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Naruto found out that another character had been given a tempting offer and Naruto said:


What is の doing here, grammatically? is it nominalization? I think I've heard stuff before like 今のだれ? and I've been interpreting it as the nominalizing の, where the topic is 今の and it means "that person just now".

Can you insert は into these sentences?



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sorry i guess i was just asking about how it works grammatically, but maybe the question could be expanded? –  ogicu8abruok Apr 27 '12 at 4:08
@ogicu8abruok Btw do you have a link to the context? (video / manga) –  Pacerier Apr 27 '12 at 6:10
@Pacerier I think it was in the first or second chapter of volume 19 of the manga. I'll try to find a scan later. –  ogicu8abruok Apr 27 '12 at 12:55
@Flaw so are you saying that そんなの could refer to the "tempting offer"? because that makes a lot of sense in context. (sorry, i couldn't find a scan) –  ogicu8abruok Apr 29 '12 at 3:19
@ogicu8abruok I could not find the original Japanese text. I did some googling around and I found that most probably you are referring to Naruto Volume 19 Chapter 162 Page 14. –  Flaw Apr 29 '12 at 13:12
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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I believe that the の here is the same の as the の which is explained in this thread: What is the difference between the nominalizers こと and の?

Basically the の here is a noun which means "thing". It is similar to こと (noun) which also means "thing". The difference between の and こと is that の is used when the "thing" is related to the speaker. This is furthur elaborated in Derek's post: http://japanese.stackexchange.com/a/1396/264.

そんな is a pre-nominal adjective, also known as an attributive (連体詞). A normal adjective can be used in two ways, either attributively or predicatively. For example, the adjective 暑い can be used in these ways:

  1. Attributively: 暑い日 (hot day)

  2. Predicatively: 日は暑い (day is hot)

A pre-nominal adjective can only be used attributively, so we can say "そんな日" , but not "日はそんな"

So we can roughly dissect the sentence "そんなの答えはNOだってばよ!" into 6 parts:

  1. pre-nominal adjective そんな: such as that, like that

  2. noun の:

  3. noun 答え: answer

  4. topic-marker は (optional due to ellipsis)

  5. quoted "NO"

  6. copula だ

Note that since we can't simply chain nouns together (unless to form compound nouns), there exists a break between "の" and "答え". The sentence is clearer if we put a comma as such: "そんなの、答えはNOだってばよ!"

Putting it all together, a literal translation of the sentence "そんなの答えはNOだってばよ!" goes like this: "As for thing(s) such as that, the answer is/will be "NO". ってばよ!"

Putting it into the context of the story (chapter 162 or episode 92 @16:12), it means "As for a trade such as that (such as healing arms for resurrecting Tsunade's kin), the answer will be "NO". ってばよ!".

Using another example, the sentence "そんなのいらない!" can also be dissected into different parts:

  1. pre-nominal adjective そんな: such as that, like that

  2. noun の: thing

  3. topic-marker は (optional due to ellipsis)

  4. inflected verb いらない: do not need

And when the parts are merged, a literal translation of the sentence "そんなのいらない!" goes like this: "As for thing(s) such as that, (I) don't need!"

の as the no-particle

As for the の in the sentence "今のはだれ?", it is a totally different の compared to the の in "そんなの". The の in "今のはだれ?" is the genitive no-particle. Basically the function of the no-particle is to convert a noun into an adjective so that it can describe (modify) a noun. This is elaborated in this article: Genitive Case.

The sentence "今のはだれ?" is dissected into:

  1. noun 今: just now

  2. genitive particle の (converts the noun 今 into an adjective to describe 人)

  3. noun 人: person (optional due to ellipsis)

  4. topic-marker は (optional due to ellipsis)

  5. (pro)noun だれ: who

And the literal translation of the sentence "今のはだれ?" is roughly: "As for just now that (person), is who?".

