月曜日, 6月 21, 2004

ゆるやか vs. なだらか

バスの窓からみると(  )丘が続いていた。
A なだらかな B ゆったりした C ゆるやかな D ゆるい

     I came across this question in a book of Japanese practice questions. I felt fairly confident the answer was C, yuruyaka na, because I knew that it means "gently sloping" and the sentence roughly translated is "When I looked out of the bus window, I saw a row of ( ) hills." When I turned to the answers, though, I found that it is A, nadaraka na, a word I had never heard before. When I looked up nadaraka in the dictionary, it refered me back to yuruyaka. If yuruyaka means "gently sloping," nadaraka means "having a gentle slope." Yet for some reason, you can't say yuruyaka about hills or mountains, only about slopes or curves. What is going on?!
      To make matters more complicated, you can apparently only say "yuruyaka na tani" gently sloping valley, not nadaraka na tani, a valley with a gentle slope.