第333課: The Particles やら, なり, & きり
In this lesson we will learn about the adverbial particles やら, なり, and きり. Some of them have usages that have different classifications. So, always be careful.
The Particle やら
The Adverbial Particle やら
This particle is rather interesting. Some phrases such as どうやら shown below in sentences are used all of the time. However, when used to list things vaguely (usage 2), it is not so common and generally mainly found in books. Despite this, it is not impossible to hear someone say it every now and then because it is more emphatic than typical means of expression.
- Shows uncertainty
- やら lists things very vaguely and emphatically. May be rude as it should not be used in reference to someone above you.
- とやら shows obscurity without any particularity.
I don’t know whether it’s going to rain or not rain.
It looks like they’re somehow not at home.
Uh, it was a person called Hideyuki.
It looks like we’re going to have a storm.
Mouri somehow seemed to have come with a lot of things. As for me, I’ve only came with one or two things. Since even those one or two things are hard to deal with, I guess you could say that’s her way of fatigue.
From 溺レる by 川上弘美.
Particle Note: をや is a combination of the case particle を and the adverbial particle や. It is more common in things like 漢文訓読. It is often seen with いわんや (Let alone)、～において～をや. The phrase itself is a rhetorical device used to add a sense of lament. So, with the example, the author chose it to give the impression that the speaker might get fatigued thinking about his partner’s things.
The Final Particle やら
Questions oneself with a sense of uncertainty. This is rarely used nowadays. The variant patterns in the first example apply for the second as well, but they are meant to show you how this has been absorbed by other speech patterns.
6a. 彼は勝った（の）やら。 （May sound old to some）
6b. 彼は勝った（の）かな（あ） （一般的な言い方）
6c. 彼は勝ったのかしら。 (Feminine)
6d. 彼は勝ったんだろうか。 （Somewhat masculine)
I wonder if he won.
7. 行ったやら。 （古風）
I wonder if he went.
8. 私もどれほど安堵しましたことやら。 （Literary)
Oh how I was relieved too.
From 光の雨 by 立松和平.
The Particle なり
The Adverbial Particle なり
1. In “AなりBなり” meaning “either…or…”. B may be a question word hinting at other options. This is normally replaced by other things. In this case, though, it’s not necessarily old-fashioned.
Either I or you have to go.
There is either a fault in being big or in being small.
Sentence Note: Ex. 10 is more common as it is a common expression.
11b. フランスかどこかに引っ越したらいい。(Better choice)
It would be nice to move to France or somewhere.
2. A more literary variant of ～なければ～ほど.
Yukio asks “why do you end up using all the money?”, but I can’t guess on how to dispose of the money well. Whether it be less or more, I always completely use it up. I felt as if my body stretched and contracted with [how much] money I had.
From 溺レる by 川上弘美.
3. Shows an example with the implication of the possibility of other options.
A: I kind of want to go overseas.
B: I’d like to feel the West and what not.
A: Let’s go to somewhere like Europe.
How about trying to drive or something?
This is a very interesting combination particle that has several usages. In its first usage, it sets up something as a bare minimal condition, making it essentially a humble でも. This usage, though, has become quite old-fashioned. Some exceptions to this include 何なりと which is used frequently.
Whatever I instruct…
If it’s all right, please have something like tea.
17. どうなりと好きにせよ！ (Rude , old-style command)
Do what you’d like!
Speech Note: Using something humble like this in a command results in a rather rude command.
～なりと may also be seldom seen abbreviated as ～なと. However, this is out of use in mainstream Japanese and is viewed to be dialectical.
“I sincerely apologize. I’m sure you are hungry, so please have this. The owner will come by to greet you sometime later.”
From 翳った旋舞 by 松本清張.
In other contexts, it can show that one may choose voluntarily, but this doesn’t always have to be in nice contexts. It can also be used in the pattern AなりとBなりと and function just like なり above. It may be seen as なと, which is somewhat dialectical and very old-fashioned, and なりとも.
Whether you die or live, do whatever you want.
I wish to be informed at least one word.
The Conjunctive Particle なり
After the 連体形 of a verb, it shows that something is done as soon as something else is done. So right when someone does something, they do something next in sequence to the first action. The subject is normally third person, and the subject is the same in both clauses. The second part has a little sense of unexpected strong will.
21b. 宿題を済ませるとすぐに彼らはインターネットを使った。(More natural)
They used the Internet as soon as they finished their homework.
He went to the bathroom as soon as he got home.
As soon as the company president came in, he shouted in a big voice.
After the past tense, it shows a situation that is still in play as another action begins. There shouldn’t be any movement involved by the individual.
I feel sleep in my desk chair.
The Suffix ～なり
～なり may attach to nouns to give a meaning of “like”. It may attach itself to nominal phrases or the 連体形 of adjectives to show the means by which something is done like. It may also be after the 連用形 of verbs to be like the phrase ～まま (as is).
He did as his parents told (and never changed).
To go along the road.
I will put effort into it a way that suits me.
To lean one’s body back in an arch-like shape.
The Adverbial Particle きり
きり is generally used to limit things. In this sense, it is just like だけ. The sense of limitation is stronger. Consider this. だけ comes from 丈. But, きり comes from 切り. With this alone, you can see how they would have slightly different nuances.
きり may also follow ～た followed by a negative expression to refer to something that has not surpassed a limit meaning “after doing…”. It may also be in 丸っきり which means “at all” in a negative potential expression.
1. きり may be seen as っきり a lot in the spoken language.
2. ぎり is an old-fashioned variant.
Etymology Note: This particle comes from the noun 切り, which means “limit” in this instance.
Let’s talk just the two of us.
The two of them conquered the country.
To become confined to continuously lying down.
My mother, who continuously sits while working, is stiff in the shoulders.
After going to China, we don’t know his whereabouts.
I can’t drink at all.
Make this the last time.
This is my very last yen.
Literally: The last thing in my hands is just this yen.
Near the window in her room on the second floor–the room he and she had together–facing the street, there was just a crude desk with the smell of cheap ointment, and aside from that there was only a gray wall and the closet fusuma.
From 死体紹介人 by 川端康成.
37. 「父や母は忙しいからたまにきり来ないだろうがね。よかったら君も泊りがけに来たまえ」 (ちょっと古風)
“But my mom and dad don’t come but occasionally because they’re busy. If it’s alright, come stay over”.
From 友情 by 武者小路実篤.
1. たまにきり is an instance where this particle can be seen with an adverb, but in today’s speech, the phrase would be replaced with たまにしか．
2. ～たまえ is now old-fashioned and normally used by middle aged men and older in various situations, of which none are polite to say. However, given that the book in which this sentence is from was published in 1920, the users would be of the same generation. This is a clear instance of a generational shift.