I am confused by the use of なんか, especially after the て-form of a verb. What do: あきらめてなんかない, 消えてなんかない mean? How do they differ from simply saying あきらめていない, 消えていない? What is the purpose of なんか

  • What is it about the て-verb usage in particular that is confusing? How about its use with nouns, like お金なんかいらない? – Paul Richter Jan 25 '12 at 3:54
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    @PaulRichter I guess it's the construction that confuses me. お金なんかいらない would mean "I don't need things like money" compared to a simple お金いらない which is just "I don't need money" right? – Tareq Jan 25 '12 at 4:51
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    'I don't need money' would be お金'は'いらない, no? And お金なんかいらない can also be said as お金'など'いらない I think. – user1016 Jan 25 '12 at 5:59
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    Related: Usage of なんて and なんか as emphasis. – Flaw Jan 25 '12 at 11:54

Paul Richter's answer is partially right in the sense that なんか adds "emphasis against an assumption or statement by others and is used only in negative statements", but more accurately, なんか used here is not the same as 何か, and it means such thing as.

'I have not given up.'

あきらめて なんか (い)ない
'I haven't done such thing as giving up.'

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    I think the point of contention is not what it means but rather where it's derived from. Your answer would be great if you could shed light on its etymology. You still get a +1 for putting forth a clear concise answer though. – Flaw Jan 25 '12 at 12:03
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    I would state explicitly that なんか・など disparages (the idea/mention of) the previous noun/verb. "Emphasis against" isn't specific/obvious enough, and "such things as" can be misinterpreted as representing nothing more than a list. But I think the idea of using "such a thing" is a good one for representing this nuance of なんか・など, so +1. – Hyperworm Jan 25 '12 at 12:09
  • @sawa Btw is it true that [A]なんか always attaches a derogatory feel to [A] (like in the example sentence above)? – Pacerier May 25 '12 at 5:53
  • @Not necessarily. It can mean that [A] is far out of the scope of reality or reach or the context. 結婚なんかまだ考えられません – user458 May 25 '12 at 9:11

Not really different from this. Basically a weak .

For your examples, they're essentially the same as あきらめては(い)ない and 消えては(い)ない with the added nuance of なんか that the other post explains.

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    I do not think that introducing は helps understanding the construct. あきらめてなんかない is closer to あきらめてない than あきらめてはいない or あきらめてはない. (あきらめてはない sounds less natural to me than the other three, but this is a separate issue.) – Tsuyoshi Ito Jan 25 '12 at 0:56
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    @Flaw: How does adding the complicate things? – istrasci Jan 25 '12 at 15:24

For me なんか keeps his meaning whatever its position. In this case, it's often to make your point. It can express surprise, anger etc...

あきらめてなんかない => I did not give up "and it's not close".

あきらめていない => I did not give up.


なんか (何か)means "something" so in this case it can be taken as "or anything of the sort", "...it's nothing like that", or "in any way". It gives emphasis against an assumption or statement by others and is used only in negative statements.

I would always include the い (...なんかいない rather than ...なんかない).

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    If I am not mistaken, なんか in the question is different from なんか which means “something” as in “なんか飲む?” The latter is なにか with /i/ dropped, but なんか in the question cannot be replaced with なにか. – Tsuyoshi Ito Jan 25 '12 at 1:09
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    It's not syntactically the same (it couldn't be replaced), but morphologically it's clear so. 「あきらめてなんかはいない」 could be derived from: 「あきらめてるような何かはしていない」"I am not doing anything like giving up". – Paul Richter Jan 25 '12 at 1:22
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    dic.yahoo.co.jp/…   「あいつなんか(、)嫌い」「あいつ、なんか嫌い」 are completely different. Paul, could you elaborate on that "syntactically the same" and "morphologically the same" mean, exactly? Replaced and mean the same, or replaced and still be a valid sentence? – dainichi Jan 25 '12 at 5:32
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    dainichi's yahoo dictionary reference clearly states that なんか is a contraction of なに + か。Here are the four usage examples it gives, and my plausible translations: 「この着物なんかお似合いです」A kimono such as this suits you. 「映画なんかよく行く」I go to places such as the movies. 「彼の言うことなんか聞くな」Don't listen to things such as what he says. 「君になんかわからない」Someone such as you wouldn't understand. The last two are exactly the same as the usage in the OP, as is the second definition. – Paul Richter Jan 25 '12 at 9:50
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    If the link I provided above is reliable, the etymology of ~なんか is なにか, even if semantically it is more similar to ~など. I think this is supported by the fact that the dialectal なんぞ is used as both ~なんか and なん(に)か~ – dainichi Jan 26 '12 at 0:39

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