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My intuition wants to believe that いまだに is more formal, but all the examples I've seen do not indicate that. Are they freely interchangeable? Can't say I've ever heard いまだに in spoken context (or ever really seen it often in written context either).

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Originally there was only imada. It is a compound of the noun ima (今) and the stem of the particle dani, da. It has two primary meanings: 1) not yet 2) still. When used in the positive sense 2), it emphasizes a continuation from the past.

mada is a contraction from imada. It is much more colloquial than the former. While they both share these two meanings, mada has evolved a number of other finer senses. As a result, imada is now most associated and used for its negative sense "not yet".

Note that 未 is always given the reading "imada... -zu" in 漢文 texts and means "not yet", never "still". This is origin of words such as 未来 (未だ来ず imada ko-zu, that which has not yet come --> the future).

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What are your sources for the part about it being a compound of 今 + だに. 大辞泉 seems to directly contradict this (specifically, "「今だに」と書くのは誤り。"). – istrasci Feb 15 '13 at 18:15
@istrasci: That is just saying that 今だに is wrong in current practice. Generally you should write as just Hiragana. – Jesse Good Feb 15 '13 at 22:19
@JesseGood: What part of 「今だに」と書くのは誤り indicates "current practice"? To me, that says it's incorrect to write it that way at all times. If it really stemmed from 今+だに, I don't think it would say that it's incorrect to write that way; it would probably say something like "generally you should write it as Hiragana". – istrasci Feb 15 '13 at 22:24
According to Daijisen, it is not so conclusive that the origin of だ in いまだ is the first part of だに. – Tsuyoshi Ito Feb 15 '13 at 22:29
日本国語大辞典 (2版): 名詞「今」に、助詞「だに」の語根と同じ「だ」が付いたもの – Dono Feb 16 '13 at 0:48

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