Take the 2-minute tour ×
Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I saw a film where in two separate scenes the characters seemed to use the "imperative-prohibition" to invite the opposite action:

1.In one scene a father after explaining something to his son appeared to ask his son if he could understand what he had explained:

「わかるな」?

It was as if he had said: 「[おれのいうこと]、分かりませんか」?

2.In another scene a woman invited a child to sit on a chair that she was pointing at:

「すわんな」

As if she had said: 「座りませんか」

In both cases I am sure I have quoted the subtitles correctly but is this really the imperative prohibition or have I missed something?

share|improve this question
1  
Those have different accent/intonation patters from the imperative prohibition (at least in the Tokyo dialect). –  Gradius Aug 13 '12 at 18:52

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I think in that context, that わかるな? uses sense 3 of this entry at Daijirin to "seek agreement or a response". It might be similar to わかるよね? ("you understand, right?")

I think すわんな would be a more colloquial form of 座りな/座りなさい "sit down". I think here is a shortened form of なさい to make a command as in this entry. Note this is different from the prohibitional 座るな "don't sit".

share|improve this answer
2  
To summarise: neither one is the prohibitional な. –  Zhen Lin Aug 13 '12 at 9:38
    
how common is this construct? I've never heard it before... –  Ataraxia Aug 13 '12 at 12:56
    
Because both are considered rude. –  Gradius Aug 13 '12 at 19:02
    
@Gradius: But apparently ok to use with children (which does not sound strange). –  Tim Aug 13 '12 at 23:41
    
@Tim You can use the expressions to children (or intimate friends), but the children don't (shouldn't) use them to adults, even to their parents. It means the expressions sound rude. –  Gradius Aug 14 '12 at 6:22

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.