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"네" and "아니요" are often paired together as opposites ("yes"/"no").

However, I just noticed they are different parts of speech. What I mean is: 아니요 has a verb stem that you can add Korean verb endings to (like 아니다 + -지만 = 아니지만). However, there is no way to combine 네 + -지만) So "아니요" is a verb and "네" is an... interjection?

I find it interesting they are different parts of speech, and wonder how that came to be.

I understand there are many Korean verbs that have the same meaning as "네" that you can attach verb endings to (맞다, 그렇다, etc). Is there a non-verb equivalent word for "아니요?"

So the concept of "yes"/"no" turns out to be quite complex in every language. So maybe "it's just the way it is." There is no reason "yes" and "no" have to be the same part of speech. It would make sense, though. It seems weird to answer a question positively with just an interjection, but answer the same question negatively with a verb.

Perhaps an etymology of 네 vs 아니요 would shed some light on the reason they are different parts of speech?

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First things first, you got something wrong: “아니요” is an interjection as well as “네.”


The etymologies: “아니요” and “아니다.”

Both the interjection “아니요” (“no”) and the adjective “아니다” (“not-being-so (of ……)”) have been derived from the same origin, the noun “아니” and the copula “-이-” of old Korean, only varying endings added to them (“-요” and “-다”). They are similar in structure, that seeing one as the conjugation of another makes sense, but eventually one just happened to be an interjection because it's been used that way, and the same goes for another.

기원적으로 형용사 ‘아니다’는 명사 ‘아니’에 서술격 조사 ‘이다’가 결합하여 형성되었습니다(좀더 정확히 말하면 「‘아니’(명사)+‘이-’(서술격 조사)」의 구조를 가지던 말이 근대 국어 말기에 형용사 어간 ‘아니-’로 재구조화되었다고 할 수 있습니다.).

The etymology of “아니다,” from National Institute of Korean Language - Which is right: “아니에요” or “아니예요?”

The etymology: “네.”

The origin of the interjection “네” is……, unfortunately, unknown.


Yeah, those are the etymologies of the two different words. And you know what; just because two words have a similar usage doesn't mean they're supposed to be similar in others, like, origin, or whether another word with the same origin exists or not, right? Nothing to get confused about it.


TL; DR: just two different words being different.

  • “네” and “아니요” are interjections, because they happened to be.
  • “아니요” has another similar word of the common origin “아니,” the adjective “아니다,” which, surprisingly, is considered to be a conjugatable basic form!
  • I'm not sure if I can see “아니요” as a conjugation of “아니다.” It makes sense, but even if it's the case, the two are now different enough to have different parts of speech.
  • The origin of “네” is even not clear.
  • That's it; nothing wrong with that, no?
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1) 아니요, 네 are exclamations in opposite position

2) 아니다 is adjective.

철수는 학생이다. Chulsoo is a student.

철수는 학생이 아니다. chulsoo is not a student.

@ 이다 has a variation like a 아니다 : 학생이지만 공부를 안한다. He is a student but he does not study.

학생이 아니지만 공부를 한다. He is not a student but he studies.

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