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My question is in relation to the pattern that appears at the end of sentences such as:

本当なんです。
本当なの。
これから行くんです。
これから行くの。

I've seen this called the "extended predicate" around the web. To be clear, I'm not asking what it means or how to use it. I'm curious where this term "extended predicate" came from. It doesn't feel particularly descriptive to me. Is it a standard way of referring to this pattern? Are there other names? And is there a standard name for the pattern in Japanese?

  • It may not be descriptive, but I would think it was reasonable enough naming as extended predicate does more than just providing a simple piece of information. Technical terms are often not descriptive at all. I had no idea what the "cocktail party effect" meant in psychology when I first heard it. – l'électeur Sep 15 '15 at 14:54
  • In the case of things like 本当なんだ it could be related to the fact that both な and だ are copulas and make a kind of double predicate? – Brandon Sep 16 '15 at 12:17
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I think this was first used in Eleanor Jorden's Beginning Japanese (1962). Here's how it's described on page 56 of her text:

Grammatically speaking, an extended predicate consists of a nominal n̄/no + √da predicate, with the nominal preceded by a sentence modifier.

Jorden was a prominent structuralist and student of Bernard Bloch, but I don't think Bloch ever used the term himself, and I don't think the term caught on with other structuralists or more generally in linguistics, although you might see it occasionally.

I think it's called an "extended predicate" because it adds another layer of predication to the clause:

〔〜だ〕+のだ = 〔〜な〕のだ

That doesn't really describe when it's used or what it means, but you'd be hard-pressed to come up with a label for のだ that does either of those things. A full definition simply won't fit in a short label. And that's okay—Labels Are Not Definitions.

Among both learners and linguists, in both English and Japanese, the most common term I've seen for this is simply のだ. That's also what you'll find it under in most dictionaries, and I think it's the closest you'll get to a standard name.

Sometimes this is written in katakana as ノダ in linguistics (to make the Use-Mention Distinction), as in the phrase ノダ文.

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