多かれ少なかれ

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lammn

Senior Member
Chinese - Cantonese
Hi All,

What is the meaning of ~かれ when it comes after the stem of an i-adjective?
Examples are:

彼はその事柄に多かれ少なかれ通じているようだ。
Can this ~かれbe applied to other i-adjectives as well?
Thanks for any help!
 
  • Noamoxkaltontli

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Mexico
    Hi!

    多かれ少なかれ turned out as an independent expression in my dictionary, it means "to a greater or lesser extent".
    I tried looking for some other pairs of adjectives with the same structure and I found:
    遅かれ早かれ sooner or later

    I infer that ~かれ is an older form for ~くても, as all other i-adjectives accepted it in IME without any trouble at the time of conversion.
     

    pdmx

    Senior Member
    French, France
    Is it not an oralised form for 多くあれ、少なくあれ
    "be there a lot or a few"
    in the subjonctive ?
     

    Noamoxkaltontli

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Mexico
    That makes a lot of sense ethymologically pdmx!:)
    Thank you

    I remember goo listed 多かれ as an imperative form of the archaic adjective 多しthough, I wonder where does that fit in.
     

    Noamoxkaltontli

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Mexico
    I would like to be clear on if 多くあれ少なかれ is subjunctive or two imperatives in a row.

    多し=多い
    多かれ=?

    Sorry about the lack of coherence there.
     

    pdmx

    Senior Member
    French, France
    I suggested subjunctive because to me there is no intention of imperative such as ordering something to somebody.

    However I feel it's the same as with English i.e. the same verbal form is used for imperative and subjunctive usages, so what your source mentions as "an imperative form of the archaic adjective 多し" may actually be the same as what I call subjunctive.

    (my feeling on those subjects is too latin and my knowledge in theoretical Japanese grammar is to weak - sorry)
     

    kaito

    Senior Member
    German
    Well, like I said at the same place I think, I see the "imperative" was/is often used like that, and that is clearly the form known as the imperative.
     

    Noamoxkaltontli

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Mexico
    I suggested subjunctive because to me there is no intention of imperative such as ordering something to somebody.

    However I feel it's the same as with English i.e. the same verbal form is used for imperative and subjunctive usages, so what your source mentions as "an imperative form of the archaic adjective 多し" may actually be the same as what I call subjunctive.

    (my feeling on those subjects is too latin and my knowledge in theoretical Japanese grammar is to weak - sorry)
    That sounds very convincing. My knowledge of subjunctive is just as latin, and my knowledge of grammar obvioulsy below yours :) no need to apologize.
     

    lammn

    Senior Member
    Chinese - Cantonese
    Thanks to all of you's replies!
    It takes me quite awhile to figure out the discussion above because I didn't know what is "subjunctive" in the first place. :eek:

    多かれ少なかれ turned out as an independent expression in my dictionary, it means "to a greater or lesser extent".
    I tried looking for some other pairs of adjectives with the same structure and I found:
    遅かれ早かれ sooner or later
    Thanks for the information!
    So I'm wondering if this construction works for other i-adjectives as well.
    For example:

    良かれ悪かれ = for better and for worse? :confused:
    Or is this construction only limited to set phrase?

    Also, is it always necessary to use the ~かれ in pairs?
    Can I use it as a stand-alone word?
    For example, can I say 彼はその事柄に多かれ通じているようだ?

    Is it not an oralised form for 多くあれ、少なくあれ
    "be there a lot or a few"
    in the subjonctive ?
    Are you suggesting that 多くあれ is slurred to 多かれ in colloquial speech?
     
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    Noamoxkaltontli

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Mexico
    Taked me quite awhile to figure out the discussion above because I didn't what is "subjunctive" in the first place.
    The moods are a tricky business. :)

    良かれ悪かれ got a lot of hits on google, but
    良かれ悪しかれ was on yahoo dictionary.

    I think it was a common construction at one time, as it was discussed above, but it is restricted to fossilized set phrases of literary language and pairs nowadays.

    But in an engine search I just did I found two more, so I do not think the use is extremely restricted:
    美しかれ悲しかれ
    軽かれ重かれ

    As it was mentioned early, though, i-adj. stem + kare are the imperative forms of the adjectives (it is not clear to me if this is archaic or not anymore).

    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/赤い
    you can click in "show declension" to see for yourself.
     
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    kaito

    Senior Member
    German
    it is not clear to me if this is archaic
    It is, I have yet to find an imperative for adjectives in modern Japanese, I think there is none officially, at least no simple form.

    I read mainly examples given in dictionaries and so far I have never encountered ~くあれ, ~かれ was the standard version it seems.
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    Hi pdmx,

    I suggested subjunctive because to me there is no intention of imperative such as ordering something to somebody.

    However I feel it's the same as with English i.e. the same verbal form is used for imperative and subjunctive usages, so what your source mentions as "an imperative form of the archaic adjective 多し" may actually be the same as what I call subjunctive.

    (my feeling on those subjects is too latin and my knowledge in theoretical Japanese grammar is to weak - sorry)
    Perhaps you meant the realis form (已然形) by subjunctive? Or were you referring to a function rather than a form?

    The realis and imperative forms look identical in many conjugation paradigms since Hēan Japanese but they are proven to have different pronunciations in Nara Japanese (realis e2 vs. imperative e1). Another change in the Hēan Era is that the realis forms were no longer to be used independently. It was by then mandatory that they were followed by provisional clause-linkage markers such as -domo or -ba. I don't know how 多かれ少なかれ would have been written in Maňyō script but I'd wager that they, or equivalent constructions, were written with kanjis for エ甲 (e1).

    Now, the form called "imperative" has a few quirky usages. It can express surprise or strong assertion about what one's interlocutor has done:
    嘘をつけ: "You are lying." — not an exhortation to tell a lie :)

    It can also express concession as 多かれ少なかれ does:
    いずれにせよ / いずれにしろ: whichever it may be

    Neither construction is very productive but they are too conspicuous to neglect. All in all, the "imperative form" has a lot in common with Romance subjunctives.

    Edit: lammn, 多くあれ is the original form of 多かれ. The phonological change was taking place in Nara Period. Now the tide is turning and 多くあれ sounds more natural in Modern Japanese. ;) Or perhaps there is no such as thing as the single imperative form nowadays (kaito).
     
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