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I was reading page 5 of my 上級へのとびら textbook, and in line 12, the following sentence caught my eye:

日本は南北長いので……

I cannot figure out why the に is used instead of が (南北が長い). Is に the 連用形 of なる here?

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    Upvoted being a fan of Tobira myself. I read it all three times over the years. – Tommy Jul 18 '17 at 8:09
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Turns a noun 南北 into an adverbial expression, i.e. answers the question "how?" Let's say ..."north-south-directionally".

And the expression then modifies the adjective "long".

In English it would translate to "long in north-south direction".

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日本語

「日本は南北方向に長い」という意味で「日本は南北に長い」と言います。 「東西に長い」も「東西方向に長い」の代わりにごく普通に使います。

English

We usually say "日本は南北に長い" having a meaning of "日本は南北方向に長い". In addition to this, it is very common to use "東西に長い" in place of "東西方向に長い".

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