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
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

2 Answers 2

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
    
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

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
    
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

This site is currently not accepting new answers.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .