Adjectival noun (Japanese)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

An adjectival noun (Japanese: 形容動詞, keiyō-dōshi, which literally means "adjectival verb"[1]) or sometimes just adjectival is a noun that functions as an adjective by taking the particle 〜な -na (regular nouns can function adjectivally by taking the particle 〜の -no, which is analyzed as the genitive case). This term is often used in analyses of the Japanese language to refer to members of the word class commonly known as "na-adjectives".

Japanese adjectival nouns function similarly to English noun adjuncts (nouns used attributively), as in "chicken soup" or "winter coat" – in these cases the nouns "chicken" and "winter" modify the nouns "soup" and "coat" (function adjectivally).

Terminology[edit]

The terminology used to refer to these words is quite inconsistent. The Japanese term is 形容動詞, keiyō-dōshi, which literally means "adjectival verb", and gives a direct translation. However, this term is at odds with how these words are generally analyzed, leading to different choices of terminology.

Grammatically these words are nouns, or more technically nominals, which function attributively (like adjectives) – the main differences being that nouns take a 〜の -no suffix when acting attributively while these words take a 〜な -na suffix when acting attributively, and that most of these words cannot be used as the agent or patient (i.e. subject) of a sentence, but otherwise behaving essentially identically grammatically. Thus, they are various referred to as or "adjectival verbs" (literal translation), "adjectival nouns" (nouns that function adjectivally), na-adjectives (function as adjectives, take na), and na-nominals (nominals that take na). For example, Eleanor Harz Jorden refers to them as na-nominals in her textbook Japanese: The Spoken Language.

In fact, by some analyses, nouns and na-nominals are fundamentally grammatically the same, where 〜の vs. 〜な when used attributively is simply a conventional stylistic complementary distribution, with 〜の/〜な being allomorphs. This view is reinforced by the fact that some words, such as 特別 tokubetsu "special" can take either a 〜の or a 〜な, depending on the phrase.[2] Ultimately, 〜な is an abbreviation of 〜にある, used to use a noun attributively (compare modern 〜である, which is a more recent form), while 〜の is the genitive case;[2] see etymology, below.

Characterization[edit]

In traditional Japanese grammar, adjectival nouns are considered "inflectional", katsuyō, like verbs and i-adjectives, rather than non-inflectional hikatsuyōgo (非活用語) or mukatsuyōgo (無活用語), like nouns.

This is a point of disagreement in current Japanese grammar, and authors such as Uehara (1998)[3] argues that instead adjectival nouns should be classed with nouns as non-inflectional.

The claim that na-adjectives are inflectional rests on the claim that the syllable da 'is', usually regarded as a "copula verb", is really a suffix—an inflection. Thus hon 'book', generates a one-word sentence, honda 'it is a book', not a two-word sentence, hon da. However, numerous constructions seem to be incompatible with the suffixal copula claim.

(1) Reduplication for emphasis
Hora! Hon, hon! 'See, it is a book!'
Hora! Kirei, kirei! 'See, it is pretty!'
Hora! Furui, furui! 'See, it is old!' (the adjectival inflection -i cannot be left off)
Hora! Iku, iku! 'See, it does go!' (the verbal inflection -u cannot be left off)
(2) Questions. In Japanese, questions are formed by adding the particle ka (or in colloquial speech, just by changing the intonation of the sentence).
Hon/kirei ka? 'Is it a book? ; Is it pretty?'
Furu-i/Ik-u ka? 'Is it old? ; Does it go?' (the inflections cannot be left off)
(3) Several auxiliary verbs, e.g., mitai, 'looks like it's'
Hon mitai da; Kirei mitai da 'It seems to be a book; It seems to be pretty'
Furu-i mitai da; Ik-u mitai da 'It seems to be old; It seems to go'

On the basis of such constructions, Uehara (1998) finds that the copula is indeed an independent word, and that regarding the parameters on which i-adjectives share the syntactic pattern of verbs, the nominal adjectives pattern with pure nouns instead.

taru adjectives[edit]

Main article: taru adjective

In Late Old Japanese (below), a separate kind of tari adjectival nouns developed alongside the existing nari ones (nari, tari were the conclusive forms, while naru, taru were the attributive forms). The nari ones developed into the adjectival nouns (naru becoming na, while nari become da (the copula)) that are the subject of this article, while the tari ones mostly died out over the course of Late Middle Japanese, being mostly gone by Early Modern Japanese, surviving as fossils in a few words which are generally considered somewhat stiff or archaic. These are generally referred to as ト・タル形容動詞 (to, taru keiyōdōshi) or タルト型活用 (taruto-kata katsuyō – “taro, to form conjugation”), and can also function adverbally with 〜と -to, instead of the 〜に -ni which is mostly used with な nominals. See taru adjectives for further discussion in English, and 形容動詞#タルト型活用 for Japanese.

naru adjectives[edit]

Main article: naru adjective

A few nari adjectival nouns followed a similar path to tari adjectival nouns, becoming naru adjectives in Modern Japanese (analogous to taru adjectives), rather than na adjectives as most nari adjectival nouns did. These include 単なる tannaru "mere, simple" or 聖なる seinaru "holy" and are generally classed as rentaishi.

