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I read an interesting paper on this very topic a few months ago. Let's see…ah, here it is: A Discussion of the Polite Negative Verb Forms masen and nai desu (PDF, Japanese) This paper by Kayoko Tanaka was presented at the eighth annual conference on Japanese language education research at Nagoya University in 2010. Ms. Tanaka, using sentences drawn from a ...


18

Negative Polarity Items (NPIs) in English Every language has lexical items which are restricted, seemingly arbitrarily, to specific contexts. Let's start with some English sentences to introduce the concept: ​1a. I don't like her at all. ​1b. *I like her at all. The first sentence is fine, but the second sentence doesn't work because at all is a ...


16

Your "usual rule" is incomplete. It should be: drop -i if resulting is a single mora in length, add -sa add -sou. Hence, nai: na na + sa na + sa + sou --> nasasou. atui: atu (not applicable) atu + sou --> atusou.


15

The ん negative ending is a contraction of sorts of classical negative ending ぬ, precursor to modern ない. It's still pretty common. As illustration of this, the Microsoft IME gives 食べん as a valid conversion option after typing in taben, or 飲まん for noman. Note that する with the negative ん is not しん, but instead せん, as again the negative ん is from classical ぬ, ...


15

This sentence can technically mean both, but it usually (or almost always) means 1. To mean 2., we normally say 彼は来ないことを知りませんでした。 = He didn't know about the (someone else's) absense. because 彼 is the topic of the whole sentence. In other words, the use of が after 彼 more or less indicates that "彼がこない" is the relative clause which modifies こと.


14

This is a pair of polarity items. One appears in positive contexts, the other in negative: イギリスの ジャムは とても おいしいです。 イギリスの ジャムは あまり おいしくありません。 Every language has words like these. For example, in English: I like pie, too. I don't like pie, either. Here, too and either are polarity items. In our positive sentence we use too, and in our negative ...


13

Here's where 歩けなく comes from: Start with the verb 歩く, "to walk". Turn it into its potential form: 歩ける, "able to walk". Make it negative: 歩けない, "unable to walk". Turn the newly formed i-adjective into an adverb: 歩けなく. Now, なっちゃう is a shorter form of なって + しまう. なって, of course, is the -て form of なる, which means "to become". なる requires that the adjective ...


12

Both ず and ぬ came from the archaic negator ず in Heian period. The ず had conjugations ず (未然), ず (連用), ず (終止), ぬ (連体) and ね (仮定), as every Japanese learns in high school today. The ぬ was originally the 連体形 (noun modifying form) of ず. After that, spoken Japanese lost the distinction between 連体形 and 終止形 in almost all cases. So, now we use ぬ or its variant ん as ...


12

Actually, you've already got the right answer! The verb in question is する, and one of its negative stems (未然形) is せ〜, as in せず, せぬ, and as you've just discovered, せん. The other negative stem of する is the well-known し〜. Note that these are not interchangeable: **せない is ungrammatical, as is **しず. The only verbs that have this extra negative stem are する and ...


11

There is some Deep Magic going on here. Let me try to offer a theory which, hopefully, will not muddy the waters further. The ~て form of verbs (both positive and negative) implies a decision point. That is, at some point in time, you choose to do something or not to do something. Once this choice is made, it is irreversible. Consider 食べてください. In effect, ...


10

Arguing about whether certain words "are" something or other is missing the point in this context, I think. We do not classify words based on some innate, a priori nature that we discern within them. We classify them based on behaviour. And there is no a priori set of standards for that classification either: we have to choose our own. It's completely ...


10

You can add focus particles like は or も to verbs, but in order to do so, you have to split the verb into two parts so that the particle has some place to go. We'll split the verb into its continuative stem (called 連用形 in Japanese) and the verb する. For example:   忘れる   → 忘れ+する   忘れる+も = 忘れもする Or:   忘れない   → 忘れ+しない   忘れない+は = 忘れはしない Your example is a ...


