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.


The wa は particle can mark an adverb as the topic. For example:
  • chotto matte!
    Wait a bit!
    • chotto - adverb.
    • matte - verb in te-form.
  • chotto wa matta
    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
    To become cute.
    [You'll] become cute.
    • kawaiku - adverb.
    • naru - verb in non-past form.
  • kawaiku wa naru kedo...
    Cute, [you'll] become, but...

Another case is that the wa は particle can separate base word and an auxiliary. For example:
  • tabete-iru
    To be eating.
    [He] is eating.
  • tabete wa iru
    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
    [It] is pretty
  • kirei dewa nai kedo, kawaii
    Pretty, [it] isn't, but [it] is cute.
    • de - te-form of da.
  • kawaii
    [It] is cute.
  • kawaiku wa nai kedo, kirei da
    Cute, [it] isn't, but [it] is pretty.


A contraction of ~ku wa ~くは would be ~kya ~きゃ.
  • kawaikya nai kedo..
    Cute, [it] ain't but...

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