which show action. ふりをする means to pretend to do, affect or feign, and expresses that someone shows an attitude or action that is different from the truth intentionally. ふりをする is used in the pattern of (person) は X (verb or adjective in the noun-modifying form) ふりをする. Example: 転(ころ)んで痛(いた)かったが、平気(へいき)なふりをした (I fell over, and hurt myself, but pretended to be OK). When X is a noun, Xのふりをする is used as in 友(とも)だちは病気(びょうき)のふりをして、ずるやすみをした (My friend faked being sick and skipped class). In Japanese, ふりをする can be used in both good and bad ways.

Situation 2: Takako is talking with her friend Mika.

たか子: きのう、私が手を振ったのに、知らんぷりして行っちゃったでしょう?

みか: え?気がつかなかった。ごめんね。私、目が悪いから。

Takako: Kinō, watashi-ga te-wo futta-noni, shiranpuri-shite itchatta-desho?

Mika: E, ki-ga tsukanakatta. Gomen-ne. Watashi, me-ga warui-kara.

Takako: I waved to you yesterday, but you ignored me and kept right on going, didn’t you?

Mika: What? I didn’t recognize you. Sorry, my eyes are bad.

There are some set phrases using ふり as in 知(し)らんぷりをする (to ignore something/someone ) and 見(み)てみないふりをする (to pretend not to see anything). Example: 駅(えき)で酔(よ)っぱらいが大(おお)きな声(こえ)で歌(うた)を歌っていたが、みんな見てみないふりをしていた (A drunk person was singing in a loud voice in the station, but everyone pretended they couldn’t see him).

Situation 3: Mr. Sere is talking about his school days.

セレ: 佐野くんがよく田中先生のまねをしたけど、すっごくうまかったね。

Sere: Sano-kun-ga yoku Tanaka-sensei-no mane-wo shita-kedo, suggoku umakatta-ne.

Sere: Sano often mimicked Mr. Tanaka. He was so good at it!

まねをする means to imitate, copy or mimic, and is used in the pattern of X (noun) のまねをする. まねる is almost same in meaning, but まねをする is used in spoken language. (Verb in noun-modifying form) + まねをする means to pretend, as in 子どもは 泣(な)くまねをした (The child pretended to cry).

Bonus Dialogue: Mr. Shiba is talking to his wife about their son.

夫(おっと): 男の子に比(くら)べると女の子(おんなのこ)は大人(おとな)っぽいね。よく、母親(ははおや)のまねをしてるよ。

妻(つま): うん、私(わたし)も、けっこう大人びた子どもだったと思うな。たとえば、私はサンタクロースがだれか、知(し)っていて知らないふりをしていたの。クリスマスイブの夜中(よなか)に、お父(とう)さんがプレゼントを持(も)ってきてくれたときも、寝(ね)たふりをしていたんだ。お父さんの夢(ゆめ)をこわしてはいけないと思って。

夫: それは、ずいぶんませた子どもだね。

妻: うん。朝(あさ)、プレゼントを見(み)て、驚(おどろ)いたふりをしたの。でも、うちのじゅんはまだ信じているから、夢をこわさないようにしなくちゃね。

夫: 実(じつ)はじゅんも知らないふりをしているかも!

Husband: Compared to boys, girls are so mature. They often imitate their mothers.

Wife: Yeah. I think I was pretty grown-up when I was a child. For example, I pretended not to know who Santa Claus was. When my dad put a present by my bed on Christmas Eve, I pretended to be asleep. I thought it’d be better not ruin my dad’s dream.

Husband: You were so grown up.

Wife: Yeah. The next morning, I saw my presents, and pretended to be surprised. But our little Jun believes in Santa Claus, and we have to be careful not to ruin it for him.

Husband: Actually, he may be pretending too!