Based on my understanding, it seems that "な-adjectives" and "nouns" both function as nouns in the grammatical sense with the exception that "な-adjectives" are linked to other nouns with な and "nouns" are linked to other nouns with の. What is the origin of this distinction? How has it come to be that we have a "な class" and "の class" of what otherwise seem to be the same part of speech?

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    People say that they’re a kind of noun, and they definitely seem to be similar to nouns, but they can’t be subjects, which you might want as one of your criteria for a noun class… – user1478 Sep 10 '19 at 16:12
  • Related answer: japanese.stackexchange.com/a/48587/22352 – ajsmart Sep 10 '19 at 16:15

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