Bungo Nyûmon
A Brief Introduction to Classical Japanese

Adjectives 

 

Shiku-type adjectives

     Adjectives classified as “shiku-type” in Classical Japanese correspond to Modern Japanese –shii adjectives. That is, the Modern Japanese verb “utsukushii” (“beautiful”) is the Classical form is “utsukushi.”

     The sample adjective in the paradigm below is “tanoshi” (= pleasant, fun, enjoyable).

 Stem Form
Ending
Paradigm
Example
Mizenkei
–shikara / –shiku
tanoshika–
tanoshikarazu
(is not fun)
Ren’yôkei
–shikari / –shiku
tanoshikari–
tanoshikaritari
(was fun)
Shûshikei
–shi
tanoshi
tanoshi
(is fun)
Rentaikei
–shiki /–shikaru
tanoshiki
tanoshiki hito
(a fun person)
Izenkei
–shikere
tanoshikere–
tanoshikeredomo
(although it is fun…)
Meireikei
–shikare
tanoshikare
tanoshikare!
(be fun!)

Ku-type adjectives

     Adjectives classified as “ku-type” in CJ correspond to MJ –i adjectives. That is, the MJ verb “takai” (= tall, high) in its CJ form is “takashi”; the Modern “atsui” (= hot) is the CJ atsushi; the MJ “wakai” (= young) is the CJ “wakashi”; etc.

     The sample adjective in the paradigm below is “atsushi” (= hot).

 Stem Form
Ending
Paradigm
Example
Mizenkei
–kara / –ku
atsukara–
atsukarazu
(is not hot)
Ren’yôkei
–kari / –ku
atsukari–
atsukaritari
(was hot)
Shûshikei
–shi
atsushi
atsushi
(is hot)
Rentaikei
–ki /–karu
atsuki
atsuki hito
(a hot day)
Izenkei
–kere
atsukere–
atsukeredomo
(although it is hot…)
Meireikei
–kare
atsukare
atsukare!
(be hot!)

 

Keiyô-dôshi (Na-type adjectives)

     There is an aditional adjective form, corresponding to the Modern Japanese “na-type adjective” (e.g., shizuka [quiet], which forms the apposative with the addition of "na", as in “shizuka na hito”= “a quiet person”). In fact, this form is a nominal with the addition of the copulative nari (“ni ari”) and there are very many adjectives in this category.

     They may also appear under “–tari” instead of “–nari” (declining identically, with only a substitution of T for N), with the implication that “–tari” is a temporary state and “-nari” is the default. (See the section on copulas for more details.)

     The sample adjective in the paradigm below is “atenari” (= exalted).

 Stem Form
Ending
Paradigm
Example
Mizenkei
–nara
atenara–
atenarazu
(is not exalted)
Ren’yôkei
–nari / –ni
atenari–
atenaritari
(was exalted)
Shûshikei
–nari
atenari
atenari
(is exalted)
Rentaikei
–naru
atenaru
atenaru hito
(an exalted person)
Izenkei
–nare
atenare–
atenaredomo
(although he is exalted…)
Meireikei
–nare
atenare
atenare!
(be exalted!)

This page was last updated on 3/24/04.

This page and all contents copyright ©2001,2004 by Anthony J. Bryant.
Copying or transmission in all or part without express written permission is forbidden.