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Where does 少なからず come from?

crocket

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少なからず means considerably according to jisho.
It seems this word comes from the mixture of すくない and something else.
What is it that mixes with 少ない?

Also, does anyone know what 何て consists of? なんて - Jisho.org doesn't give etymology.
 
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Toritoribe

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少なからず means considerably according to jisho.
It seems this word comes from the mixture of すくない and something else.
What is it that mixes with 少ない?
It's from classical Japanese. 少なから is the conclusive form (未然形) of a classical -ku conjugation adjective (ク活用形容詞) 少なし, and ず is the adverbial form (連用形) of a classical negative auxiliary verb ず, thus, 少なからず corresponds to 少なくなく or 多く/たいへん in modern Japanese.
e.g.
現代文にも古語は少なからず存在している。 = 現代文にも古語は多く存在している。

Also, does anyone know what 何て consists of? なんて - Jisho.org doesn't give etymology.
彼はなんて大食らいなんだろう。
from なん(=何)という

なんて言ってるの?
the euphonic change of なに(=何)と

1週間でそのレポートを仕上げるなんて不可能だ。
the euphonic change of などと, i.e., the kanji 何て can't be used in this meaning.

なんて【何て】
[副]《「なんという」の音変化》
なんて【何て】の意味 - goo国語辞書

なんて
[副助]《副助詞「など」に格助詞「と」の付いた「などと」の音変化》
なんて[副助]の意味 - goo国語辞書
 

crocket

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Thanks for a complete elucidation of the meanings.
Can you explain
the conclusive form (未然形) of a classical -ku conjugation adjective (ク活用形容詞)
in more detail?
 

Toritoribe

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Ooops, the translation of 未然形 should be the imperfective form. The conclusive form refers to 終止形. Sorry.
The inflection of classical adjectives are different from the modern ones. 未然形 corresponds to the pre -nai form, and カリ活用 is applied to ず.

形容詞 - Wikipedia
(all in Japanese)

e.g.
modern: 暑い --> 暑くない
classical ク活用: 暑し --> 暑からず

modern: 楽しい --> 楽しくない
classical シク活用: 楽し --> 楽しからず
 

crocket

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Are you basically saying that 'から' is the ancient form of 'く' and 'ず' is the ancient form of ’なく' which is the adverbial form of 'ない'?
 

Toritoribe

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Not really. It's more complicated. カリ活用 is applied only to specific auxiliary verbs such like ず, き for the past tense or しむ for causative. So, for instance, the adverbial form (連用形) 少なく, not 少なかり, is used to continue clauses even in classical Japanese.
e.g.
少年老い易く、学成り難し。
(易かり is not used in here.)

As for ず, the imperfective form (未然形) and the conclusive form (終止形) are also ず,and furthermore, ず has other 連用形 ざり and に.
e.g.
用法決して少なからず。(= 用法は決して少なくない。)
類似の質問少なからざりき。(= 類似の質問は少なくなかった。)

Thus, "から and く" or "ず and なく" are not the one-to-one corresponding between classical and modern Japanese.
Incidentally, there are other negative auxiliary verbs じ and まじ. Classical Japanese is complicated even for natives, indeed.
 

crocket

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Thanks. I'm just a beginner. I understand less than half of it. I should probably come back to it when I become a more advanced japanese speaker.
 
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