I seem to hear and read this construction often, but can't seem to find any information about it on Google (or other search engines), as well as other sites I've checked. I've tried several different search queries in different combinations but had no luck. A more complete example would be:


It might be -きゃ instead of -っきゃ, actually. I'm not sure. This is the only example I can think of off the top of my head, and I'm not quite sure if the verb form is potential (守れる) or simple present (守る) before the (probably) negative (-な-) and the unknown (-っきゃ or -きゃ) suffix are added. I also believe it could be a colloquial contraction or construction due to the context and surrounding language.

Edit: Apparently, this is very similar to another question. I apologize for the duplicate question. Thank you Ben for pointing me in the right direction, and thank you very much Justin N for your answer. They both help a lot. And I apologize for the duplicate. I'll make sure I am more thorough in my future searches, too.


なきゃ is a shortened way of saying なければ, which in your example is then followed by an implicit ならない. This is the standard way of saying that you should do something by saying that not doing it would be bad. There's a similar contraction of なくては to なくちゃ, also frequently used with the implicit ならない.

To use this, you first conjugate the verb to the negative, ending in ない (because you're going to say that not doing it is bad). Then use the i-adjective rules to conjugate to the conditional form ending in なければ, then substitute that with なきゃ.

Regarding the small つ, that's likely just a bit of flair that reflects the way the person was speaking.

  • I thought it was なければ. Wiktionary seems to agree: ja.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E3%81%AA%E3%81%8D%E3%82%83 – Super-User Mar 16 '20 at 3:43
  • I'm not one to argue with the wiki, but なくては and なければ are basically the same. – Justin N Mar 16 '20 at 3:47
  • I don't see any sources on that wiktionary page. If somebody with more knowledge of the etymology wants to chime in, that would be helpful. – Justin N Mar 16 '20 at 3:49
  • 2
    based on common sound changes なくては→なくちゃ。なければ→なけりゃ or なきゃ。semantics, really, though. – sbkgs4686 Mar 16 '20 at 4:42
  • You're right...maybe I should update the answer, but I have a feeling this will be deleted as a duplicate soon... – Justin N Mar 16 '20 at 4:45

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