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.

What is the purpose of the suffix "さ" on adjectives like 美しさ and 多さ?

The former is the title of an essay by Banana Yoshimoto, so I don't have much context for it. The book editors translated it as "On beauty" which didn't help me understand what this さ business was all about.

In the case of the latter, she writes:

"品揃えの多さについつい買い込んでしまい、大荷物を抱えて併設の花屋に行った。"

Which I understand as:

"There were many goods there that, against my better judgement, I had purchased. Carrying the bags I went to the attached flower shop."

share|improve this question
4  
Related: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/1417/78 –  istrasci Aug 31 '12 at 19:00
1  
“In this case 美しさ.” In which case? –  Tsuyoshi Ito Aug 31 '12 at 22:11
    
It's the title of the essay, so I didn't have much context for it. The book editors translated it as "On beauty" which didn't help me understand what this さ business was all about. –  horatius83 Sep 6 '12 at 20:35
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

It serves the same purpose as "-ness" in English; making an adjective into a noun.

速さ = speed; quickness
高さ = height; "tallness"
長さ = length; "longness"
新しさ = newness
大きさ = size; largeness

and in your case:

多さ = multitude 美しさ = beauty

So in this context, the expression means "I, against my better judgement, bought a multitude of goods."

share|improve this answer
    
Your translation is only for the part ついつい買い込んでしまい. In particular, the bold “multitude” does not correspond to 多さ in the original sentence. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Aug 31 '12 at 22:08
add comment

As phoenixheart6 wrote, suffix -さ makes a noun from an adjective. I am not sure if you have a problem with this. But it seems that you have a misunderstanding about the role of に. In a sentence

品揃えの多さについつい買い込んでしまった。

に means “because of.” 買い込む means “to buy many things.” Therefore, it means:

Because of the variety of goods they sell, I ended up buying too many things against my better judgment.

share|improve this answer
    
Yes, I usually understand に in the context of moving in a direction or time, so に being used in the the sense of causing something was lost on me. –  horatius83 Sep 6 '12 at 20:32
    
The particle に is definitely my Achilles heel when it comes to particles. Thanks for catching me on that. –  Ataraxia Sep 14 '12 at 1:37
add comment

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.