あんまり or あまり?

Hi! :wave:

In the beginning of my WK journey, example sentences to vocabulary words felt a bit overwhelming, so I rarely put in the effort to read them, but lately I’ve noticed I’ve been able to read more and more without breaking a sweat (humble auto-congratulation).

There is still so much to be learned, though haha

What I want to ask here is specifically about a word that comes back quite a lot. It would translate to “rather not” or “not much”, it’s gives nuance to a negative sentence.

When in school, I learned the あまり form for this word, but in the WK sentences, あんまり is the most common (I’ve seen あまり here and there too).

Are they actually two forms of the same word? Do they mean slightly different things, or did I misunderstand and do they have completely different meanings?

Just a question that’s been on my mind lately~

あんまり is a colloquial pronunciation. You can use it in casual situations if you want. That’s not to say that あまり is formal, just that if you are in a formal situation you should avoid あんまり.

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I see, thank you!

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Just a little extra note: you could see あんまり as a slightly emphasised/more expressive version of あまり. It’s the same with やはり and やっぱり: the former is suitable for formal situations; the latter isn’t, and is more expressive/stronger. In both cases, you can see that there’s a double consonant.

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That’s interesting! Would you say the nuance is the same between words like にほん and にっぽん? That the first one is more formal and that the second one contains more emphasis?

Neither is more formal than the other I would say. In the case of organizations and whatnot, they’ll use one or the other and you just have to stick with that when you say their name. In conversation, casual or otherwise, people don’t use にっぽん much. I do feel like にっぽん gets used more often in the context of talking about sports, like national teams and whatnot, but that’s not necessarily related to emotion. I guess if you’re doing a chant, it has a bit more oomph though.

But as I said, sometimes it’s just にっぽん in the context of a given organization with no emotion attached. The NHK is にっぽんほうそうきょうかい not にほんほうそうきょうかい, and what they call the organization is not an informal or emotional thing.

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According to this source in Japanese, it seems that にっぽん was chosen by an linguistic investigative committee in 1934, but it wasn’t officially adopted by the government. NHK apparently tends to use にっぽん as an official name for Japan (kinda like ‘the United States of America’ instead of just ‘America’ or ‘the US’, which might explain why it comes up when discussing national teams), but allows にほん otherwise. にほん is the more popular reading based on a survey, and is more common among young people, so you could see にっぽん as a slightly more old-fashioned and official reading, even if にほん certainly isn’t wrong or informal.