第239課: Reduplication: Adjectives

As we have learned, reduplication is an important means of creating new words in Japanese. In this lesson, we will focus on how this affects the construction of adjectival phrases.

Many new adjectives are created by doubling a word and following it with –shii しい. All sorts of things can be morphed into new adjectives in this way. Everything from nouns to adjectives, adjectival nouns, verbs, prefixes, and things that would otherwise not be used as words in isolation may be doubled and followed by –shii しいto make new adjectives.

The words that are created in this manner are all adjectives with heightened descriptive power capable of capturing the speaker’s feelings and the meaning itself will always be specialized.

Spelling Note: As we learned when studying repetition in nouns, the second element of a reduplicated phrase is usually written as 々 when it is only one character long and written out fully if longer than one character.

i. 刺々(とげとげ)しい
   Togetogeshii
   To be thorny/snappy
 
ii. ()()しい
   Saezaeshii
   To be beyond vivid and refreshing

Pronunciation Note: The phonological phenomenon rendaku 連濁 still applies for reduplication in adjectives. As i. demonstrates, however, if the second syllable of the second element is voiced, even if the initial consonant of said second element is devoiced, it will not become voiced.

iii. 白々(しらじら)しい
     Shirajirashii
     Barefaced/pure white

iv. くどくどしい
      Kudokudoshii
      Verbose

Examples

From Nouns

1. 会場(かいじょう)物々(ものもの)しい雰囲気(ふんいき)(ただよ)った。
    Kaijō ni monomonoshii fun’iki ga tadayotta.
    An imposing atmosphere floated in the grounds.

2. お(じょう)さんは以前(いぜん)にも()して顔立(かおだ)ちが福々(ふくぶく)しくなっていました。
     Ojō-san wa izen ni mo mashite kaodachi ga fukubukushiku natte imashita.
     Her looks were more plump and happy-looking than ever before.

3. よく、図々(ずうずう)しい(ひと)のことを「(つら)(かわ)(あつ)い」と()います。
     Yoku, zūzūshii hito no koto wo “tsura no kawa ga atsui” to iimasu.
     We often call shameless people “brazen-faced.”

4. 甲斐甲斐(かいがい)しく()(はたら)いている外国人(がいこくじん)大勢(おおぜい)いました。
    Kaigaishiku tachihataraite iru gaikokujin ga ōzei imashita.
    There were many foreigners diligently at work.

5. 幼虫(ようちゅう)毒々しい色彩(しきさい)()つ。
    Yōchū wa dokudokushii shikisai wo motsu.
    The larvae have a poisonous-looking color scheme.

6. 店員(てんいん)さんの応対(おうたい)角々(かどかど)しいところはない。
    Ten’in-san no ōtai mo kadokadoshii tokoro wa nai.
    There isn’t anything angular about the clerk’s reception either.

7. そんな空々(そらぞら)しい(うそ)をつかなくてもいいんだよ。
    Son’na sorazorashii uso wo tsukanakute mo ii n da yo.
    There's no need for you to make such a false lie.

8. 女々(めめ)しい(おとこ)ってどんな(ひと)でしょうか。
    Memeshii otoko tte don’na hito deshō ka?
    What kind of person is a feminine man?

9. 離婚(りこん)したくないなら、あなた自身(じしん)雄々(おお)しい(おとこ)になる必要(ひつよう)があります。
    Rikon shitakunai nara, anata jishin ga ōshii otoko ni naru hitsuyō ga arimasu.
    If you don’t wish to divorce, you yourself must become manly.

10. この()には、禍々(まがまが)しいオーラを(まと)った(ひと)(おお)くいます。
       Kono yo ni wa, magamagashii ōra wo matotta hito ga ōku imasu.
      There are many people in this world that put on an ominous aura.

Word Note: Maga is an ancient word meaning “disaster.”

11. 本当(ほんとう)神々(こうごう)しい神社(じんじゃ)です。
  Hontō ni kōgōshii jinja desu.
  It is a very sublime temple.

Word Note: Kōgōshii 神々しい derives from a sound change of kamigami. This then became kamugamu which became kaugau, which finally resulted in kōgō.

12. 事々(ことごと)しく()(わけ)をする。
   Kotogoshiku iiwake wo suru.
  To pretentiously make an excuse.

Usage Note: Kotogotoshii 事々しいis particularly rare and is usually rephrased with something else.

13. (かれ)はいつも白々(しらじら)しい(うそ)ばかりで(はら)()ちます。
  Kare wa itsu mo shirajirashii uso bakari de hara ga tachimasu.
  I'm mad at how he always makes just the most glaring lies.

Word Note: Shira is a form of the noun shiro 白 (white) used specifically in compounds.

14. 彼女(かのじょ)けばけばしく化粧(けしょう)をしていた。
  Kanojo wa kebakebashiku keshō wo shite ita.
  She gaudily wore her makeup.

Spelling Note: Kebakebashii may also be spelled as毳々しい.

Word Note: The word keba is actually a noun meaning fuzz, which can be spelled as 毛羽 or 毳.

15. 艶々(つやつや)しい(かみ)をまっすぐに()らす。
   Tsuyatsuyashii kami wo massugu ni tarasu.
   To hang down one’s glossy hair straight.

Word Note: Tsuya 艶 is a noun meaning “gloss/charm.”

16. 賑々(にぎにぎ)しい繁華街(はんかがい)夕食(ゆうしょく)する。
   Niginigishii hankagai de yūshoku suru.
   To have dinner in a lively shopping district.

Word Note: The word nigi is an ancient noun for “bustle” which has not been used in isolation in a very long time. 

17. 成果(せいか)捗々(はかばか)しくなかった
  Seika wa hakabakashikunakatta.
  The results were not satisfactory.

Word Note: The haka comes from an old noun referring to work load/progress found in other words like hakaru 計る・測る・図る・量る・諮る・謀る (the nuances and spellings revolve around different senses of devising/measuring/deliberating something) and hakadoru  捗る (to make progress).

18. ドバイの2017(にせんじゅうなな)(ねん)街全体(まちぜんたい)()らす花火(はなび)とともに華々(はなばな)しく(まく)()けた。
Dobai no nisenjūnananen wa machi zentai wo terasu hanabi to tomo ni hanabanashiku maku wo aketa.
2017 in Dubai kicked off splendidly with fireworks which lit up the whole city.

Word Note: 華 is another form of 花 (flower).

19. ここは()れたての瑞々(みずみず)しい野菜(やさい)毎日食(まいにちた)べるという気楽(きらく)さを(たの)しめる(まち)です。
Koko wa toretate no mizumizushii yasai wo mainichi taberu to iu kirakusa wo tanoshimeru machi desu.
This town here is a place where you can enjoy the ease of eating fresh, picked vegetables every day.

Word Note: Mizu 瑞 is an ancient noun meaning “purity/luster.”


From Adjectives/Adjectival Nouns

20. 痛々(いたいた)しいニュースが相次(あいつ)いでいる。
   Itaitashii nyūsu ga aitsuide iru.
   Painful news keeps coming in one after another.

21. 最近(さいきん)は、()目年齢(めねんれい)若々(わかわか)しい女性(じょせい)()えている。
   Saikin wa, mita me nenrei ga wakawakashii josei ga fuete iru.
   Recently, the amount of women whose apparent age is youthful is increasing.

22. 馬鹿馬鹿(ばかばか)しい(はなし)はよしましょう。
   Bakabakashii hanashi wa yoshimashō.
   Let’s stop it with the ludicrous talks.

23. 啓祐(けいすけ)数秒(すうびょう)沈黙(ちんもく)(やぶ)って弱々(よわよわ)しい(こえ)()した。
   Keisuke wa sūbyō no chimmoku wo yabutte yowayowashii koe wo dashita.
   Keisuke broke the several seconds of silence, speaking frailly.

24. とある細々(こまごま)しい(もの)(まと)まっている商品(しょうひん)購入(こうにゅう)しました。
   To aru komagomashii mono ga matomatte iru shōhin wo kōnyū shimashita.
    I purchased merchandise with certain very fine parts bunched up.

25. (はは)はいつも苦々(にがにが)しい(かお)をしていた。
   Haha wa itsu mo niganigashii kao wo shite ita.
   My mother always had an unpleasant look on her face.

26. スタジアムは重々(おもおも)しい雰囲気(ふんいき)(つつ)まれていた。
    Sutajiamu wa omo’omoshii fun’iki ni tsutsumarete ita.
    A serious atmosphere enveloped the stadium.

27. 織田信長(おだのぶなが)短気(たんき)荒々(あらあら)しい性格(せいかく)()っていたといわれる。
   Oda Nobunaga wa tanki de ara’arashii seikaku wo motte ita to iwareru.
   It is said that Oda Nobunaga had a quick temper and rough personality.

28. 軽々(かるがる)しい行動(こうどう)()っていると、監視対象(かんしたいしょう)になり、アカウントの凍結(とうけつ)などの(きび)しい処置(しょち)になる可能性(かのうせい)があります。
Karugarushii kōdō wo totte iru to, kanshi taishō ni nari, akaunto no tōketsu nado no kibishii shochi ni naru kanōsei ga arimasu.
If you are making careless actions, you may become the target of surveillance, and there is the possibility of harsh measures such as the freezing of one’s account.

29. まめまめしく(はたら)いているのは(かれ)だけだ。
    Mamemameshiku hataraite iru no wa kare dake da.
    The only one who is painstakingly working is him.

Spelling Note: Mamemameshii may also be written as 忠実忠実しい.

30. ○○政権(せいけん)は、(みずか)らの政策(せいさく)を「○○ノミクス」だとかいって仰々(ぎょうぎょう)しく宣伝(せんでん)していますが、(あたら)しい中身(なかみ)はあるんでしょうか。
Marumaru Seiken wa, mizukara no seisaku wo “marumaru-nomikusu” da toka itte gyōgyōshiku senden shite imasu ga, atarashii nakami wa aru n deshō ka?
The ## Administration bombastically propagandizes its own policies as “##nomics,” but is there new substance to be had?

Word Note: Gyōgyōshii 仰々しい actually derives from the adjectival noun keu希有 (rare/uncommon) being reduplicated and having its pronunciation and spelling altered.

31. (ほし)淡々(あわあわ)しかった。
   Hoshi ga awa’awashikatta.
   The stars were faint.

Usage Note: Awa’awashii淡々しい is particularly rare and is usually rephrased with something else.

32. 騒々(そうぞう)しい場所(ばしょ)ではなかなか会話(かいわ)()()れない。
   Sōzōshii basho de wa nakanaka kaiwa ga kikitorenai.
   I can’t really make out conversations in noisy places.

Word Note: Although not used in isolation in Japanese, 騒 is being used here as an adjective for being “noisy.”

33. 凛々(りり)しい(ひと)(あこが)れていました。
   Ririshii hito ni akogarete imashita.
   I was attracted by gallant people.

Word Note: Ririshii 凛々しい derives from rinrin凛々 (awe-inspiring/bitter cold).


From Verbs

34. (にぎ)やかで()()れしい空気(くうき)(あふ)れている。
   Nigiyaka de harebareshii kūki ga afurete iru.
   A lively and splendid atmosphere is abounding.

35. (まわ)りに()()れしい(ひと)はいますか。
   Mawari ni narenareshii hito wa imasu ka?
   Is there anyone around who is being over-familiar?

36. ふてぶてしい態度(たいど)()(ひと)(わる)印象(いんしょう)()たれてしまう。
   Futebuteshii taido wo toru hito wa warui inshō wo motarete shimau.
   People who take a brazen attitude give out bad impressions.

Word Note: Futebuteshii ふてぶてしい derives from the verb futeru ふてる, which is a dialect variation of the verb futekusareru ふて腐れる (to become sulky), which it also gave rise to. Futebuteshii may alternatively be written as 太々しい, 不貞不貞しい, or 不敵不敵しい.

37. (わか)いころの忌々(いまいま)しい記憶(きおく)(おも)()したくない。
   Wakai koro no imaimashii kioku wo omoidashitakunai.
   I don't want to remember the provoking memories from when I was young.

Word Note: The ima comes from the verb imu 忌む (to detest/shun).

38. 盗人猛々(ぬすびとたけだけ)しい
   Nusubito takedakeshii.
   The guilty are audacious.

Word Note: Takedakeshii 猛々しい derives from the verb takeru 猛る (to rage). However, this verb form is now quite rare.

39. 清々(すがすが)しい表情(ひょうじょう)記者会見(きしゃかいけん)(のぞ)む。
   Sugasugashii hyōjō de kisha kaiken ni nozomu.
   To appear in a press conference with a brisk expression.

Word Note: The suga comes from the verb sugiru 過ぎる (to pass by).


None of the Above

40. お二人(ふたり)とも20(にじゅう)代前半(だいぜんはん)初々(ういうい)しいカップルです。
   Ofutari tomo nijūdai zenhan no uiuishii kappuru desu.
   They are an unspoiled couple both in their early twenties.

Word Note: Uiuishii 初々しい derives from the prefix ui- 初, which means “first” and is seen in a handful of words such as uizan 初産 (first childbirth).