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As the title above, why do japanese locals remove theいfrom the いadjective when speaking. For example, I have heard words like 早、やば、高 being used when speaking. Is this only used amongst friends (very casual), or can it also be used in formal situations?

I know that removing the い from the adjective and appending a さ turns the adjective into a noun. But if さ is not appended, will it stay as a verb, rather then bring turned into a noun?

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It's uttered as a colloquial, casual and exclamatory phrase. It's typically used in response to a situation/stimulation that strikes you suddenly. is often added after the stem.

  • 高っ! (Wow,) it's expensive!
  • やば(っ)! (Wow,) this is bad!
  • 痛っ! Ouch!
  • きもちわる(っ)! Gross!

In formal settings, you should generally avoid this, but no one would blame you for saying 痛っ or 熱っ if you are really suffering.

Related: In real life, do Japanese speakers exclaim things like 熱っ! or 痛たた… or 寒!?

Not all i-adjectives work like this. We rarely say 悲しっ or 寂しっ, presumably because these are not "sudden" stimulation. Most adjectives used like this are negative ones, but there are exceptions (うまっ, 安っ, ...).

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    If I may, I would like to add that I often hear some い adjectives slurred further more by changing the last sound into え sound to express a stronger exclamation. (e.g. 高っ→たけっ!, やばっ→やべっ!, 痛っ→いてっ!, 長っ→なげっ!). But as naruto said, It is only in informal situations. – John Jul 30 at 10:56
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    @John Yes, that's /ai/-to-/ee/ change, which is strongly informal and may be used in combination with this. – naruto Jul 30 at 11:02
  • Thanks for the answer,. What does appending っ to the i adjective do in terms of it pronounciation. For example is やばっ pronounced as yabba or is it yabaa – Newbie Jul 30 at 12:32
  • @Newbie Its role is small in terms of pronunciation, but see: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/1457/5010 – naruto Jul 30 at 12:35

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