Classical Conjunctions

第019課: Conjunctions

      This lesson will hopefully be much easier than the syntax we’ve been looking at thus far. Conjunctions are pretty much used the same as they are today in Classical Japanese. Some have changed in spelling, appearance, or have been replaced by other words. The most difficult ones will more than likely be the ones that you have never seen before. Try not to let this get the best of you though.


    Conjunctions, again, are dependent non-inflected words that connect things together. Conjunctions in Japanese can be categorized by the following six main types. By no means is the exclusive, and you may find that some words can have more than one interpretation depending on how it is used. 

 Function 漢字 かな
 Parallelism 並行 へいれつ
 Alternation 代替 だいがえ
 Addition 添加 てんか
 Change 転換 てんかん
 Concession 逆接 ぎやくせつ
 Sequence 連続 れんぞく

      Many conjunctions in Japanese originate from different grammatical parts of speech. Many of these include some sort of verb or adverb which are fixated to a particle. Then, they are treated as one word. We have already studied adverbs such as されど (however). されど comes from the ラ変 verb さり, which comes from the contraction of さあり. さり means “to be that way”. The conjunctive particle do means “though”, and together it expresses the word “however; nevertheless; be that as it may”.

     This next section will involve examples. The conjunction(s) in the examples will be made bold for identification along with their definitions in the translation. This will help you realize how they are supposed to be used in context.  

Conjunctions in Context

1. 枝の長さ七尺、あるいは六尺ろくしやく
    The length of the branch is either seven or six shaku. 
From the 徒然草.

Meaning Note: A 尺 is equivalent to 30.3 cm. 

2. ゆくのかはの流れは絶えずして、しかももとのみづにあらず。
    The flowing of the passing water is endless, yet moreover it is not the original water.
From the 方丈記.

3. さらばゆるさむ。
    Then, I will let you go.
From the 紫式部日記.

4. ましてその外、数へ知るに及ばず。
    Besides, you can’t much less count (the houses).
From the 方丈記.

5. 力を尽くしたること少なからず。しかるにろくいまだたまはらず。
    The strength we expended wasn’t small. Even so, we still haven’t received our stipends.
From the 竹取物語.

6. 朱雀院すざくいんならびに村上のおんをぢにをはします。
     He was the uncle of the retired Suzaku Emperor and Emperor Murakami.
From the 大鏡.

7. さて冬枯ふゆがれのけしきこそ、秋にはをさをさおとるまじけれ。
    Well, a withered winter landscape would not certainly be at all inferior to that of autumn!
From the 徒然草.

8. よどみにうかぶうたかたは、かつ消え、かつ結びて、久しくとどまりたるためしなし。
     As for the bubble afloat on the pool, on the one hand, just as one thinks it disappears it reappears,          and there is never a case where it is ever the same shape.|
From the 方丈記.

9. 陸奥みちのくのしのぶもぢずり誰ゆゑに乱れそめにしわれならなくに
    Like the clothing pattern “Shinobumojizuri” weaved in Michinoku,whom is it hence that it has begun       to be tussled, although it is not because of me.
From the 百人一首.

10. そも、まゐりたる人ごとに山へ登りしは、何事なにごとかありけん、ゆかしかりしかど、神へ参るこそ本意ほんいなれと思ひて、山までは見ずとぞ言ひける。
“Even so, all the people coming to worship climbing the mountain thought ‘did something happen? We were eager to know, but worshiping the god(s) is our primary goal’, and they did see up to the mountain” said (the priest).
From the 徒然草.


1. Create a sentence with しかし (however)

2. Create a sentence with しかして (moreover)

3. Create a sentence with したがって (therefore; as a result).

4. なほ is just like its modern なお. What two usages does it have, which are classified as different parts of speech? Look through this lesson and see which was used. Then, differentiate it with a simple example of the other in Classical Japanese to the best of your ability. 

5. Translate the following sentence into English.


Hints: The particle し provides emphasis. Also, なければ in Classical Japanese means “since not have”.