なんて

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Japanese[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

A contraction of phrase ‎(nado, and so forth, etc.) + とて ‎(tote, particle combination indicating “that kind of thing”, from to, quotative particle + te, conjunctive particle).[1]

Some sources describe this as a shift from ‎(nado) + ‎(to),[2][3][4] or from ‎(nado) + ‎(to) + ‎(wa, topic particle),[4] or even just from ‎(nado),[4] but the phonetic shift in the final vowel from -o or -a to -e is unexplainable in these hypotheses.

Pronunciation[edit]

Particle[edit]

なんて ‎(romaji nante)

  1. (adverbial particle, dismissive, pejorative) emphasizes disgust, contempt, or otherwise negative feelings of the speaker: whatever
Usage notes[edit]
  • なんて (nante) is slightly more formal than なんか ‎(nanka). Both are usually followed by a verb which conveys some kind of undervaluation, lack, or dislike, often in the negative.
  • It can follow
    • nouns:
      助言なんて要らない
      じょげんなんていらない。
      Jogen nante iranai.
      I don't need any of your advice.
    • verbs:
      泳ぐなんて出来ない
      およぐなんてできない。
      Oyogu nante dekinai.
      I can't swim.
    • adjectives:
      大きくなんてないけど、綺麗だ。
      おおきくなんてないけど、きれいだ。
      Ōkiku nante nai kedo, kirei da.
      It's not big or anything, but it's clean.

Etymology 2[edit]

Sources describe this as a sound shift from the phrase nan to iu ‎(compare English constructions whatever kind of; what a ..., literally what's it called; what a ...).[2][1][3][4] There is evidence of a form nantē,[2] suggesting a fusion of vowel sounds, where the phonetic development may have proceeded as follows:

/nan to iu//nantɔiu//nantee//nante/

Pronunciation[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Adverb[edit]

なんて ‎(romaji nante)

  1. what a, such a
    なんて (うつく)しい美女 (びじょ)だな。
    Nante utsukushii bijo da na.
    What a beautiful woman.
  2. what (used quotatively)
    ね、昨日 (きのう) (まえ)なんて ()ってたんだっけ。
    Ne, kinō omae nante itte ta n da kke.
    Hey, what was it you were saying yesterday?

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, ISBN 4-385-13905-9
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
  3. 3.0 3.1 1995, 大辞泉 (Daijisen) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan, ISBN 4-09-501211-0
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 1997, 新明解国語辞典 (Shin Meikai Kokugo Jiten), Fifth Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, ISBN 4-385-13143-0