I would use a verb like 苦労する or 苦心する (e.g., 差別化に苦心しているんだろう, 理解されるのに苦労したけど), but I could understand the above as a kind of abbreviation from:最初はすごく理解されるのに大変だったけれど、
Not really because 最初はすごく理解されるために大変だった sounds odd.So this に equals ために (目的), right?
Having read Flaminius's comment, I'd still go with the idea that this に is supposed to be が because 他店との差別化 indeed seems to me to be a subject.場末の居酒屋は他店との差別化に大変なんだろうな。
If you'd like a clear answer to the question of what this に is equal to, I'd say it corresponds to the English infinitive marker "to".
So the に in the op still indicates 目的 but is not interchangeable with ために. Do I get Flaminius’s point and yours correctly?the aim of an endeavour
No. As I said above, it's mistaken for が. Things like 目的 are totally irrelevant here.So the に in the op still indicates 目的 but is not interchangeable with ために.
I was supposed to say 最初はすごく理解されるのに苦労した here.In addition, I think 最初はすごく理解されるのに大変だった should be translated as:
Instances of [動詞連体形] のに大変だ or [名詞] に大変だ are too numerous to be mistakes for another more legitimate construction. Whether or not these constructions are illegitimate from a prescriptivist point of view, they are on their own. My #3 supra was a suggestion at finding their parallel in 躍起だ and speculating their origin in 大変な思いをする.The に in 最初はすごく理解されるのに大変だった is, just as the one in 他店との差別化に大変, mistaken for が.
OK.You should steer clear of 目的. It has nothing to do with the discussion here.
What is “dative に”?the dative に.
If this doesn’t refer to 目的, what else can it mean? And I’m wondering how Flaminius would translate the op example and 最初はすごく理解されるのに大変だったけれど, since you two seem to disagree over the function of the に?aim of an endeavour