2016 Volume 12 Issue 2 Pages 18-34
Chotto class adverb representing “smallness of degree and amount” has two attributive representations: chotto-no type and chotto-shita type. This paper reveals the history of their semantic relationship.
Regarding the chotto-no type in medieval Japanese, chitto-no and sotto-no are similar as they both represent “smallness of degree” and “smallness of amount.” In addition, sotto-no may also represent “a small amount of time,” unlike chitto-no. This sotto was originally derived from an adverb representing “quickness.”
On the other hand, chotto-shita type has represented only the “smallness of degree” throughout history. Consequently, regarding sotto in Medieval Japanese, sotto-no represents the “smallness of amount” and “small amount of time.” Sotto-shita represents the “smallness of degree.” The function is divided. Moreover, this division can be understood as historical one. This is because the division depends not only on the particular difference between sotto-no/sotto-shita but also on chotto-no/chotto-shita type in the early modern era. This shows that the division did not disappear despite the decline of sotto. The functional division is, therefore, a form-dependent rather than lexicon-dependent.