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  5. "きたない"



June 6, 2017



Please be careful that the word is indeed an い-adjective, and you should never understand it as きた + ない. In some structures, such incorrect understanding will lead to incorrect word forms.


I'm learning first from the apps course. How am i supposed to know this information?


This is one of the few thing that the app-course is not perfect: in it... the Tips and Notes part is not accessible.

To know such information out of Duolingo, you need either a dictionary or a vocabulary book / grammar book. It might be surprising to beginners that distinguishing different ない (e.g. あぶない [dangerous], きたない as endings of adjectives vs ない 'not' vs 'ない' in ないて・ないた from the verb なく [to cry] vs the case when ~な and い~ happen to be close to each other), or だ etc. is a key part of intermediate Japanese grammar. These particles do change forms, so they are annoying in complex texts and apt to be misunderstood.


For those who still said you were confused by M. tang's explanation...

nai is a negative suffix (ending) for adjectives in Japanese. So you would attach nai to the end of an adjective to make it negative, that is a very common thing but kitanai is just an adjective without any alterations.

Kitanai means dirty. M. Tang was clarifying that it is not kita means clean and by adding nai it becomes not clean, aka dirty. It is just the word for dirty.

To make it negative you actually say kitanakunai... that would mean not dirty.

Which is all super confusing as a beginner, and you probably won't remember all of this starting out, but it is certainly worth knowing and some people are using this for a refresher or with another method for practice.

So for anyone here who already has seen conjugation for adjectives, kitanai is not conjugated.


I'm new at Japanese myself, but I do have a background in linguistics, so please let me know if this comparison makes any sense:

In English, it's common to turn adjectives into adverbs by adding the suffix '-ly'. (For example, "sad" becomes "sadly", meaning "in a sad manner".)

Nine times out of ten, an English word that ends in '-ly' will be such an adverb. But there also exist adjectives (such as "early", "ugly" and "silly") that cannot be treated as, or converted into, adverbs in this way. Nor can the last syllable be removed without destroying the meaning of the word.

What you're saying is that きたない is like that as well: not a root word with a frequently used affix, but a complete word unto itself.


Yes! But きたない is almost always written as 汚い specifically to combat this.


The "-ly" morpheme cannot be detached from these words now, but it could be detached in the past (i.e. in Old English). For example, "silly" comes from O.E. "sæl" = happiness. Adding "-lig" makes it into an adjective "sælig" (it's still the same in German, "selig" = happy, blissful). Similarly "early" came from O.E. "ær" = soon, ere. As for "ugly", its Norse root is "uggr" = fear, apprehension, dread. So it all these cases, there indeed was a stem that has got the morpheme "-ly" (-"lig") attached to it to make it into an adjective or adverb. It's just that the original forms got lost in time and are no longer used in modern English.


So you mean kitanai is not a compound word, whereas there may be compound words ending with 'nai', for example. Right!! Thanks .

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I don't think Japanese has compound words. "Nai" as a negation is a suffix, possibly part of the conjugation.


Replying to Rae.F (sorry your comment is two years old so this reply will be very late):

Japanese does have compound words, in the form of compound verbs. Although this is a much higher level thing, V1 + 連用形 + V2 is a compound verb. For example, 飛び込む (とびこむ), to fly into, is a compound verb, putting together the 連用形 stem of 飛ぶ and 込む is a verb with many meanings (in this case it means "into"). There are many many more examples, like 付き合う、食べ歩く、見上げる、etc.


"I" is for adjectives such as "na"

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I see. I only had two semesters of Japanese, and we only got as far as the て-form, which is something a bit different.


Very good explanation

Some people were saying there are no compound words. There are ways of taking two words in japanese and connecting them. Usually to better describe something, like taking the verb jump and the adjective for high. The combined word means to jump high

Nai is also the end for some verb conjugations that also means not, as in instead of i eat it would mean i do no eat.

There are alot of things going on and it can be very hard to keep them straight

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Yes, like 食べる taberu - 食べない tabenai 、知るshiru - 知らないshiranai .


Excellent explanation, especially for a complete beginner like me. I wanted to know why wouldn't it be "kitanai" + "nai" instead of "kitanakunai", as that would be "root word" + "negation" as logic would dictate.


Nah i think it is kitanai dewa arimasen


Mbunk1 is correct,
It is actually an い adjective so it gets conjugated to 汚くない "kitanakunai" for the negative "not dirty"
Negating the copula です is only used for な adjectives which act more like nouns.