Old Japanese[edit]

Old Japanese has one type of adjectival noun with the following inflections.

Irrealis
未然形
Adverbial
連用形
Conclusive
終止形
Attributive
連体形
Realis
已然形
Imperative
命令形
-nara -nari -nari -naru -nare -nare

Late Old Japanese[edit]

Late Old Japanese has two types of adjectival nouns: nar- and tar-.

Type Irrealis
未然形
Adverbial
連用形
Conclusive
終止形
Attributive
連体形
Realis
已然形
Imperative
命令形
Nar- -nara -nari
-ni
-nari -naru -nare -nare
Tar- -tara -tari
-to
-tari -taru -tare -tare

The newly developed tar- inflections are used in kanbun kundoku (reading a Chinese text in Japanese).

Early Middle Japanese[edit]

Early Middle Japanese has two types of adjectival nouns: na- and tar-.

Type Irrealis
未然形
Adverbial
連用形
Conclusive
終止形
Attributive
連体形
Realis
已然形
Imperative
命令形
Na- -nara -nari
-ni
-nari -naru
-na
-nare  
Tar-   -to -tari -taru    

Late Middle Japanese[edit]

Late Middle Japanese has two types of adjectival nouns: na and t-.

Type Irrealis
未然形
Adverbial
連用形
Conclusive
終止形
Attributive
連体形
Realis
已然形
Imperative
命令形
N- -nara -ni
-de
-dya
-na
-naru
-na
no
-nare  
T-   -to   -taru    

Early Modern Japanese (Kamigata)[edit]

The early half of Early Middle Japanese as exhibited in the Kamigata region has a single type of adjectival noun with the following inflections.

Irrealis
未然形
Adverbial
連用形
Conclusive
終止形
Attributive
連体形
Realis
已然形
Imperative
命令形
  -ni
-de
-na -na -nare  

The deteriorating tar- type is lost.

Early Modern Japanese (Edo)[edit]

The later half of Early Modern Japanese as found in Edo has a single type of adjectival noun with the following inflections.

Irrealis
未然形
Adverbial
連用形
Conclusive
終止形
Attributive
連体形
Hypothetical
仮定形
Imperative
命令形
-daro -daQ
-de
-ni
-da -na -nara  

Modern Japanese[edit]

There is one type of adjectival noun in modern usage, with inflections as follows.

Irrealis
未然形
Adverbial
連用形
Conclusive
終止形
Attributive
連体形
Hypothetical
仮定形
Imperative
命令形
-daro -daQ
-de
-ni
-da -na -nara  
  • The modern inflections are based on two primitive forms: d- and n-. The n- forms are historically older while the d- forms are newer and have replaced some of the older n- forms.
  • Irrealis -daro is found with particle -u, resulting in -darou (-darō). Historically it was -dara. /au/ regularly changed into [ō].
  • Adverbial -daQ is often found with past particle -ta, resulting in "daQta" -> "datta".
  • Adverbial -de is found before "aru" and "nai", as well as being used in to terminate one clause before beginning another (中止法).
  • Adverbial -ni is used in adverbial constructions.
  • Modern Japanese no longer inflects for imperative.

Etymology[edit]

All forms of the copula (the vehicle for the inflection of adjectival nouns) can be considered to derive from two infinitive forms, ni and to. Because the copula lacked any other forms, secondary conjugations with the verb ari were used. The original ni ari and to ari contracted to form nari and tari. To derive the modern forms na and da, changes such as the following have been proposed.

For attributive na (rentaikei):

  • ni aru > naru > na

For predicative da (shūshikei):

  • ni te ari > de ari > de a > da

In some regions these changes progressed differently, resulting in forms such as ja or ya.

The infinitive form ni is still in widespread use (e.g. hen ni naru, "become strange"), but the form to has become a much rarer alternative.

References[edit]

  1. ^ In the traditional Japanese grammar, keiyō-dōshi, literally "adjectival verb", includes the copula, while the adjectival noun in the analysis shown here doesn't include it. For example, in the traditional grammar, kirei da is a keiyō-dōshi and kirei is its stem; in the analysis here, kirei is an adjectival noun and kirei da is its combination with the copula. Considering the copula is a kind of verb and kirei is a kind of noun syntactically, both names make sense.
  2. ^ a b answer by Boaz Yaniv, 2011 Jun 10, to why is it that some 形容動詞 accepts の after it while some only accepts な after it? on Japanese Language and Usage at StackExchange
  3. ^ Uehara 1998, chapter 2, especially §2.2.2.2

See also[edit]