Chiisana or Chiisai

Since learning Chiisai (small) I’ve noticed it in the lyrics of several Jpop songs they use it a lot but they say Chiisana instead, So, what’s the difference? Small is an adjective and an adjective only so I’m unsure why there is more then the Onyomi and Kunyomi reading. Am I missing something vital?

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小さな is a な-adjective version, which is only ever used pre-nominally. It’s… etymologcial, I guess.

A couple of other い-adjectives also have pre-nominal な-adjective forms, for example 大きい and 大きな.


The term for that is pre-noun adjectival.

One difference in usage is that the い forms tend to be used more with objective or concrete descriptions, while the な forms tend to be used with subjective or abstract descriptions.

But that’s not a hard and fast rule or anything.


LOL I googled ‘pre-noun adjectival’ and it sent me straight back to the forums here.
Just today I saw きれいな水 and wondered what the な was doing there as きれい is already an adjective.
If I’m understanding this right, such a phrase (as it was in this particular context) would more likely be ‘pretty water scene’ or ‘pretty water location’ than ‘clean water’, as clean would be a more objective description?


Well, no, きれい is a な-adjective, just to trip things up - it always needs a な between it and a noun. When it’s in kanji, it’s 綺麗, which makes it clear there’s no ~い ending to conjugate.

The other な-adjective that pretends to be an い-adjective is きらい.


Ah, should have realized that! I’m still desperately trying to read stuff that has so much kana in it rather than kanji - makes me unable to spot this kind of thing.
I’ll have to find another example somewhere else then!


Here’s a dictionary using it, if you’re suspicious we made it up :slight_smile:小さな

The comment about な being used with subjective or abstract descriptions was only referring to pre-noun adjectivals of that type. There aren’t many.


Had to ask Siri what a Pronominal Adjective was first :joy:

But i get it now, thanks!

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