Τhank you very much!


I dont get it...


Neither do I, we'll have to find a good explaination on the internet I suppose


I think he means that the -い ending makes it an adjective, but that the conjuction ない has many other instances that might become confusing for a first learner. It was a bit of a convoluted explanation.


Since I am still a beginner, I don't worry about spending too much time on details that I might pick up (learn) more easily after I have a larger vocabulary. But I DO appreciate these explanations, because I will be aware there is more to understand with this hiragana. Thank you. : )


he means that many words have the the suffix of "nai", which makes an adjective its antonym. that sounds confusing, but think of it like this: in most words, you would divide kitanai into kita(clean) and nai, nai turning the adjective clean into dirty. however, for kitanai, this is not the case. the word for clean is a completely different word, and kitanai just happens to have nai at the end.


It got complicated.. i think what he wanted to say is that many words have different endings in this case it is an い ending word (complicated i know) and it has different conjugations and in this case it's not in a negative form present "ない" but the word is 汚い (きたない) that's why duolingo should put the word in kanji two so people start to learn this differences


Thanks!! You explained so easily and clearly that I was finally able to understand <3


Right. When I was in school there was a library full of books.

I find it mind boggling how people can think they can get by without additional reference material, either in the form of books or web sites.

Alternate resources are essential.


Absolutely, I've learnt kana and same basic kanji long time ago but forgot some, also was learning Japanese for a bit at university and I don't have problems even I forgot a lot. Duolingo is good for remembering basics or helping you to remember stuff if you are learning it from something else but just learning it only here? Not so sure about it

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Have you tried tapping on the lightbulb icon?


I don't believe there's much sense in getting into formal grammar before some exposure to the language.


Yeah... we havent even learned the alphabet yet!

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We're in the middle of learning the hiragana and katakana syllabaries (not alphabets). And they're slowly introducing kanji (definitely not an alphabet) one or two at a time.


Okay, I am still at the early stage of my learning but I have seen the term, Japanese alphabet in use.

And I just Googled "japanese​ alphabet" and got a large RESULT. Google itself said: Hiragana is the main alphabet or character set for Japanese. Japanese also consists of two other character sets - Kanji (Chinese characters), which we will get into later, and another alphabet/character set, Katakana, which is mainly used for foreign words.

So… there you go.


They're syllabaries, each character represents a syllable or vowel sound, as opposed to an alphabet in which each character represents a single sound and they can be combined to make syllables.

So Japanese has no alphabet but two syllabaries. Hiragana and katakana. Then kanji which is a logography.. as in characters represent concepts/words, instead of sounds.

Google tends to know what you mean when you search something that is not entirely accurate it will still give you plenty of results. And also plenty of people treat similar concepts as interchangeable, but that doesn't make them the same.
If you use an alphabetic language it is easy to think of things in those familiar terms, but they're not alphabets.

Just like kanji are not hieroglyphics or pictographs. Similar concepts, not the same.

So... There you go... Lol

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The point is that we're in the middle of learning it right now, so you can't say they haven't taught us yet.

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Duo arranges comments from highest voted to lowest and limits how many levels down you can directly reply to someone. It can be a little confusing.


Ugh it's so hard to pronounce this the way they say the ki.....


Well I don't want to be confusing, but you should press settings that gear ⚙️ on the screen and then press the "Japanese and pronunciation" option that pops up.


Dirty as in "he has a dirty behaviour" or "these clothes are dirty"?


It can be used to express both that something is not sanitized / clean, and some moral judges, but the latter meaning is a little different from the English 'dirty behaviour'.

Excerpt from the dictionary 新明解 with my translation.

  • Appearing not clean, or making others feel not clean: dirty feet. dirty environment.

  • Making others uncomfortable / something unacceptable by breaking its original orders: bad handwriting. dirty words. broken language. a room with things scattered.

  • So egocentric that the action makes other people uncomfortable: a dirty / ignoble victory (using some obscure methods).


There seemed to be some confusion regarding the "nai" ending, so I thought I'd try to explain it more clearly.

"nai" can be used to negate certain words, for example taberu-tabenai (eat-not eat). But in the case of "kitanai" it is important to know that it isn't the negation of a word (i.e it isn't the negation of "kita"), it is its own word. This distinction makes grammatic difference, and changes how the word is used.

