In this video it is said that "な-adjectives come from Chinese and tend to be written in all kanji or sometimes in hiragana because the original kanji is too complicated." But い-adjectives are written in kanji too, aren't they? (e.g. 楽しい)So, in terms of writing, is there really a principal difference?

Is it true that all な-adjectives come from Chinese? It's rather surprising because some な-adjectives express such common concepts (e.g.元気、賑やか、静か、etc.)...

  • 1
    I mean, right after they say that, they mention しずか, which is not from Chinese, so...
    – Leebo
    Nov 12, 2019 at 9:51

1 Answer 1


The answer is no. Some na-adjectives are from Western languages (e.g., スマートな, アバンギャルドな) and some are from native Japanese words (e.g., 朗らかな, 静かな). As an aside, there are also a few i-adjectives coined from English (e.g., エモい, エロい, ラグい), although they are mostly slang.

As for spelling, it is true that the dictionary forms of most na-adjectives are written in all-kanji (e.g., 簡単, 健康), whereas the dictionary form of i-adjectives contain at least い.

  • 1
    Thank you very much! So, if I see an adjective which is all-kanji, than I can be sure that it's of Chinese origin, and if I see a word like 賑やか, then it's likely to be originally Japanese. Is that right?
    – Enguroo
    Nov 12, 2019 at 10:42
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    @Enguroo There can be Japanese-origin words written in all kanji, and so you can also have Japanese-origin na-adjectives written in all kanji. For instance, 下手.
    – Leebo
    Nov 12, 2019 at 11:05
  • What’s the deal with 頑な? Nov 12, 2019 at 16:31

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