Saturday, March 23, 2019

Nominalizers

WIP: this article is incomplete and might change in the unforeseeable future.
In linguistics, a nominalizer is a word whose purpose is to turn something into a noun. See nominalization for how it works.

In Japanese, there are a few words you can call nominalizers: the no の particle would be the purest nominalizer, followed by the slightly nuanced koto こと and mono もの, which are also light nouns.

The no の nominalizer is sometimes contracted to n ん. And mono もの is sometimes contracted to mon もん.

このイチゴの のってるの ほほーー!
Manga: Yotsuba to! よつばと! (Chapter 10)
  • kono ichigo no notteru no
    このイチゴの のってる
    This one with a strawberry on top.
  • hoho---!
    ほほーー!
    (Santa-like laugh.)

In the example above, we have no の used as a generic nominalizer, which can translate to "one" in English. Note the difference between no の and a normal noun:
  • kono ichigo no notteru keeki
    このイチゴの乗ってるケーキ
    This cake with a strawberry on top.
  • kono ichigo no notteru no
    このイチゴの乗ってる
    This one with a strawberry on top.

In both cases, ichigo no notteru is a relative clause with no の as subject marker.

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