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Kanji in this term

Grade: 4
Grade: 4
Grade: 2

Compound of 未然 (mizen, literally not yet occurred) +‎ (kei, form). Historically called 将然言 (しょうぜんげん) (shōzengen), 未然段 (みぜんだん) (mizendan).[1]



未然形 (hiragana みぜんけい, rōmaji mizenkei)

  1. (grammar) a Japanese verbal inflectional category: the irrealis form
    Indicates that something has not yet happened, or not yet begun.

Usage notesEdit

This term is used in the traditional description of Japanese grammar. In 日本語教育文法, this is called the ない形 (-nai kei, -nai form) as it is used before the suffix ない (-nai). In the western analysis of Japanese grammar, it is not an inflected form but a derived stem, called for example the "a- stem" in Bjarke Frellesvig's works. Some analyses such as John R. Bentley's A Descriptive Grammar Of Early Old Japanese Prose even do not posit such a stem at all, instead analyzing the a as part of the suffix (e.g. yuk-azu instead of yuka-zu).

Related termsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
  2. ^ 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN
  3. ^ 1998, NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典 (NHK Japanese Pronunciation Accent Dictionary) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: NHK, →ISBN
  4. ^ 1997, 新明解国語辞典 (Shin Meikai Kokugo Jiten), Fifth Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN
  • Shibatani, Masayoshi (1990) The languages of Japan, Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, pages 221-224