Why I-keiyoushi is used more in reduplicated words than na-keiyoushi?

  • Do you mean words like 馬鹿馬鹿しい, 苦々しい, 久々な, 楽々な?
    – naruto
    Oct 13, 2017 at 2:50
  • Yeah like that. I mean I-keiyoushi and Na-keiyoushi which is the form before reduplicate such as 高々、黒々、楽々、those are derived by I-keiyoushi and Na-keiyoushi, right?
    – user25631
    Oct 13, 2017 at 2:57
  • 1
    Some are, but many are pure adverbs or adverbs that optionally take と. せいぜい, たかだか and most onomatopoeia do not work as an adjective.
    – naruto
    Oct 13, 2017 at 3:13
  • If you say so...why i-keiyoushi is used more?
    – user25631
    Oct 13, 2017 at 10:58

1 Answer 1


The usages of those "reduplicated words" vary.

  • 仰々しい, 苦々しい, 馬鹿馬鹿しい: works only as an i-adjective
  • 高々, 渋々, 延々, 脈々, 飄々, 黙々, 泣く泣く, ワンワン, ピューピュー, じゃんじゃん: works only as a standalone adverb (some are followed by と)
  • 様々: works only as a na-adjective
  • 直々: works only as a no-adjective
  • 喧々諤々, 明々白々: works both as a na-adjective and a no-adjective
  • 色々: works both as a na-adjective and a standalone adverb
  • ピカピカ, バリバリ: works both as a no-adjective and a standalone adverb
  • 軽々(しい): works both as an i-adjective and a standalone adverb
  • 楽々: works as a na-adjective, a no-adjective and a standalone adverb

Note that adjectives can of course conjugate into their adverbial form and be used adverbially, too (eg 仰々しく, 様々に, 直々に).

Among these, probably the largest category is "only as a standalone adverb", because most onomatopoeia and mimetic words fall into this category. As you can see, even many kanji reduplicated words refuse to accept all of しい, な and の (we don't say ×飄々しい, ×飄々な, ×飄々の).

To answer your question, I'm not sure which is statistically larger in number. Is it really the fact backed up by some existing research? If reduplicated na-adjectives are really relatively less common than reduplicated i-adjectives, that's probably because many words are used as no-adjectives instead of na-adjectives.

  • No it isnt..its just Ive found data and na-adjectives are less common, so those are just my assumption. I still dont get it about no-adjectives, what is it?
    – user25631
    Oct 14, 2017 at 22:12
  • No-adjectives are words like 緑色(の) and 最高(の). See this.
    – naruto
    Oct 15, 2017 at 0:52
  • Ookay, i think i must read those..thank you so much for your answer!! I appreciate😊
    – user25631
    Oct 17, 2017 at 9:16

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