士道は身体を硬直させた

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thetazuo

Senior Member
Chinese - China
悪質な白昼夢でも見ている気分だった。
だがーーそこに振り立った人影を見て、士道は身体を硬直させた
xxxx
背には大きなスラスターがついており、手にはゴルフバックのような形状の武器を携えていた。
士道が身を凍らせた理由は単純だった。少女の顔に、見覚えがあったのである。

Hi. Could you please explain the underlined parts?
Shidou made his body stiffen (or Shidou stiffened his body)? Shidou made his body freeze up (Shidou froze up his body)? This seems quite strange.
Thank you.
 
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  • Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    You have encoutered the same pattern last month. 硬直する and 凍る are intransitive verbs, and you need the causative construction in order to add 士道 in the sentence.
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thank you. Yes, I know that. But in that thread, I was told to memorize 息を詰まらせる as a set phrase, which indicates surprise.
    If the op examples are of the same usage as the previous thread, then they mean “Shidou’s body was made to stiffen/freeze up. The sight of the girl made him stiffen/freeze up”, right?

    And the expression 士道は身体を硬直させた equals 士道の身体が硬直した and the expression 士道が身を凍らせた equals 士道の身が凍った, right?
     

    SoLaTiDoberman

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    士道は身体を硬直させた
    =士道は力を入れた。
    =士道は緊張した。
    =士道は交感神経緊張状態に入った。
    =士道は対戦モードに入った。
    =士道は臨戦態勢に身構えた。
    etc. etc.

    This is a kind of figurative expression.
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    Well, I "think" I understand what you are having issues with. I may be wrong but let me proceed without further back and forth.

    It seems that you are trying to understand the difference between the following two sentences, and ultimately the reasons that motivate the use of the more complicated construction found in a:
    a. 士道は身体を硬直させた。
    b. 士道の身体が硬直した。

    The overall meaning of the two sentences are the same. As usual, the difference lies in the realm of nuances. The former a. generally implies that the reason for Shidō's halting is internal while the latter b. generally implies an external one (I used 'generally' as an apotropaic for scrutiny with exceptions. I am probably talking about a tendency, not a law). If I hear the version with 身体は硬直した, I construe that something forced him to; his commander shouting him to halt, an enemy holding him in check with a gun, him being blasted with paralyzing lays, and so on. The first two situations may hold true for the version with 身体を硬直させた, but it additionally hints at Shidō's internal attitudes. He may be experiencing awe, fear, shock, or whatever emotion that fits the context. The causative construction in a. makes room for describing the internal state of the subject as the cause of the action. In fact, your text implies Shidō's surprise at recognising a familiar girl as the opponent. I gather from the text that the girl did no more than coming into Shidō's sight. It is his surprise that left him immobile.

    It's unavoidable that I talk about some grammar. You can see that the intransitive verbs that are used in this construction are of a kind whose actions unfold without the willingness, agency, or power of the subject (硬直する, 凍る, and 詰まる). In other words, the subjects (身体, and 喉) do not actively initiate the action of the verbs. Contrast them with intransitive verbs that entail the subject's willingness such as 笑う, 遊ぶ, and 泣く.

    Now, the causative construction allows the initiator of the action into the sentence. I will give you an example:
    太郎は喜びに体をおどらせた。
    Tarō danced with joy.

    Using inanimate subject is possible but rare in this case:
    喜びに太郎の体がおどった。
    Poetry may use inanimate subjects like this, but they are rare in prose.

    Deleting 喜びに makes the contrast even more sharp:
    太郎は体をおどらせた。
    This is a grammatical sentence but the reason for Tarō's "dancing" is open to many interpretations. It may be excitement or joy that needs be let out but it may also be fear that makes him dodge a danger.

    Contrast it with:
    体がおどった。
    To my mind, likely reasons for the body's prancing are external. Tarō may be driving a car on a bumpy road or he may be pierced by bullets. It is very unlikely that his emotions, good or bad, are the cause.

    Finally, I surmise that problems of names may be confusing you. The grammatical label causative or 使役 does not necessarily mean efforts. It's just like the French reflexive construction se lever (to get up) being the unmarked way of saying "to get up." It does not involve forcing as in, "I forced myself out of bed."
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Hi. I have come across another sentence using the similar pattern.
    「どれくらい寝てないんですか」
    士道が問うと、令音は考えを巡らせる仕草を見せてから、指を三本立ててきた。

    In this sentence, is 考えを巡らせる the same as 考えを巡らす?
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Hi. After reconsidering the topic, can I think, as a general guidance, no matter what the verb is, as long as the subjects (身体, and 喉) do not actively initiate the action of the verbs, the causative form of the intransitive verb is usually non-volitional and implies some emotion or internal attitudes, while its transitive counterpart is simply a volitional expression without hinting at anything else?

    For example,
    1. 士道は今さらながら身を竦めた。
    2. 士道は今さらながら身を竦ませた。
     
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