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I'm in the middle of writing a paper in Japanese, and I can't quite figure out which is right. If I want to nominalize a な形容詞, should I affix さ or 性 at the end? I've been checking on search engines, and it seems that both are possible. Is there a difference in meaning?

I am trying to write "The ease and frequency of so-called mass incidents..."

Thus, should it be "いわゆる「群体性事件」発生の容易性と頻繁性..."

Or rather "いわゆる「群体性事件」発生の容易さと頻繁さ..." ?

Again, is there a difference in meaning? Are they both correct?

Thank you

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In case it helps you investigate further, な形容詞 (na-adjective) is more commonly called 形容動詞 when we discuss the Japanese grammar in Japanese. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jan 13 '13 at 20:44
    
If “The ease and frequency of so-called mass incidents” is the subject of a sentence, I would probably try to first rewrite the English sentence to the form “Because so-called mass incidents occur easily and frequently, …” and then translate the rewritten sentence into Japanese. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jan 13 '13 at 21:24
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1 Answer

Your sentence has the word 「容易」 which has both -な形容詞「容易な(yooi-na)」 and the -い version 「容易い(tayasu-i)」. 「容易さ」 in your sentence can be read either "yooi-sa" or "tayasu-sa". The latter is generally used and the former is rather unusual. The problem is, now all the difference could be between 容易い(tayasu-i) and 容易な(yooi-na), not -さsuffix and -性suffix. Still, I will try to thnk about what's the best choice for your sentence.

First, I don't think 「容易い(tayasu-i)」 (and naturally 「容易さ(tayasu-sa)」) can be used in that context. So, I would rather pick 「容易性」 there. A possible reason is that 「容易い」 has a similar meaning as 「簡単な」. These adjectives can be used only when describing an action/what you do. An incident just happens by itself and is by no means an action. (This reasoning is just my opinion and thus open for objections)

As for the 「頻繁」 part, I would say 「頻繁性」 is not really a valid word. However, this word does not sound as awkward as other obvious mistakes. So actually, many people may think it acceptable and only few people would complain. However, it's still worth avoiding the use of 「頻繁性」.「頻繁さ」 is okay to use, but -さsuffix makes things sound a little casual compared to -性suffix, not to mention you already have 「容易性」 for a preceding word. So I recommend you to choose a word with a -性suffix that is a synonym of 「頻繁さ」.

All things considered, I would go with

"いわゆる「群体性事件」の発生容易性と頻発性".

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I agree with your point that it is unnatural to use たやすい/たやすさ to mean “spontaneous/spontaneity.” However, 容易な/[容易]{ようい}さ/容易性 for the same meaning sounds equally unnatural to me. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jan 14 '13 at 0:59
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