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