Je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte

Pascal, not Twain

下手の長談義
(Heta no nagadangi;
“The long discourse of the unskilled”)

Definition:

A rambling talk or story characteristic of people who aren’t very good at clear and organized speaking. To drone on in a poorly-paced, unengaging way, especially in a sermon or lecture.

Breakdown:

This simple noun phrase is centered on the compound noun 談義 (dangi), “discourse,” “discussion,” “lecture,” compounded with and modified by the prefix 長 (naga-), “long.” The associative particle の (no) connects the result with the noun 下手 (heta), “unskilled,” “awkward.”

Notes:

This phrase is attributed to a Kyōgen play titled 『無布施経』 (Fusenai kyou). It is the へ (he, sounds like “heh”) entry of the Kyoto and Osaka iroha karuta sets.

談義 may be replaced with 話 (~banashi) or 口上 (koujou) without any significant change in meaning. But replacing の with な (na), which follows nouns to give them an adjectival function, is an error. Not all long speeches are necessarily that way because they’re poorly constructed, and this phrase points out those which are.

Example sentence:

「よく白昼夢を見るから、下手の長談義で知られている教授の授業は僕だってできるだけ避けたいと思っていたけど、卒業要件を満たすためには取らないといけない」

(“Yoku hakuchuumu wo miru kara, heta no nagadangi de shirareteiru kyouju no jugyou wa boku datte dekiru dake saketai to omotteita kedo, sotsugyou youken wo mitasu tame ni wa toranai to ikenai.”)

[“I daydream a lot, so I wanted to avoid as much as possible the classes of any professors known to ramble on, but I have to take this one to fulfill my graduation requirements.”]

About Confanity

I love the written word more than anything else I've had the chance to work with. I'm back in the States from Japan for grad school, but still studying Japanese with the hope of becoming a translator -- or writer, or even teacher -- as long as it's something language-related.
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