ない

Contents

JapaneseEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From Old Japanese. The adjectivizing suffix appears to derive ultimately from ancient copula or stative verb ‎(nu).

SuffixEdit

ない ‎(romaji -nai)

  1. used to form derivative -i adjectives from other terms: having that quality, having that state; very much that quality or state
     (せつ)ない (いと)ない、ぎこちない
    setsunai, itokenai, gikochinai
    very moving, really young of manner, having clumsiness
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

First appears in texts from the late Muromachi period as an eastern-dialect term. Sometimes described as related to ancient eastern-dialect negative ending なふ ‎(nafu), but there is a sizable gap of time between the apparent disappearance of nafu and the emergence of nai.[1]

That said, both nafu and nai probably derive ultimately from ancient copula or stative verb ‎(nu), with the negative sense originating from the 未然形 ‎(mizenkei, irrealis or incomplete form) of the verb stem, to which these endings attach.

The nai ending conjugates as a regular -i adjective in modern Japanese. In the Edo period, this ending conjugated irregularly, including nanda instead of modern nakatta (past), and naikereba instead of modern nakereba (conditional).[1]

AdjectiveEdit

ない ‎(-i inflection, romaji nai)

  1. not, there is no, lack
    スプーンが ()
    Supūn ga nai.
    There is no spoon.
Alternative formsEdit

SuffixEdit

ない ‎(romaji -nai)

  1. (auxiliary) not, don't
    学校 (がっこう) ()ない
    Gakkō ni ikanai.
    I don't go to school.
Usage notesEdit

As a verb suffix, negative -nai is often classified by Japanese grammars as an auxiliary verb. Note, however, that this is essentially the same word as the adjective nai, and that this also inflects as a regular -i adjective.

SynonymsEdit
  • (rare, archaic) ‎(nu)
  • (Kansai) へん ‎(hen)
InflectionEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
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