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So, 分かる is never used as 分かれる, right? Because 分かる is already a potential-form verb, according to my Japanese grammar dictionary. About なる: can it be conjugated as なれる? Or how about ならせる? For example, 青くならせる--make it blue. If not, how do I say things like, "Make her happy; turn this blue; make it so!" And back to 分かる, can you say 分からせる: 'make it understood'?

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I think that the main reason with 分かる is to prevent confusion with the verb 別れる, which has the same root but has shifted in meaning. –  user54609 Dec 29 '13 at 2:24
    
@user54609 It's just a homonym. That's like saying we shouldn't say 'bat' in baseball because it might be confused with an animal. People can read contextual queues. When a foreigner says 分かれる, it's probably mistaken with 別れる for the contrapositive reason that 分かれる isn't grammatical and isn't a word. Like 雨 and 飴, homonyms exist in Japanese. –  Wolfpack'08 Dec 29 '13 at 2:38
    
I don't think so. 別 and 分 have similar kanji meanings, and 国語辞書 says [動ラ下一][文]わか・る[ラ下二]《「分かれる」と同語源》... –  user54609 Dec 29 '13 at 2:42
    
分かれる is also a word albeit also with a weird semantic shift. This is probably the most direct answer. –  user54609 Dec 29 '13 at 2:43
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I think it's the other way around: 分かれる has the older meaning, and 分かる gained a new meaning. As an aside, in this post sawa suggests that because *分かることができる is unacceptable the "prevent confusion with わかれる" idea doesn't fly. –  snailboat Dec 29 '13 at 3:33

1 Answer 1

分かる is never used as 分かれる, right? Because 分かる is already a potential-form verb, according to my Japanese grammar dictionary.
>> Right. You don't say 分かれる to mean "can understand".

About なる: can it be conjugated as なれる?
>> Yes, the potential form of なる is なれる.

Or how about ならせる? For example, 青くならせる--make it blue.
>>ならせる is the causative form of なる. 青くならせる is understandable but we normally use 青くする (or 青くさせる) to mean "make it blue".

Make her happy >> 幸せにする
turn this blue >> 青くする
make it so! >> そうして(imperative?) or そういうふうにして(?)

And back to 分かる, can you say 分からせる: 'make it understood'?
>> Yes. 分からせる is the causative form of 分かる.

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語源とかちょっとわかんないんで・・すいません。。 –  Choko Dec 29 '13 at 4:01

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