中々 and みんなの日本語


#1

Hey there! I’ve only been on Wanikani for a short while, and have recently covered 中々. In Wanikani, it lists the meaning as very, considerably, or quite. The next day, however, I went to my Japanese class, where we use みんなの日本語。It lists the meaning as “not easily, always used with a negative.” My Japanese teacher went on to say that it is never written in kanji. What could this mean?


#2

jisho lists both, with the meaning you learned in class only as an adverb, while the WK meaning is listed as both and adverb and an adjective.


#3

If you were to write it as 中々, native speakers would understand. However, in modern Japanese it is usually just written in hiragana. Since the primary goal of wanikani is to teach kanji, oftentimes vocab is given that utilizes those kanji but may be commonly written differently.

As for the actual MEANING of なかなか, that is a more complicated question. To put it in terms that might explain the confusion you have between meanings, なかなか is an emphatic word that means “very”. It has a different usage than the word “very” in English sometimes, but the general idea is that it emphasizes a point. In みんなの日本語, they likely taught なかなか to you in the context of a negative expression, in which case it is emphasizing the negativity of the rest of the sentence. Some examples:

あなたは日本語がなかなか上手になってきたんだね。
You’ve really gotten good at Japanese, haven’t you?

今日の宿題はなかなかうまくいかない。
Today’s homework is not going very well.

In both of those sentences, なかなか was used to emphasize the point, one of which was positive and the other of which was negative. A lot of textbooks tend to teach なかなか in one of those or the other, but the truth is that it is used in both. I hope this explanation helps clear things up a bit.


#4

This just means that if you use the “not easily” meaning, the verb has to be in the negative form. It doesn’t conflict with the other, positive meaning.

To say it’s never written in kanji is an exaggeration, but it’s usually not.


#5

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