Language | WELL SAID

Hang on, did you say 'kakeru'?

by Akemi Tanahashi and Hitomi Tashiro

Ichido shinikaketa-n-desu (I almost died once)

Situation 1: Ms. Gray meets Mr. Kamata, who was on sick leave.

グレイ: あ、蒲田さん! ご病気が治って、よかったですね。

蒲田: ありがとうございます。実は、一度死にかけたんですが、手術が成功して、命拾いしました。

Gray: A, Kamata-san! Go-byōki-ga naotte, yokatta-desu-ne.

Kamata: Arigatō gozaimasu. Jitsuwa, ichido shinikaketa-n-desu-ga, shujutsu-ga seikō-shite, inochibiroi-shimashita.

Gray: Hi Mr. Kamata! I’m glad that you recovered.

Kamata: Thanks a lot. Actually, I almost died once, but the operation succeeded and I had a narrow escape.

Today, we will introduce the meanings and ways of using the verb かける (literally, to hang) when it is attached to another verb (X), forming a compound verb (Y). Y means that X began to happen but didn’t occur. In Situation 1, Mr. Kamata says that he narrowly escape from death, i.e., death began to happen. X is in pre-masu form of the verb, as in しにます⇒しにかける. Y’s noun form is the pre-masu form of Y, e.g., たべかけます (to stop eating halfway)⇒たべかけ, as in: たべかけのパンを、こんなところに置(お)かないでよ (Please don’t leave the half-eaten bread here).

Situation 2: Ms. Gray talks to her colleagues about Mr. Kamata.

グレイ: ねえ、みんなに呼びかけて、蒲田さんの職場復帰祝いをやらない?

三田: さんせい! 去年やめた目黒さんにも声をかけてみよう。蒲田さんのこと、すごく心配していたから。

Gray: Nē, minna-ni yobikakete, Kamata-san-no shokuba-fukki-iwai-wo yaranai?

Mita: Sansei! Kyonen yameta Meguro-san-nimo koe-wo kakete-miyō. Kamata-san-no koto, sugoku shinpai-shite-ita-kara.

Gray: Listen, everyone! Why don’t we get in touch with everyone in this office and have a party to celebrate Mr. Kamata’s return to work?

Mita: I couldn’t agree more! I’ll also let Ms. Meguro know who resigned last year; she was really worried about him.

The compound verb よびかける, in Ms. Gray’s sentence in Situation 2, is another way to use かける. When the verb attaches a verb of action to others like よぶ (to call), 話(はな)す (to speak), おす (to push), はたらく (to work/function) etc., it forms a compound noun: よびかける (to contact for asking them to join), はなしかける (to speak to), おしかける (to rush to a place or person with a specific intention), はたらきかける (to encourage), etc.

Bonus Dialogue: Mr. & Mrs. Okubo are talking about their son.

妻: ねえ、光男(みつお)ったら、いつもネットゲームに夢中(むちゅう)で、話(はな)しかけても返事(へんじ)もしないの。何(なん)とか言(い)ってやってよ。

夫: まあ、あの年(とし)ごろは、しかたないよ。ぼくも高校(こうこう)のころは、小説(しょうせつ)を読(よ)んでいると、晩(ばん)ごはんに呼(よ)ばれても、読みかけで行(い)く気(き)にはならなかった。

妻: 晩ごはんに遅(おく)れても、お母(かあ)さん、怒(おこ)らなかったの?

夫: 勉強(べんきょう)しているふりをしていたから、そんなに怒られなかった。

妻: ずるい! だけど、勉強じゃなくても小説ならまだ許(ゆる)せるけど、ネットゲームじゃあ…。

夫: 小説は読みかけて置(お)いていけるけど、ネットゲームは途中(とちゅう)で抜(ぬ)けるわけにはいかないよ。

妻: あ、パパは、もっと悪(わる)い。ふつうに話しかけても、ほかのことを考(かんが)えていて、ちゃんと返事しないし、今(いま)みたいにいろいろ相談(そうだん)してもすぐ逃(に)げるし。

夫: あ、いや…、逃げるわけじゃなくて…、ちょっとトイレに行かなくちゃ。

Wife: Listen, Honey, when I talk to Mitsuo, he hardly replies, he’s absorbed in his online games. Please talk to him about it.

Husband: Well, that’s inevitable for those who are that age. In my high school days, I couldn’t stop reading my novel when it was time for dinner.

Wife: Didn’t your mother get angry when you were late for dinner?

Husband: She didn’t scold me much, since I pretended to be studying.

Wife: You’re cunning! Well, I’ll allow reading novels, but not online games.

Husband: You can stop reading a novel halfway, but not an online game.

Wife: Oh, you’re even worse. When I talk to you, you’re absent minded and don’t reply. And also, when I ask you about something, you quickly leave.

Husband: Well, not leave, but . . . I have to go to the restroom now.