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I've noticed (through much frustration) that many 自~/他~ pairs have "opposite" forms; particularly with the ~u and ~eru types. For example, 焼く・焼ける are opposite from 開く・開ける.

焼く (他) - パン焼く ("Bake bread")
焼ける (自)- パンちょうどよく焼けた ("The bread was baked just right")

開く (自) - ドアひとりでに開いた!怖いでしょう! ("The door opened by itself! Isn't that creepy?")
開ける (他)- 彼女のためにドア開けてあげる ("I open doors for my girlfriend")

Is there any logical reason that some pairs like these have "opposite" forms??? Or is it just to piss off the people trying to learn them??

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A web search shows that there is a paper (in Japanese) about this very topic. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 18 '11 at 15:53
    
すごいですね。読んでみます。恐縮です! –  istrasci Jun 18 '11 at 17:22
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Hahaha! 今読みつつ、挙げられている例も同じ!偶然だろっ! –  istrasci Jun 18 '11 at 17:30
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“In short: it's complicated.” Haha, I guessed so. :) –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 18 '11 at 20:05
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+1 Because your second question rocks and I'm sure every student of Japanese asks the same question at some point. –  dotnetN00b Feb 29 '12 at 23:32
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1 Answer

http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/ti_list.html Has a good list of them, in case you wanted to see them at a glance.

Nothing I could find gave a good reason for it. Probably the language just evolved organically, as they tend to do.

Of course, linguists will try to explain anything, so I'm not surprised that Japanese paper is so hard to digest.

Personally, I wouldn't worry about it and just learn the words in context.

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