Monday, July 15, 2019

nakucha なくちゃ

In Japanese, nakucha なくちゃ is normally used to say that you "must" do something. For example:
  • ganbaranakucha
    頑張らなくちゃ
    [I] must word hard. Try my best. Put effort.
    • ganbaru 頑張る
      To work hard. Try your best. Etc.
  • nigenakucha
    逃げなくちゃ
    [I] must run away.
    • nigeru 逃げる
      To run away.

Grammatically, it's a contraction of nakute wa なくては, which is the te-form of the i-adjective nai ない, "nonexistent," plus the wa は particle. See the article about ~te wa ~ては for details.

Grammar

Basically, this ~te wa, or ~cha ~ちゃ, comes between a condition and a consequence. For example:
  • okane ga nakucha komaru
    お金がなくちゃ困る
    Not having money: be troubled.
    [I'll] be troubled if [I] don't have money.
    [I'll] be troubled if [you] don't have money. (to pay me, for example.)

The nai ない can act as an auxiliary turning the verb into negative. In this case, nakucha often comes before dame ダメ, "no good," ikenai いけない, "can't go," or naranai ならない, "won't be," in order to say the consequence is bad. To elaborate:
  • benkyou shinakucha dame
    勉強しなくちゃダメ
    To not study: no good.
    To not study is bad.
    [It's] bad if [I] don't study.
    If [I] don't study, [it'll] be bad.
    • Therefore, to study is good.
    • I must study. I should study. I have to study. And so on.
  • benkyou shinakucha ikenai
    勉強しなくちゃいけない
    (same meaning.)
  • benkyou shinakucha naranai
    勉強しなくちゃならない
    (same meaning.)

In other words, the phrases nakucha dame, nakucha ikenai, nakucha naranai, are double negatives. They say "not doing something is not good," so "doing something is good." This is particularly confusing since the thing that comes after nakucha can be omitted.
  • benkyou shinakucha
    勉強しなくちゃ
    If [I] don't study.
    • What? What happens then?
    • WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON'T STUDY???
    • Tell me!!!

The phrase above implies that the speaker must study, or maybe the speaker is noting that someone else must study. Anyway, the point is studying must be done. But the phrase doesn't literally say that.
  • chanto kangaenakucha
    ちゃんと考えなくちゃ
    If [you] don't think [about it] properly. (it's no good.)
    [You] gotta think [about it] properly..

Usage

In anime, characters that use this kind of contraction tend to be the cutesy ones, compared to those that wouldn't use this contraction, which would be the more serious ones. For example:

お恥ずかしいのだけどうちの家色々わけあって・・・このツノが生えてきたら魔法少女を探してぶちころがさなくちゃいけないさだめらしいです
Manga: Machikado Mazoku まちカドまぞく
  • {o-hazukashii} no dakedo
    uchi no ie
    iro-iro wake atte...

    お恥ずかしいのだけどうちの家色々わけあって・・・
    [It's] something {embarrassing}, but, in my [family] a lot stuff happened and...
    • iro-iro wake aru訳ある
      There are various reasons [for something to occur].
      A lot of stuff happen [that lead to other stuff happening].
  • {kono tsuno ga haete-kitara
    mahou shoujo wo sagashite
    buchi-korogasanakucha
    ikenai} sadame rashii desu

    このツノが生えてきたら魔法少女を探してぶちころがさなくちゃいけないさだめらしいです
    It seems there's a rule [that] {as these horns sprouted out, if [I] don't search for magical girls and murderize them, that can't go}.
    • i.e. I must search for magical girls and murderize them.
    • sadame 定め
      A rule that's been stipulated. (from sadameru 定める, "to stipulate a rule.")
      This noun is qualified by a very long {relative clause}.
    • buchi ぶち
      To hit. To strike. (verb.)
      Emphasizes force. (auxiliary verb.)
    • korogasu 転がす
      To make something roll over. Trip over. To throw someone down.
      (not to be confused with korosu 殺す, which means "to kill.")
    • So buchi-korogasu means literally to throw down with force, which sounds practically like buchi-korosu, "to murder with force."
    • rashii らしい
      It seems. I heard. (of said rule.)

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