少ない

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Japanese[edit]

Kanji in this term
すく
Grade: 2
kun’yomi

Etymology[edit]

From Old Japanese, from Proto-Japonic *suku(na). Related to 少し (すこ​し, sukoshi). Possibly cognate with the ku part in (いく, iku).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • Tokyo pitch accent of inflected forms of "少ない"
Source: Online Japanese Accent Dictionary
Stem forms
Continuative (連用形) 少なく なく
くな
[sùkúꜜnàkù]
[sùkúnáꜜkù]
Terminal (終止形) 少ない くな [sùkúnáꜜì]
Attributive (連体形) 少ない くな [sùkúnáꜜì]
Key constructions
Informal negative 少なくない なくない
くなくない
[sùkúꜜnàkùnàì]
[sùkúnáꜜkùnàì]
Informal past 少なかった なかった
くなかった
[sùkúꜜnàkàttà]
[sùkúnáꜜkàttà]
Informal negative past 少なくなかった なくなかった
くなくなかった
[sùkúꜜnàkùnàkàttà]
[sùkúnáꜜkùnàkàttà]
Formal 少ないです くないです [sùkúnáꜜìdèsù]
Conjunctive 少なくて なくて
くなくて
[sùkúꜜnàkùtè]
[sùkúnáꜜkùtè]
Conditional 少なければ なければ
くなければ
[sùkúꜜnàkèrèbà]
[sùkúnáꜜkèrèbà]

Adjective[edit]

(すく)ない (sukunai-i (adverbial (すく)なく (sukunaku))

  1. there are not many, there are few, there is little
    ここは、(ひと)(すく)ない
    Koko wa, hito ga sukunai.
    Here are few people.
    今年(ことし)は、(ゆき)(すく)ない
    Kotoshi wa, yuki ga sukunai.
    It snows little this year.

Usage notes[edit]

  • 少ない cannot modify a noun to mean the referents of the noun are few.
    • Incorrect:
      (すく)ない(ひと)sukunai hitofew people
    • Correct:
      友達(ともだち)(すく)ない(ひと)tomodachi ga sukunai hitoa person with few friends
    • To modify a noun, use (すこ) (sukoshi no), わずか (wazuka na), 数少(かずすく)ない (kazusukunai), etc.
  • The negative form has no limitation.
    • Correct:
      (すく)なくない(ひと)sukunakunai hitoquite a few people

Inflection[edit]

Antonyms[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1998, NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典 (NHK Japanese Pronunciation Accent Dictionary) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: NHK, →ISBN