Tae Kim's Guide to Japanese Forum

To address questions and improvements for the Japanese Grammar Guide as well as topics concerning Japanese in general.

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#1 2011-07-04 15:16:43

Alysoun
Member

き-endings?

I'm not sure if this is covered in the guide, but I've come across a few examples of words ending in き that normally end in い.

難き
忌まわしき
美しき

Does the き change how it's translated? And if so, can someone explain the difference?

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#2 2011-07-04 15:34:57

Lyrencropt
Member

Re: き-endings?

I don't know all the grammatical names for this and I'm sure someone else will provide them in short order, but basically these are old Japanese endings when the adjectives are used before before a noun: "忌まわしき時代" etc. When used at the end of the sentence ordinarily し was used : いまわし(い) which then became the standard for all Japanese. Some words are still used on occasion with the き ending today, which gives them kind of a more poetic feel. There is no difference in the basic meaning, just in the way it sounds.

Last edited by Lyrencropt (2011-07-04 15:35:51)

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#3 2011-07-04 16:41:46

blutorange
Member

Re: き-endings?

It's just as lyrencropt said, here are a few more technical details. The conjugation of adjectives in classical Japanese was as follows:
modern form 難い 美しい

終止形      |難し  美し
連体形      |難き  美しき
連用形(未然形) |難く  美しく
”かり”      |難かり 美しかり

The 終止形 (eg 神子の神楽は美し) is used for ending sentences, 連体形 for attributing sentences (eg 花を備ふ美しき神子), the 連用形 for continuing sentences (神子は美しく、縁づきは難し). Then, there was a tendency to remove the "k" sound (to make things easier to pronounce), resulting in the form がたい and がたう, the former is still used today, the later proceeded to sound-shift into がとう, a traditional form still used in highly formal Japanese and can also be seen in expressions such as 有難(ありがた)う御座(ござ)います. Additionally, adjectives also had a "verbal" form, from 連用形+有り probably, such as 難し>難かり. The base form pretty much had the same meaning, but you could now conjugate this "verbified" adjective just like a normal verb, forming forms such as 難からず(negation), 難かりき(past) or 難かりめり, which can still be seen in 難ければ (< 難い+ある+ば).

Last edited by blutorange (2011-07-04 18:34:57)


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#4 2011-07-04 17:42:13

Alysoun
Member

Re: き-endings?

Ah okay, I see now.

Thank you both for your responses.

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