い-adjectives negate in the following way.
How I've always interpreted process is that we're basically changing the adjective 「大きい」 into the adverb form 「大きく」 and then tacking on 「ない」, which is itself an adjective describing negation.
One thing that seems weird is of course that「ない」is an adjective and not a verb, so why would our adjective need to be changed into an adverb first? Perhaps it is because in context we would see 「ないです」, which itself functions as a verb? So perhaps in the sentence 「大きくないです」, we are seeing an outer structure outer structure of 「大きく」 and an inner structure of 「ないです」.
Usually, I see 「大きくないです」 romanized as
ookikunai desu instead of
ookiku naidesu, so this makes me doubt my thinking.
Is the way I described above a correct way of interpreting this inflection? If not, what would be a proper way?