10

Using the terms from snailboat's link: Not [force doing] He didn't have me wash the dishes (but I washed them because I was bored). Similar to → He did not force me to wash the dishes. Force [not doing] He had me not wash the dishes (because I'm really clumsy). Similar to → He forced me to not wash the dishes. Verbs in the form 〜せなかった/〜せませんでした are ...


10

There are at least three types of omission of く, which should be distinguished. The "traditional western" euphoric change is called ウ音便 and is described in this question, this one and a chart in this page. ku becomes (y)u, etc. This sounds old-fashioned and elegant. While this is commonly heard in samurai dramas, only a few courteous elder people use this ...


9

You can use these sentences in two ways. One is to use it as in "I don't want you to say x (literary)". Another is to use it as in "I resent what you already said". So, what's the difference? In the first case, 言わないでほしい is an explicit request. 言ってほしくない merely states that you don't want the other guy to tell anybody, and the request is only implied. As a ...


9

Modern Japanese is very different from archaic Japanese (and some modern formal written Japanese, which is itself rather archaic) in regard to the topic at hand. Initially there were distinct conjugations of verbs and adjectives known as predicative and attributive. Predicative (also called conclusive) was used for the final verb in a sentence, and was ...


9

"Does anyone know what to call the outdated, high form of language which will say for example "ならぬ" rather than "ならない" or more accurately "だめだ"?" We call it 「[文語体]{ぶんごたい}」 or 「文語[調]{ちょう}」("Literary style") as opposed to 「[口語体]{こうごたい}」 or 「口語調」 ("Colloquial style"). "Specifically, I would like to know if there is a name for the dialect used by Kuchiki ...


9

If sentence A has a comma like: A: 宿題をして、行かない生徒が多いです。 B: 宿題をしないで行く生徒が多いです。 then Sjiveru is right. However, it doesn't have a comma, so they have the same meaning. They mean "There are many students who go without doing their homework." The して行かない doesn't mean "don't go" but "don't do their homework."


9

「お/ご + Verb in 連用形{れんようけい} (continuative form) + なく 」 should be learned as a set phrase meaning "Please do not (verb)." The grammar used here is sort of special. One might say a phrase like 「お願{ねが}いいたします」 is implied or left unsaid at the end. This is an honorific form of a polite request rather than a plain imperative. The honorific お/ご at the beginning ...


8

This was a big problem for me as well (in the reverse direction, that is)! In this kind of yes/no questions, the asker forms a hypothesis and then asks whether this is true. If it's true, you say yes, else no. 車持ってないの? -> 「あなたは車を持っていない」は正しい? -> 正しくない -> いいえ、もっています もう料理はいらない? -> 「あなたはもう料理はいらない」は正しい? -> ...


8

It's the 助詞 "は". I'll leave it to the linguists for a technical description, but the practical effect is to emphasize the verb. "Although I do know cigarettes are bad for my body, I pretty much can't quit."


8

Other samples from this character in your manga would be helpful to confirm this, but my guess is that せん is equivalent to しない (and possibly derived from せぬ, see Zhen Lin's comment below). Then, 苦労せん means something like "don't worry" or "don't fret". This is really part of the group of dialects from 'Western Japan'. In particular, [九州弁]{きゅうしゅうべん} uses せんで ...


8

In Japanese, a 助動詞 is a conjugatable particle, as opposed to 助詞 which do not conjugate. Like noun, verb etc, 助動詞 is now considered a part of of speech. The terminology is rather unfortunate, but originally (early Meiji) it was sub-classified under the category of verb (動詞). This is due to the influence of English in which 助動詞 represents "auxiliary verbs" ...


8

I am no longer sure about the reason why 食べなさ sounds strange. In the answer below, I argued that 食べなさ “the degree of not eating” would be grammatically fine but semantically not useful in any context. However, as dainichi commented, this explanation is questionable. For example, different people have different “degrees of not eating vegetables”; some may ...


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