Adjective Nominalization II

第184課: Adjective Nominalization II: ~く

There is a rather small number of adjectives whose adverbial forms made with く may also take on nominal usages including taking the attributive particle の.

Curriculum Note: This grammar should not be confused with what is known as ク語法.

~く → Noun Phrase

You may have noticed already in your studies how 近く, 遠く, 多く, 早くetc. may be used nominally and not just as adverbs. Clues for how they act like nouns can be gleamed from how they interact with case particles such as の, に, へ, から, and まで. Most examples are limited to these specific case particles, which will make more sense at we look at the various word pairs that exist. First, though, let’s familiarize ourselves with these so-called transformed nouns (転成名詞) from adjectives. 

1a. 誰よりも大好きだった友里が遠く行ってしまった。
Yuri, the one whom I loved more than anyone else, ended up going far, far away.

2. 人は宇宙に行きたい、たくさんの国を見たいと空高く)目指してしまいがちだが、どっこい、海の底にも宇宙はあるのだ。
People tend to aim for the skies in search of seeing lots of countries or going to outer space, but lo and behold, there is a whole universe at the bottom of the ocean too!

3. そのびん遠くから海に浮かんできた。
The bottle came and floated (here) from afar on the sea.

4. 幸太郎君は船橋駅の近く住んでいる。 
Kotaro lives near Funabashi Station. 

5. 招き猫の置物は古来より(日本)広く愛用されている。 
Maneki-neko (literally “beckoning cat(s)”) ornaments have been used regularly widely (in Japan) since ancient times.

6. こんな(夜)遅くどうしたの? 
What’s wrong this late (at night)? 

7. 犯人は、遂に目的の谷に辿たどり着いたのち、証拠品しょうこひんを谷深く投げ捨てた。
After finally arriving at the valley, my destination, the criminal threw the evidence deep down the valley.

(They) are saying that Emiko got angry at her husband for coming home late and left off with the kids late last night.

Having an Anchor

A common syntactic scenario for the 連用形 of adjectives to be used as nouns involves being anchored to a noun that serves as the basis of time or location. This indicates that they have not fully become nouns in the true sense as their nominalization is dependent on being conjoined with another noun.

9. 晴喜は早くから夜遅くまで仕事しており、まるで家には寝に帰るだけの日々を過ごしている。
Haruki works from early in the morning until late at night as if he were living his days just returning home to sleep.

10. プラスチックごみは海中の奥深くにまで沈み込んできている。
Plastic trash has come to sink all the way deep down into the seas.

11. 鮟鱇あんこうは海の底深くに生息している。
 Angler fish live deep below on the sea floor. 

12. 太平洋の東側にフィリピン海溝かいこうがある。百合がその深く潜った。 
The Philippine Trench is on the east side of the Pacific Ocean. Yuri dove deep down into it.

13. ワニにいちぎられたレイヨウの死骸しがい水中深くまで沈んだ。
The antelope carcass ripped to shreds by the crocodile(s) sunk deep below the water. 

With these adjective 連用形 being so reliant on anchor nouns, whenever said nouns are not present, the 連用形 may be viewed as an abbreviated expression.

14. 染色技術は{古く・古い時代}から伝わっている。   
Dyeing techniques have been passed down since ancient times.

To use these adjective 連用形 as nouns in isolation, there has to be a clear reference point.

15a. 香奈が古くを振り返った。X
15b. 香奈が過去を振り返った。◯
Kana reflected on the past. 

16. その歴史は古くまでさかのぼる。
Its history goes way back to ancient times. 

The One True Nominalized Adjective 連用形: 多く

Of course, there is one example of an adjective 連用形 that has completely transformed into a noun. Meaning, it is not restricted by the presence of other nouns, and it may be freely used with any case particle. This word is 多く, which translates as “a lot/the majority.” When modifying other nouns as a no-adjectival noun, it is interpreted as “a lot,” but if another noun modifies it with の, it is interpreted as “most/the majority.”

17. 血液けつえき流出りゅうしゅつを止める機能は動物の多くにそなわっている。
The ability to stop blood spillage is possessed by most animals. 