Furthermore, as stated, kitanai is an i-adjective. Japanese adjectives can be divided into two categories: i-adjectives and na-adjectives, and they work a little bit differently grammatically. i-adjectives end with the hiragana for "i". Thus 寒い (samui) and 暖かい (atatakai) are i-adjectives but 静か(shizuka) and 有名(yuumei) are not. Note that the last one would have looked like an i-adjective if written with romaji or only hiragana, and it is only when we use kanji that we see which actually are i-adjectives. na-adjectives are simply the adjectives that are not i-adjectives. They do not need to end with "na".

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One thing that learners need to understand is that there are a limited number of syllables in Japanese. There will be homophones.


Why is it showing words I have never seen before


In this excerise, they took the characters learned in the previous lesson(s) and string them together to form a word. It is showing how each character put together can create a word/sentence. You can tap the characters to see what it is supposed to mean in English.


Jonas, i don't know why you got such a negative response. I thought your comment was humorous. Lighten up folks! lol


I was already 20ish when I first realized that intelligence is something that everyone can respect and desires, yet ironically, is ostracized when it makes the self feel inadequate by contrast.

Humor is a telltale sign of intelligence. Though in all honesty, I just think the joke flew over people's heads and the knee jerk reaction was to torch the perceived insult. Yes, it's silly either way.


Maybe it's trying to teach you.


More about きたない「汚い」 "Kitanai"

English translations: dirty, soiled, unclean, dingy, grimy, grubby, begrimed, raunchy, grungy, sordid


汚い通りです。 /きたないどおり/ kitanai doori - It is a dirty street.

お前、汚い!/おまえ、きたない/Omae kitanai - You're dirty! (This is really rude)

水道水が汚いです。 /すいどうすいがきたないです/Suidousui ga kitanai desu - The tap water is dirty.

彼の部屋はいつも汚いですね。/かれのへやはいつもきたないですね/Kare no heya wa itsumo kitanai desu ne. - His room is always dirty, isn't?

I hope this helps.




I remember this as my mum telling me off for my dirty bedroom. Ki-ta-nai, "Keep an I on this dirty room!".


He is saying that there are ways of describing a verb as a negative when using "nai" and some adjectives have the "nai" sound in it. He is just giving you a heads up


Китай - it means China in russian language


I remember by 'my football kit an' I' are dirty


Hindi learners could benefit from associating this with the hindi word Kitaanu (germs),

If it has kitaanu (germs) then it is kitanai.


It sounds like "Shtanai" but its kitanai. why is this?


That might explain it (or confuse it even further: https://youtu.be/Y4ufdLx1Me0 When she says it fast it's stanai, when she says it slowly it's kitanai. How can ki change into s? I've got no idea...

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It could be a bad sound file. Japanese is generally pronounced exactly as it's written in kana.


Thats a dirty "kitchen knife" Idk, it helps me remember!


maybe to remember it .... you know when your room is dirty and you want the KEYS for your car to go out TONIGHT but ur room is DIRTY? key-tonight? (kitanai)?


When tje pronouncer says this word, it sohnds like they are saying skijanai


"Hey! Clean the knife! You 'ki ta nii' all dirty!" (This is the only thing I could think of)


い-adjective, and you should never understand it as きた + ない. In some structures, such incorrect understanding will lead to incorrect word forms.


How is this pronounce? The automated voice is confusing


I hear "k-tanai"...Am I the only one?


I'm sorry, isn't it nai like a negative of an adjective? So literally "not clean"?

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No, that's just a coincidence that it ends in ...nai.


No, some words have the sound of "nai" in it but its actually an adjective.




I remember this cause "kids are nasty" rings to kitanai lol


How to say My name is priyal

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わたし の なまえ は プリヤル です

watashi no namae ha puriyaru desu

Note: the grammar particle "は" is spelled "ha" but is pronounced "wa".


Kita = come nai = not kitanai - She did not come over because my room is dirty.

No, that's not how its translated, just how my dumb brain can i remember it.


could someone use this in a sentence and translate it to english for me? im not entirely sure what you would use this for in context.


I think this is pretty much a sentence on it's own. I remember trying "unclean" and having it accepted, so now I checked and I think this is an "い" adjective. The naughty "ない" is what made me originally think to try "unclean", thinking this was in negative form or something.

