This might be an annoying lot to read for some, so feel free to skip to the tl;dr. I’ve been going through Tae Kim’s grammar guide at a comprehensible pace, attempting to understand every grammar point (a much harder task than it sounds) and not just memorize that A means B. However, after conquering 「ので」, I came across 「のに」 which is even worse. Here’s what I figured out so far:
“Fluid” Translation: Because I go to work, I am rich.
“Fluid” Translation: Although I go to work, I am not rich.
Okay, everything seems fine so far (I hope since I constructed these myself). I figured that in Example 1, the の makes the entire clause a general noun or event, which means the で indicates that that entire clause is the means by which I am rich.
- Literal Translation: Am rich by means of (go to work). OR (Go to work) is the means by which am rich.
This kind of explains why ので is a more polite way of saying “because” than the harsher から. Anyway, Example 2 is where I need help. Since に is the target particle, I figured that the noun preceding can be the 1) reason behind the action (verb) being committed, 2) the end goal for the action being committed, or 3) target by which the action is intended for. Sooo…
Lit: I go towards the target that is second floor OR Second floor is the target by which (I go) is performed.
Fluid: I go to the second floor.
Using this different approach to understanding the に particle, I figured that Example 2’s literal translation can be something like this:
(Go to work) is the target by which am not rich. OR Am not rich towards the target that is (go to work).
So either my “target by which” nonsense is a better way to grasp the particle or it’s nothing but a bunch of nonsense. If anyone here has gotten this grammar point mastered, I would love to receive some clarity. お願いします。
TL;DR - I know that 「のに」 means “despite,” but I want to know WHY it means that.
Close, but this で is not the “by means of” で, but the て form of だ. So it’s like the continuative form of のだ, if you are familiar with that.
So it’s almost like saying “It is that I go to work, and I am rich.” since this て form is adding up states of being into one consecutive list?
I don’t really know how much there is to gain from breaking it down hyper-literally. のだ in its base form is used to explain something. So that’s how using it in continuation makes it “because” in English.
Ah that makes sense! Thank you for the explanation! And sorry, I seem to have gotten lost in the language learning to the point where I’m trying too hard lol.
It doesn’t answer your question of how 「のに」came to be, (and I’m not sure anyone will be able to answer it), but if it makes you feel better, it is also possible to use のに in the way you imagined as の making the clause a noun and に as a regular particle.
Some examples of that usage from my grammar book:
I’m curious why you are breaking ので and のに down into separate particles. I have always just looked at them as words and not particles.
Yeah, I don’t see any way to really jump from の + に to the meaning of のに that you get when they are an adversative particle.
Rather than breaking down のに into の and に, just imagine a plaintive sound of regret in your head whenever you encounter のに, because I think that will help you a lot more.
ETA: the usage that @SyncroPC describes however is different and there’s no regret in that case.
I guess I figured that somewhere down the line, it would come in handy to fundamentally understand のに assuming it pops up in a future sentence, but maybe I’m causing more trouble for myself than help. I assumed that it derived from two particles since かな and よね seem to do the same thing.
かな and よね are two separate particles that are used together, but I have never seen ので and のに talked about as two particles. They could be I do not know, but I think it is easier to just think about them as words and not dive deep into how they are formed unless you are doing an advanced study of linguistics. Understanding how to use them is more important.
It might be of more etymological interest than practical, but goo’s entry for のに does seem claim it’s derived from の + に in some way. But specifically, it mentions に as a 接続助詞 (“conjunctive particle”)… that’s probably something different from the common use of に as a “target” marker, right? Maybe a historical or obscure particle that doesn’t show up in modern Japanese? I can’t get much more out of a quick parse of that definition.
かな is a particle on its own though. It’s not か + な as far as I see.
So basically it only makes sense to use のに when Y is an unexpected or undesirable result of X?
This sentence is weird, for multiple reasons. First one being, using the verb 行く which literally translates as going to work. You would be better of using either the 仕事をしているのに structure or 働いているのに which would literally mean work.
Another way to interpret のに is how it has pretty much the same meaning as ても structure but のに is used more for one off events etc.
かな is two particles together. Here is an explanation about it from the Tobira textbook.
What’s the point of looking at them as separate particles when combined they mean something unrelated?
For some reason, certain particle combos feel like their own thing, even if they clearly are just two normal particles stapled together. かな is the question か plus the exclamation な, but I agree that かな for some reason feels like its own thing.
I didn’t know that about よね :o does tobira always offer such clear explanations for usage?
For some things it does, this section is just in a small grammar note at the end of the chapter. They have a few of them on particles.