18. 氷山ひょうざんがすべてけてしまったら、南極なんきょく大陸たいりくに住む動物の多くが絶滅ぜつめつしてしまう。 
If all the icebergs were to melt, most of the animals living in Antarctica would go extinct. 

19. インターネットによる診察しんさつ予約よやくが多くの病院で導入されている。
Reserving medical examinations online is being introduced to many hospitals. 

20. 実験結果の多くにこの傾向けいこうが見られる。 
This trend is seen in most of the experiment results.

 Nominal Usage: 若く・浅く X VS 古く・深く 〇

若く and 浅く, despite being related to time and space, cannot be used nominally. Yet, their antonyms 古く and 深く can.

21. 深海魚しんかいぎょは{浅くに X・浅いところに}は棲まない。
Deep-sea fish don’t live in shallow areas.

22a. 転覆てんぷくした船が浅くに浮いている。X
22b. 転覆した船が浅く浮いている。?
22c. 転覆した船が沈みかけている。〇
The capsized boat is teetering.

Sentence Note: Imagine a boat capsized and teetering above and below the surface. Usually, 22c would be used to describe this, but 22b is not out of the question. Unlike 22c, it is vague as to whether the boat is permanently jutting out of the water or is fully sunken directly below the water but not deep down.  

23. するどぼうかれて死んだカエルがかなり体{の深いところ・深く}まで貫いている。
The frog that died from being stabbed with a sharp rod has pierced its body deep inside.

24. 妹の友達は{若くに X・若く 〇}亡くなった。
My younger sister’s friend died young. 

 近く & 遠く

The adjectives 近い (close/nearby) and 遠い (far away) are peculiar in the way they can take all distance-related case particles without the aid of an anchor noun.

25. 冥王星めいおうせいの近くからやってきた宇宙人うちゅうじんたち、いったい何をたくらんでいるのか?
What on Earth are the aliens that came from around Pluto planning? 

26. 遠くにある火山が噴火ふんかして、まさか火山かざんばいがここまで降って来るとは思わなかった。 
I never thought that volcanic ash would fall all the way here since the volcano is so far away. 

27. 銀閣寺の近くにある銭湯せんとうに行きたいです。
I want to go to the public bath near Ginkakuji. 

28. 近くにある公園で桜が満開です。
The cherry blossoms are in full bloom at the nearby park. 

 Obligatory ~くの

For the adjectives 近い, 遠い, 少ない, and 多い, unless part of an entire phrase modifying a noun, they cannot be used to directly modify a noun with their standard 連体形 in isolation. To resolve this problem, either their nominalized 連体形 are used with の to produce ~くの or they must be a part of a complex predicate modifying said noun.

 近い学校 X
近くの学校 〇
家に近い学校 〇
 遠い大学 X 
遠くの大学 〇
家から遠い大学 〇
 少ない人 X
少ない人数 〇
人出が少ない駅 〇
 多い人 X
多くの人 〇
人が多い街 〇 

Grammar Notes:
1. 少なくの does not exist, although the synonym 少しの does.
2. 少ない人数 is deemed grammatical because 人数, unlike 人, is a quantity noun.

29. 駅に近いマンションに住んでいます。
I live in an apartment close to the train station. 

30. 息子も娘もこの近くの高校を卒業しています。 
Both my son and my daughter graduated from the nearby high school.

31. なんであの子を遠くの大学に行かせたの!?
 Why did (they) make that kid go to such a far away college?

32. 近いうちにすべてが元通りになるよ。        
 Everything will return back to normal here soon.

Grammar Note: The use of ~うちに, which is adverbial in its own right, allows 近い to be used in the 連用形 without the presence of an additional modifier.

33a. 東京には少しの緑しか残っている。〇
33b. 東京には緑が少ししか残っていない。◎ 
There is only some green left in Tokyo.

It seems that the 連体形 of 近い and 遠い can be used in isolation so long as an anchor noun is implied in context. Although not appropriate for writing, this is becoming prevalent in the spoken language.

34. 遠い学校に通いたくない。
I don’t want to go to a school that’s far away.