  • For context as requested, the speaker would simply walk into a messy room as we see in the picture duo associates with this word and just exclaim:

"Messy!" "Unclean!" "Dirty!"



I would suggest putting an explanation of how you got the answer right im just starting so giving an a example would be hard but lets try( dirty ) what should happen is after you choose there right answer to give the example (te,shi,ta,ke) words like that below it would help people get more use to seeing the symbols as words hope that helped a bit and hope i didnt confuse anyone


Question: im watching a fight scene and one of the participants, after getting decked in the gut, said, "KITANAI, KITANAI!" (Or kitenai) With a translation of "it doesn't hurt!". Can someone explain?


It depends on the translator, sometimes when it comes to subtitles they don't do direct translations and just write what would sound the most natural for the situation in the target language.
汚い・きたない isn't just "dirty" as in physically dirty/unclean but also dirty as in underhanded/mean/dastardly which would make sense in a fighting context,

You may also have instead been hearing いたくない "itakunai" which is the negative of the adjective 痛い・いたい "itai", meaning "painful, sore"


汚い(kitanai) not clean


I was just about to ask if きた ment anything thanks for clearing that up for me, jungerstein-さん


When we are asked to translate in English, sometimes it takes the word written in English and other times ot asks for meaning of the word in English. I got it wrong a few times due to the confusion, ad for both translate the word to English is written. Any ideas how to differentiate?


Duo will always want you to translate to English,
What I assume you mean by the first one is not actually writing in English but transliterating the Japanese word into romaji; the latin/roman alphabet.
The only case where it may appear it wants this as an answer is actually because the word in English is the same as the Japanese; it is a direct loan word from Japanese because no English equivalent exists. This includes words like "sushi", "emoji", "mochi", "udon", "soba", "haiku", "karaoke", "tsunami", etc.

When English adopts something it usually uses the name given to it in the original language rather than attempt to translate it (esp. food). So English uses words like "tortilla" (Spanish), "sauerkraut" (German), "macaroni" (Italian) "champagne" (French) instead of try to translate them literally.


'Clean your room tonight!' Is what i think of.


I put "gross" as an answer, it should have worked.


Could this also mean dirty as in perverted?





but "Nai" is at the end, shouldnt be "it is not dirty"?

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No. That's kind of like breaking "underwear" down into "not derwear".


Anyone have a good way to remember this one ?


"get 'a (the) DIRTY (stuff off) my (plate) - ie do the dishes!

"get da NAsty (DIRTy) awaaaIY"
ki ta na i

"key to nasty" is DIRTY.
ki ta nai

ki ta na i


The way the word is said always makes me think the woman is saying Kikanai

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Kitanai. The /t/ sound and the /k/ sound are pretty similar to each other, so it can be easy to mishear one as the other.


As a beginner, how should I know the meaning of a haven't seen before? What about the "Tips"? There's no such word in it!


"As A bEgInNeR, hOw ShOuLd I kNoW tHe MeAnInG oF a HaVeN't SeEn BeFoRe?"

You learn new things by being exposed to new things, when a new word or kanji is shown (but not always) it will be colored orange. Be it orange or not, you can always hoover the word with your cursor and translations will show with the most typical and adequate uses for the current phrase.

The lessons are only "testing you" if you decide to jump levels. Just relax and have fun bro.


Didnt have to do the dude like that in the begining sometimes just being nice in the beging is all you need but i do agree


We keep learning "dirty". When do we learn "clean"?


きれい is "clean" and is introduced a bit later in the course, though first introduced for its other meaning "pretty"


Why does the pronounciation sound like "shtanai" instead of "kitanai"?

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Next time something like that happens, flag it and report a problem with the audio.


So from what I read, if a word ends in 'nai' like dekinai (I think it means useless) it's bad? Like this word? Sorry i'm only a beginner and i'm not good with grammar stuff...

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Not always, no. Japanese has a limited number of syllables, so it has a lot of homophones. Sometimes "-nai" is an ending that negates the root word, and sometimes it's just an i-adjective that happens to end with "na".


Intonation off.

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In what way is it off? How should it be?


きshould be mid-pitch, followed by steadily rising た and なfollowed by a drop of pitch in い.


What's dingy? That's what it said the correct answer was


i answered the problem with dirt and i got it wrong because the answer was dirty. i just didn't add the y. why!!!!!??????

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Dirt is a noun.
Dirty is an adjective.

They are not interchangeable because they are different parts of speech.

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