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A sentence modifying a noun that is modifying a noun


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EDIT:

Since no answers were recieved and I had to desperately find answers elsewhere, here is the result of my searches.

A sentence modifying a noun that is modifying a noun, like this example:

これはそんな雪国で強くたくましく生きる男の物語である。

( Kore wa sonna yukiguni de tsuyoku takumashiku ikiru otoko no monogatari de aru )

Can be split up in pieces to better understand the meaning of the entire sentence. Like this:

雪国で生きる男 - man who lives in snow country (Yukiguni de ikiru otoko = lit. Snow country in live man)

男の物語 - story of man (otoko no monogatari = lit. Man (modifier/of) story)

雪国で生きる男の物語 - story of man who lives in snow country (yukiguni de ikiru otoko no monogatari = lit. snow country in live(s) man of story)

"As for how you will start to be able to comprehend these while reading, it's down to context and familiarity.  The sentence starts with これは; once you're reading at some level of comprehension you should already have an idea that the これ they are referring to is the story.  (は cannot occur inside sentence modifiers so you know this part is standalone and setting up the topic for the sentence).  So you can expect that the sentence is going to end with something like 物語.

If you start from the end of the sentence and work backwards you can see what the modifiers are, but of course when reading you want to be able to do it without having to go through the sentence twice.  This is one of the most difficult aspects of Japanese comprehension, in my opinion.  Fortunately you have an advantage in that your brain is already trained in your native language to anticipate what can or should come next in sentences, and in time you will pick this ability up in Japanese as well.

I'm not sure I can really answer any better "how to think," unfortunately it does take time and experience with the language."

/yudantaiteki

I hope this may be of use to someone else aswell. I can't stress how useful these tips were for me, I'm very happy for finally understanding this.

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Sometimes I (a native speaker of Japanese) also have to split the sentence I'm reading. I do the same. At first, I try to grasp the big frame of the sentence (これは ○○の物語である  This is a story of〜). And I analyze the detail as you do.

Anyway, sorry that I can't help you earlier and I’m happy for you that you've found a good way to think!

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