Tuesday, July 16, 2019

~ku wa ~くは

WIP: this article is incomplete and might change in the unforeseeable future.
In Japanese, ~ku wa ~くは is the adverbial form of an i-adjective plus the wa は particle. This can work just like ~te wa ては, separating the adjective and an auxiliary into topic-focus, or just mark the adverb as topic.

Grammar

The wa は particle can mark an adverb as the topic. For example:
  • chotto matte!
    ちょっと待って!
    Wait a bit!
    • chotto - adverb.
    • matte - verb in te-form.
  • chotto wa matta
    ちょっと待った
    A bit, [I] waited.

Since i-adjectives can be inflected into adverbs, it makes sense that they can be marked as the topic just like other adverbs.
  • kawaiku naru
    可愛なる
    To become cute.
    [You'll] become cute.
    • kawaiku - adverb.
    • naru - verb in non-past form.
  • kawaiku wa naru kedo...
    可愛くはなるけど・・・
    Cute, [you'll] become, but...

Another case is that the wa は particle can separate base word and an auxiliary. For example:
  • tabete-iru
    食べている
    To be eating.
    [He] is eating.
  • tabete wa iru
    食べている
    Eating, [he] is.

With i-adjectives the same thing happens.

Note, however, that with verbs, auxiliaries are attached to the te-form, but with the adjectives, they're attached to the adverbial form.

Furthermore, the only auxiliary that attaches to adjectives is the negative auxiliary nai ない. That means you'll only see this function as ~ku wa nai ~くはない. Observe:
  • kirei da
    綺麗
    [It] is pretty
  • kirei dewa nai kedo, kawaii
    綺麗ではないけど、可愛い
    Pretty, [it] isn't, but [it] is cute.
    • de - te-form of da.
  • kawaii
    可愛
    [It] is cute.
  • kawaiku wa nai kedo, kirei da
    可愛くはないけど、綺麗だ
    Cute, [it] isn't, but [it] is pretty.

Contractions

A contraction of ~ku wa ~くは would be ~kya ~きゃ.
  • kawaikya nai kedo..
    可愛きゃないけど・・・
    Cute, [it] ain't but...

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