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Japanese Hiragana kyokashotai NU.png
U+306C, ぬ
HIRAGANA LETTER NU

[U+306B]
Hiragana
[U+306D]

Japanese[edit]

Stroke order
2 strokes

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Derived in the Heian period from writing the man'yōgana kanji in the cursive sōsho style.

Syllable[edit]

(romaji nu)

  1. The hiragana syllable (nu). Its equivalent in katakana is (nu). It is the twenty-third syllable in the gojūon order; its position is (na-gyō u-dan, row na, section u).
See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Originally the 連体形 (rentaikei, attributive form) of Classical Japanese negative particle . In modern Japanese, the 終止形 (shūshikei, terminal form) (lemma, originally ) assimilated to .

Suffix[edit]

(rōmaji -nu)

  1. (after the 未然形 (mizenkei, incomplete form) of a verb) the negative: indicates negation of the action, ending without starting or occurring: not
     (かぜ) ()
    kaze ga tatanu
    the wind does not rise / does not pick up

Conjugation[edit]

  • For classical conjugation, see .

Synonyms[edit]

(negative verb ending):

  • (very casual, also archaic, also dialectal) (n)
  • (casual) ない (nai)
  • (formal) ません (masen)
  • (written formal) (zu)
  • (Kansai) へん (hen)

Etymology 3[edit]

From Old Japanese.[1][2][3]

Many monolingual Japanese dictionaries[1][2][3] derive this as a contraction of Old Japanese 往ぬ (inu, to go away; to pass (such as time); to pass away, to die); however, the meaning does not seem to make sense in the context of the verb ending -nu.

More recent work by Bjarke Frellesvig and others suggests that -nu may have originated from an ancient copular or stative verb.

Suffix[edit]

(rōmaji -nu)

  1. (after the 連用形 (ren'yōkei, continuative or stem form) of verb) the perfective: indicates completion of the action, ending after starting or occurring: has done, has happened
     (かぜ) ()
    kaze ga tachinu
    the wind has risen / has picked up

Conjugation[edit]

Usage notes[edit]

  • In Old Japanese and continuing in classical and later Japanese, the ending -nu and the ending -ta have both been used to mark the completion of an action. -nu was used mainly for verbs that indicated intransitive, naturally occurring, or unintentional actions, while -ta was used mainly for verbs that indicated transitive or intentional actions.
  • In classical Japanese, perfective is different from negative () as shown in the following table:
Negative () Perfective
Terminal (終止形)
Attributive (連体形) ぬる
  • In modern Japanese, -nu is rarely encountered, and it often imparts a formal or archaic sense.

Synonyms[edit]

(perfective verb ending):

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
  2. 2.0 2.1 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN
  3. 3.0 3.1 1995, 大辞泉 (Daijisen) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan, →ISBN

Kunigami[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Cognate with Japanese (no).

Pronunciation[edit]

Particle[edit]

(romaji nu)

  1. possessive particle

Miyako[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Cognate with Japanese (no).

Pronunciation[edit]

Particle[edit]

(romaji nu)

  1. possessive particle

Okinawan[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Cognate with Japanese (no).

Pronunciation[edit]

Particle[edit]

(romaji nu)

  1. possessive particle

Yaeyama[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Cognate with Japanese (no).

Pronunciation[edit]

Particle[edit]

(romaji nu)

  1. possessive particle

Yonaguni[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Cognate with Japanese (no).

Pronunciation[edit]

Particle[edit]

(romaji nu)

  1. possessive particle