Vlürch wrote: ↑
24 May 2019 16:27
A question about Japanese, since this has been bothering me ever since I posted a suggestion for sound changes in LinguistCat's "Cat Japanese" conlang thread using an example of this (possibly incorrect?) construction.
In constructions like X的なY
, when is the な
after the 的
necessary, and when is it not?
I know it's an embarrassingly beginner question and probably the technically correct answer is "it's always necessary", but I'd seen (and I think heard in films and songs) examples of the な
being dropped often enough that I always just figured it's (almost) universally optional even if it's much more common not to drop it... but for a lot of X的Y
constructions, there are no Japanese results at all on Google.
I could've sworn that some X的Y
terms exist in Japanese where the な
is as commonly not there as it is there, but I'm starting to question myself since I can't think of any and can't even seem to find any by googling...? So now I'm wondering, if there even are terms where the な
is commonly "dropped", are they actually multi-word borrowings from Chinese and as such never had a な
in the first place? And the results for the same terms with な
are actually just "sums of their parts", not even related to the terms without it?
Generally you need な (or に or だ etc.) for these words. One glaring exception I can think of is 比較的 hikakuteki
"relatively; comparatively", which never takes に.
There are some set expressions which also don't use it, like 可及的速やかに kakyūteki sumiyaka ni
"as quickly as possible", though you'll notice that this word still functions as a single adverb, as it still has に at the end.
It seems like 性的 also manages to get used without the attributive copula as well, e.g. 性的暴行 seiteki bōkō
"sexual atrocities", 性的虐待 seiteki gyakutai
"sexual abuse", 性的マイノリティ seiteki mainoriti
"sexual minority" etc. Maybe this is another one like 比較的, though it seems like it is less versatile, and ends up sort of in set phrase territory, as phrases that use 性的 tend to represent single concepts, rather than something standing on its own that is subsequently modified by an adjective.
The exact phrase I posted in that thread (after making sure on Google that it has results in Japanese as well) was 性的世界; I figured that since there are results in Japanese, my previous assumption that the な can be dropped was correct. However, it's been nagging me ever since that there are only a couple of Japanese results for that and most similar constructions, compared to a majority of Chinese results.
It's also possible (and this is just a guess on my part) that some Japanese terms such as the ones above with 性的 are using inherited Chinese grammatical patterns for more formal terminology.
Anyway, in any case, what's stopping me from just dropping the な anyway? I mean, there almost certainly won't be room for confusion. And if it is technically incorrect to ever drop it, why do some people still do it sometimes?
What is stopping you from dropping it is grammar. 的 is a derivational morpheme that can create adjective/adverbs, but just because an adjective/adverb was derived with this morpheme does not mean it is no longer subject to the grammatical rules that govern how adjectives and adverbs relate to other arguments in the sentence. This is sort of akin to arguing that because the suffix -ify in English marks a verb, I would be justified in no longer using 3rd person singular -s on verbs ending with this suffix, because their part of speech is obvious. 的 will mark it as an adjective/adverb, but then it is subsequently identified as an adverb, attributive adjective, or predicative adjective by the following particle. People don't tend to drop に or な except possibly sometimes when it appears last in an utterance, especially if spoken alone.
Aside from unusual outliers like 比較的 and 性的, adjectival verbs (na-adjectives) take na/ni/da/de/etc. according to fixed rules, regardless of their etymology or derivation:
Chinese origin, no derivational suffix: 急な/に kyū na/ni
Chinese origin, Chinese derivational suffix: 計画的な/に keikakuteki na/ni
Japanese origin, no derivational suffix: 主な/に omo na/ni "main(ly)"
Japanese origin, Japanese derivational suffix: 爽やかな/に sawayaka na/ni
English origin, no derivational suffix: ハードな/に hādo na/ni
"hard, with effort"
English origin, English devirational suffix: フレンドリーな furendorī na/ni
"friendly, in a friendly way"
I hope that clears it up.