第219課: Adjectives: Other Forms
There is still a bit more that you need to know about adjectival expressions in Japanese. There are older conjugations that you need to get used to as well as two other classes of adjectives with syntactic restrictions to them that the other two classes don’t.
形容詞: The Original 連体形
Using the original 連体形 for 形容詞 is very limited in Modern Japanese. As you would imagine, fossilized use in set phrases will be the most likely place you find this. It’s also the case that literary titles from the West often have older style Japanese. Unless in set phrases, it is most likely the case that the places you find this is in literature. And, there is a good chance that the context may very well be in Classical Japanese.
|形容詞 ending in い||き|
|形容詞 ending in しい・じい||しき・じき|
1. 熱き海 (Literary; classical)
The warm seas
Translation Note: Of course, “hot” is a better translation of any form of 熱い. However, to fit the style of 熱き海, warm is used instead. This phrase especially makes sense in contexts like in the following.
To live in hot seas over 70℃.
What a wonderful world
My good friend!
The evil ones were thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur.
Therefore, hear me, you men of understanding: far be it from God that he should do wickedness, and from the Almighty that he should do wrong. For according to the work of a man he will repay him, and according to his ways he will make it befall him. Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice. Who gave him charge over the earth, and who laid on him the whole world? If he should set his heart to it and gather to himself his spirit and his breath, all flesh would perish together and man would return to dust.
From ヨブ記 第三四章一〇～一五節
To crush the strong.
Grammar Note: It was also possible to use the 連体形 of adjectives as nominal phrases in older Japanese. This is still seen in set phrases or purposely old-fashioned statements like Ex. 8.
Adjectival Elements in Sino-Japanese Compounds
Have you noticed many compounds with translations with both an adjective and a noun? Many adjectival phrases that came into the language as “adjective + noun” were turned into nominal phrases in Japanese. Some become 形容動詞, but some don’t. Why is this?
It’s interesting to consider how 明るい and 暗い are both adjectives, but 明暗 is not. In fact, 明暗な is ungrammatical.You can say something like the following.
Light and dark contrast
Of course, there are times when you add two adjectival 漢字 and get a 形容動詞.
漢字 Note: 善 and 良 may be used to spell いい.
Japan’s scarce wild aquatic organisms
漢字 Note: 希 is a simplified spelling of 稀, which is in 稀な read as まれ to mean “rare”. 少 is in 少ない.
The most interesting examples are things like 良法 (good method). These words tend to always be formal and 書き言葉. After all, this is a foreign construction. However, there are still plenty more examples that are commonly used words.
There is no morphology on the adjectival morpheme (meaning unit) 良 to function as an adjective. Thus, ｛よい・いい｝方法 would be more practical in speaking. Below are more examples of such words.
A shark that lives in warm seas
漢字 Note: 棲 and 鮫 are not 常用漢字.
To prevent effects from ultraviolet rays.
We should protect biological diversity.
To start a project for protecting endangered minority languages.
Good medicine is bitter to the taste.
He cannot tell right from wrong.
18. 善意 VS 悪意
Good intent vs malice
These adjectives never made the complete jump to modern 形容動詞. All modern ones come from this class from Classical Japanese. There are still several that are used a lot, but they still often have a formal feeling simply because of their grammatically restrictive use. Their old base set comes from the base set of the old copula verb なり, and they may show up in old proverbs and set phrases, but they are not necessary to know in order to use them. For completeness, they are provided below.
Usage Note: You can also use the なる-連体形 of current 形容動詞 and other attributive expressions in more neo-classical or formal texts. For instance, you might see 次なる instead of 次の.
19b. 神殿は神霊な場所であるはずです。(More common)
A temple is supposed to be a holy place.
To treat receiving the prize as a great joy.
We visited some holy sites.
7 is a holy number.
We are still seeking more aid.
24a. いかな（る）時でも (ちょっと古風)
24b. どんな時でも （もっと自然)
It doesn’t pass being a mere rumor.
My job has made good headway.
Word Note: 大いに comes from 大いなる, which happens to retain its adverbial form.
As mentioned earlier in the introduction of this lesson, there is a defunct class of adjectival verbs in Japanese called タル形容動詞. As the name suggests, their attribute base is タル. In Modern Japanese the bases are typically limited to the と-連用形 and the たる-連体形. The と-連用形 can make adverbs. Most are in decline. Their attribute base can be replaced with とした. Some have acquired other legitimate attributive forms. For instance, you can use 主な and 主たる (principal/main).
The main reason is this.
An absolute maniac
A famous tourist spot
Scorn in one’s presence is the extremity of insult.
31a. 最たる例 （古風)
31b. 最も顕著な例 (自然）
The prime thing to human activity
A magnificent figure
To speak in a cool tone.
Pure and simple bank