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Uh I think you meant to ask "Perhaps the の in 今のは誰 refers to a person in a way similar to そんなの?". ,if so, the の in "今のは誰?" cannot refer to a person because 今 is a noun and we cannot have a noun modifying another noun unless to form a compound noun. –  Pacerier Apr 30 '12 at 1:29
@Flaw Ellipsis is different from anaphora (in case we are talking about different things, I'm referring to the one @ goo.gl/nWWQO), for example, in the sentence "Susan dropped the plate. It shattered loudly.", "it" refers to the phrase "the plate", a case of anaphora. However now instead of "It shattered loudly.", we apply ellipsis on "it" giving us "[It] Shattered loudly.", "shattered" is still a verb, "loudly" is still an adverb, and "it" still refers to the plate. The grammatical functions of all the words in the sentence remains unchanged regardless of ellipsis. –  Pacerier Apr 30 '12 at 3:30
Similarly, in "今の(人)は誰?", the "の" isn't referring to the person. The "の" is referring to the no-particle, the person is referred to by the "人". Regardless of whether the "人" is omitted or not due to ellipsis, the grammatical functions of the words in the sentence remains unchanged. "の" still refers to the no-particle and the "人" still refers to the person. The "の" doesn't suddenly refer to a person since it is still the no-particle and not a noun. Particles cannot be used anaphorically, words that can be used anaphorically are the pronouns e.g. これ, ここ こう, この, こいつ, 彼女, 彼 etc. –  Pacerier Apr 30 '12 at 3:30
let us continue this discussion in chat –  Flaw Apr 30 '12 at 3:37
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From what I've gathered and figured out. This is what is happening:

  • Orochimaru asks Tsunade to heal his arms although she had no intentions of helping him.

  • Tsunade is reconsidering the matter after he offers to resurrect her dead brother and lover.

  • He is asking for her response to that matter.

  • Naruto is replying on behalf of Tsunade saying "そんなの答えはNOだってばよ"

I believe that そんなの here is used as a noun representing Orochimaru's (absurd) demand.

Probably because Naruto believes that Orochimaru's demands are never reasonable so he uses "such as"(そんな) to to generalise all of Orochimaru's demands forming "demands such as that(referring to Orochimaru's )" hence "そんなの".

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I don't think the last paragraph is right, most likely the "such as" is referring to demands such as that demand, regardless of who made the demand. Just my 2 cents.. –  Pacerier Apr 30 '12 at 1:25
@Pacerier and "such as that" would be referring to the kinds made by Orochimaru. –  Flaw Apr 30 '12 at 2:48
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Re: そんなの答えはNOだってばよ

"Sonna no" means "to that sort of thing".

"Sonna no kotae wa ...": the answer to that sort of thing ....

This is the "possessive" の, keeping in mind that the combination A の B denotes many possible kinds of relationships between A and B. It is not a nominalization.

Other use of sonna: "Sonna koto iwanaide!": don't say such a thing. Very common phrase.

Re: insert は:

  1. そんなのは答えはNOだってばよ

    This sounds okay, but the second は should change to が. The の is now shifting into a different role, expressing "the one which ..." or "something which ...". For example あかいのください (please give me the red one) or 甘いの好きですよ。(Amai no suki desu yo. I like something which is sweet. I like sweets, eh!) It now says, "As for that sort of thing, the answer is NO!"  

  2. 今のはだれ?

    This is saying, "And the present one ("current", "of now"), who is it?" Suppose A and B talking about who was the boss of A's company previously:

    A: Last year's boss was Mr. Tanaka: *去年の*社長は田中さんです。

    B: Is that right? Who is the boss now? そうですか?*今の*はだれ?

So in summary, you don't really have the nominalizing の for making relative clauses, but other kinds of の.

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Bug: the double-asterisk notation gives me a nice bold in the edit preview, but when I save the answer, it turns into italicized kanji with asterisks around it. –  Kaz Apr 28 '12 at 8:24
Btw I was wondering if the possessive の requires that A and B both be nouns, how can the の in "そんなの答え" be the possessive の? –  Pacerier Apr 28 '12 at 18:13
Good question; I suspect this this may be the case of an elided/understood こと, as in: そんなことの答え . I think suspect there is looseness in の because of the existence of the other form, like 甘いの. It is used with nouns which have particles, too: あなたからの手紙 (the letter from you). –  Kaz Apr 28 '12 at 18:52
I do not think that the の in question is the possessive の. It sounds plausible to have a こと implicitly present. –  Flaw Apr 29 '12 at 13:56
Possessive isn't the right word; I was just using it for convenience. My reasoning (perhaps wrong) is justified like this. Makino and Tsutsui (A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar) recognize four different kinds of の. The AのB no relating A and B (what I called "possessive", clarifying that it's not just for possessive relations); the Aの where no is like a pronoun similar to "one"; the nominalizing の; and the sentence final の used mostly by women and children. This そんなの答え seems to fits the pattern AのB better than it fits the other patterns because there is a B and A is not a clause. –  Kaz Apr 29 '12 at 20:44
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