3

Even here in Osaka I don't hear it very often among anyone even remotely young, but where does this come from originally? Does anyone have a reference on hand?

If I myself had to guess from what I know of classical Japanese I would think it could be

(打ち消し)ぬ → (連用形)に + あり + たり → にありたり → にありた → なりた → なんだ

Thanks.

  • 1
    Martin doesn't give an etymology, but he lists なんだ→なかった, なんだら→なかったら, なんだり→なかったり, and he adds early Meiji literary usages なんだれ(ど) and んだら→なんだら. – snailcar Jul 26 '14 at 11:15
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According to a dictionary,

この語の成立については未詳。一説に「ぬあった」の転かともいう

source

  • Figured as much; I've never been able to find anything definitive. I'll leave this open a bit longer and then hand the answer your way if nobody else can dig anything up. – Brandon Aug 4 '14 at 13:11

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