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2281Re: [SCA-JML] Re: No means no...?

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  • Anthony J. Bryant
    Dec 3, 2000
      Joshua Badgley wrote:

      > Well, my line of thinking ran mainly to the way that the adjectives are
      > split up: one of my professors in Japan liked to categorize them into
      > verb-type adjectives and noun-type adjectives.

      Well, that's not far off, although more correctly it would be "verbal
      adjectives" and "true adjectives"

      There is a historical formation for what are now "na-type adjectives" (i.e.,
      adjectives that require a "-na" before the noun they qualify, like "shizuka"
      [quiet] or "teinei" [polite] , becoming "shizuka-na hito" [quiet person] or
      "teinei-na hito" [polite person] ). These are called "keiyou doushi" (verbal
      adjectives). Historically, they all required the dantei doushi ("copula")
      following them. The copular ending, in shuushikei (sentence ending) form was
      "-nari." "Kono heya wa shizuka nari" Means "This room is quiet." To say "a
      quiet room" one said (in old Japanese) "shizuka-naru heiya." That naru is the
      copular "nari" in the rentaikei ("attributive") form.

      Since modern Japanese doesn't bother with many of those endings, and "nari"
      (itself a contraction of "ni ari") has long since been replaced with "da/de
      aru" as the copula, that rentaikei "naru" has become "na".

      True adjectives (keiyoushi) in Japanese didn't require copular ending (though
      some might tack a copula to the end of the sentence in a more polite/formal
      setting). The modern "utsukushii hito" (a pretty person) and "Kono hito wa
      utsukushii" (this person is pretty) uses the same form of the adjective and no
      copula. In classical Japanese, the rentaikei and shuushikei were different;
      "utsukushiki hito" is rentaikei while the shuushikei is "ka no hito wa
      utsukushi." Note the single "i" instead of the modern double.

      > Noun-type adjectives use
      > 'na' to modify something which has that quality, and nouns use 'no' to
      > modify something as being possessed of that noun.

      Well, I can understand trying to come up with a simple way to describe it, but
      I'm having trouble seeing what one has to do with the other. All adjectives in
      the appositive describe their quality to the noun they precede, regardless of
      whether the adjective uses "na."

      How is "takai tatemono" (tall building) syntactically or grammatically
      different from "burei na yatsu" (rude jerk)? They are both an adjective in
      appostition to a noun, "modifying" that noun.

      In fact, there is no difference between na and non-na adjectives in usage.

      It has to do with the historical form of the adjective. And in fact, that
      division just doesn't hold water. In fact, there is a class that can be either
      na-type OR normal, and has the exact same function/meaning; it's just a
      syntactical choice as to which the speaker/writer uses. "wakana bouzu" means
      "young kid" and so does "wakai/wakaki bouzu." Which one is "quality" and which
      is "possession"?

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