すごくなくない

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thetazuo

Senior Member
Chinese - China
Hi. This page says よくなくない? means "Isn't [that] not good?", but it says すごくなくない? means "Isn't [that] incredible? "
Why are they understood in different ways? Shouldn't すごくなくない?also means "Isn't that not incredible?"? The usage of なくない?is a bit confusing to me.:confused:
https://www.japanesewithanime.com/2019/07/nakunai.html

Thank you.
 
  • Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    When I read the blog article* I understood where the author erred. They said in the opening paragraph:
    In Japanese, nakunai なくない means "is not not" or "there is not no" or "[I] don't have no." It's a double negative, so it translates to the positives "is," "there is," and "[I] have."
    Besides the above double negative なくない is not the positive but a weak positive, the major misunderstanding that causes a few errors in this blog post is that all instances of なくない are of this type. Another type of なくない is the negative cum request for confirmation from the listener. Expressions with similar constructions and nuances are: ないよね?, ないけど, and ないでしょ. The speaker is usually quite sure of the negativeness of the statement, but they are not sure if the other party is aware of it. This confirming なくない is a device in casual speech, and it is used for expressing one's opinion without being too pushy.

    The difference between the two types of なくない may confuse learners in writing, but it is obvious in speech. The weak positive なくない is uttered with an accent pattern HLHL (H for high-pitched, and L for low-pitched, morae). You may as well recall that Japanese words have only one H. Having two H's in an utterance means, therefore, that it is a two-word construction. In fact, なくない derives from なくもない or なくはない.

    The other なくない is uttered in the LLLH pattern (or LLH, where ない forms a compressed single mora). Having only one H, it uses ない as a bound morpheme, not an independent one. I cannot locate an audio clip for this one, so please listen to the other one and try to understand the accent notation.


    *'nakunai なくない' posted on 2019-07-16 by Japanese with Anime https://www.japanesewithanime.com/2019/07/nakunai.html
     
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