In this answer, nkjt gives the following example of なんか insertion:

    待ってないんだから → 待ってなんかないんだから

On the left-hand side, it appears that 〜ていない is contracted to 〜てない. This is very common, of course, but as I understand it, contractions of いる to る only happen after 〜て, as in the following examples:

    持っている  → 持ってる
    持っていない → 持ってない
    持っています → 持ってます

In the example with なんか inserted, it seems that いない is contracted to ない, even though it follows something other than 〜て!

Is this possible?

If it is, I'm forced to wonder about the いません version, as well:

    持っていない  → 持ってなんかない
    持っていません → 持ってなんかません

If they are acceptable, how do you explain it? Is my "only after 〜て" rule incorrect?

  • As an aside: in reading about Japanese linguistics, I sometimes see words written like aruk- (for 歩く) or mi- (for 見る). If the auxiliary いる is written i-, then how is the contracted auxiliary written? Writing it - feels silly.
    – user1478
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 10:08
  • 1
    I don't know if these forms are standard/linguistically acceptable, but basically I think the なんか version may be an emphatic version of ~ては<い>ない. And while looking to see if I could find any better references than my gut feelings, I found: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/4431
    – nkjt
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 11:06
  • I think of なんか as the Japanese equivalent of the English "like" interjection. It is a sure marker for colloquialisms, allowing "swallowing" the い when transcribing the spoken word. Commented Sep 18, 2013 at 15:34

1 Answer 1


~てなんかない is a valid contraction of ~てなんかいない in spoken Japanese. I personally hear ~てなんかません as unnatural, but a Google search suggests that this is also technically valid, though significantly less common. (Incidentally, I find it a bit humorous that the seemingly overwhelming majority of results for "てなんかない" are 「泣いてなんかない」.)

I would say that your intuition that いない can only contract to ない after ~て is very close, and possibly exactly right... but it's likely not the ~て, but rather that it's being used as a kind of helper to another verb, which even after inserting なんか, is still the case. That's just my own guess, though.

  • 泣いてなんかない sounds like something a guy would say if he was accused of crying for being too feminine/emotional/etc.
    – istrasci
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 19:20

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