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I assumed that adverbs modify only verbals (noun + copula, adjectives, verbs, however blurred their actual distinction). However, today I came across an entry in a grammar book [ISBN-13: 978-4789012959] on an adverb さらに (更に) that can (apparently) modify other adverbs, which proves this assumption wrong. Example sentence:

クローバル時代に向けて企業の国際化をさらに強力に押し進める必要がある。In our global age, we must promote the internationalization of businesses even more forcefully.

Here, it is explicitly stated that さらに modifies 強力に and not any of the verbals that follow.

My question: is there a special name for this class of adverbs (in that entry only さらに、もっと、より、なお、 and 一層 are listed)? Is there a list or some kind of way of identifying this kind of adverbs? Do such adverbs apply only apply to nouns that can take an adjective form (like 強力な)?

Edit: I've thought about it a bit more and it seems indeed some other extent adverbs can modify an adverbial if it's formed from na-adjective, e.g. そんなに深刻にX. Is that all there is to it, just treat a noun-form na-adjective + に as something that an adverb can modify?

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    Adverbs are typically defined loosely as modifiers of things other than nouns, as in very quickly (modifying an adverb) or hopefully (modifying a sentence). In the case of Japanese, this is one reason they're called 副詞 and not 連用詞; adverbs modify stuff other than verbals. (Don't be misled by the shape of the English term adverb! The meaning suggested by its etymology is inaccurate.) – snailcar May 5 '15 at 18:46
  • 『「主として文の成分上連用修飾語に用いられる」といわれるのは、「もっとゆっくり歩け」のように、他の副詞を修飾したり、「やや東の方」のように、体言を修飾したり、「い‌​ったい、誰がそんな事を言い出したのか」のように、下にくる文全体を修飾することがあるからである。』 (日本文法大辞典, p.720) – snailcar May 5 '15 at 18:53
  • Thanks, that was helpful. Does 日本文法大辞典 go into more detail on the first part (where adverbs attach to other adverbs)? – user9771 May 5 '15 at 19:35
  • lel.ed.ac.uk/~gpullum/ZAA_final_proof.pdf Then, trying to bridge word categorization across etymologically separate languages is a fool's errand... (in my experience at least) – red shoe May 6 '15 at 13:13
  • The topic of the question, though, is how Japanese adverbs... all right, I'll call them 副詞, interact with other 副詞. Sorting out the semantics of grammar is an interesting topic but the only thing I'm trying to do at the moment is learning how to not parse sentences incorrectly. – user9771 May 6 '15 at 13:51
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My question: is there a special name for this class of adverbs (in that entry only さらに、もっと、より、なお、 and 一層 are listed)?

Yes, those are commonly called 「[程度副詞]{ていどふくし}」.

Is there a list or some kind of way of identifying this kind of adverbs?

Here is a rather extensive list of 程度副詞: http://www.weblio.jp/parts-of-speech/%E5%89%AF%E8%A9%9E(%E7%A8%8B%E5%BA%A6)_1

Do such adverbs only apply to nouns that can take an adjective form (like 強力な)?

No, 程度副詞 can modify all kinds of adjectives and verbs. They can also modify other adverbs as long as it makes sense. It does not have to be any particular type of adverbs.

Lastly, 「強力に」 is an adjective ([形容動詞]{けいようどうし}), not an adverb ([副詞]{ふくし}). In Japanese, any conjugated form of an adjective is still an adjective. It does not matter if 「強力に」 modifies verbs. If it were an adverb, it would have its own entry in the dictionary. Since it is only the 連用形 of a na-adjective, it will not be listed in a dictionary.

(This is something I have tried to explain all over internet including S.E. but have failed because English-speaking Japanese-learners tend to apply English grammar rules to Japanese, which is pointless to begin with. To them, a word that modifies a verb is an adverb. Sure, that is fine in English, but the language we talk about here is Japanese.)

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    Regarding your parenthetical remark... why do you choose to interpret "adverb" to mean 副詞 instead of 連用修飾語? The word "adverb" in English is often used to mean any word that modifies a predicate, just like 連用修飾語. – Darius Jahandarie May 7 '15 at 14:33

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