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From the first episode of Death Note, a TV news reporter says

犯人は保育園内で死亡!

I can see that する is being omitted from this sentence. But I'm curious/confused if other words or particles are also being omitted? In particular,

保育園内で

is a bit confusing. Here 内 appears to be modifying 保育園 as if it were a particle?

2 Answers 2

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内 works as a suffix or as a standalone noun, similar to the English inside (e.g., inside a car/the inside of a car).

When used as a suffix, 内 is read ない (always, I think). As hiroki's answer suggests, it connotates the 'building'-ness of the preceding noun.

That is, 保育園[内]{ない}で sounds in the building of the nursery while 保育園(の中)で sounds broadly in the nursery.

Other examples of 内{ない}

  • 時間[内]{ない}: within the time limit
  • 期限[内]{ない}: before the expiration
  • 校[内]{ない}: inside school building

When used as a noun, 内 is read うち. For example, 内{うち}と外.

Also note that when talking about inside X(location), Xの内{うち} is not used. It should be Xの中. (For non-location, 計算の内{うち}=expected (lit. within calculation)).

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  • When 内 is used as a suffix, do you know how it affects the pitch of the preceding word it modifies?
    – George
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 18:30
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    @George I think it does not change pitch, so the ending ない is HH or LL according as the preceding word is odaka or not. Not 100% sure though (I can't think of a good odaka word). This may help.
    – sundowner
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 22:13
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I thinks this 内 of 保育園内 emphasize the location of the event. It's no problem 保育園で gramally but maybe 犯人 is not a student of 保育園 in this case, so appending 内 is better expression.

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