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「イヤがる」「イヤそう」「欲しがる」「欲しそう」「寒がる」「寒そう」などの違いですか?(「かわいがる」vs「かわいそう」は絶対に関係ないですね?) – user1016 Mar 9 '13 at 17:54
そうです。私の言う「~がる形」とは「うれしい」「悲しい」などの感情形容詞につくそれのことです。「かわいがる」は完全に別の動詞ですので。「怖がる~」のくだりは、そ‌​もそも「怖い」という形容詞自体が「~がる」をつけるか、「~そう」をつけるかによって完全に意味が変わってしまう例外だということです。 – Sindry Mar 9 '13 at 17:59
あなたが怖がる = you are afraid. あなたが怖そう = you are scary. – oldergod Mar 11 '13 at 6:28

I think the difference mainly lies in the following.

The ~がる forms make an assumption about the described person's internal state, whereas the ~そう form is a statement about the person's external appearance. (Maybe a bit like the difference between sympathy and empathy.)

For example for 寒がる・寒そう, using 寒がる refers to your empathizing with the person who is cold, whereas 寒そう describes the person who is cold as "looking cold".

In English the difference might be expressed as

He must feel very cold.
He looks (as though he is) very cold.

The ending ~たい gives the pair たがる・たそう. 食べたがる sounds more like someone is craving something; 食べたそう sounds more like someone looks like s/he wants to eat something (but chooses not to for reasons of politeness, for example). The former description is more emotional than the latter.

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I was actually curious if this was the same difference between 〜そう and 〜げ, since apparently 〜がる may come from 〜げ+ある. – snailplane Mar 9 '13 at 21:44

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