Take the 2-minute tour ×
Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Here is a sentence from the children's story ももたろう, describing when the child appears from within the giant peach.

桃の中から赤ちゃんが出てきました。

My dictionary lists 出て来る as meaning "to come out" with a note that it is a "special class, kuru verb." It also separately lists 出る as capable of meaning "to come forth."

What does using 出て来る accomplish over just using 出る?

I originally read 出て来る as two separate words: the て form of 出る + 来る, translating it as "exited and came." Is that essentially the etymology of 出て来る? Is 出て来る merely an idiom that my dictionary happens to list as a separate word?

share|improve this question
    
Are you asking about the etymology of something like カブトムシが出てきた? –  Earthliŋ May 19 at 16:04
    
The etymology may help me to understand when to choose certain words, so I am always interested in that. Specifically and more practically though, I am more asking about when to use a 〜て来る verb over the plain version. E.g. 出て来る vs. 出る. –  shinykitten May 19 at 16:10
1  
etymology surely... rather than entomology –  jkerian May 19 at 16:17
    
I feel てくる is often obligatory when you describe a situation that “(you find) something appears/exists” but the verb does not have the meaning of “appear” or the action takes place somewhere else before you notice it. It is used when the action is targeted to you. In either case, I think it functions like a kind of voice marker. 話しかけてきた, 電話がかかってきた, etc. きた = to me. (雨が)降ってきた, 出てきた, やってきた, etc. きた = appear, take place, happen, etc. –  Yang Muye May 19 at 16:21
    
Past question on the construction: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/676/difference-between-ていく-and-てくる –  Tim May 19 at 23:33

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The difference between 出る and 出てくる is that the later is specifically oriented towards the speaker (and if included, which is not always the case, also the hearer).
Compare the next two examples:

 a. 家から出てきた。
    [Someone] came out of the house.
 b. 家を出ていった。
    [Someone] left the house. OR [Someone] left for good.

In (a), we are located outside of the house, and the person inside the house comes out. As a result he is outside with us. Since where we are is "here", the person in the house moves to "here", i.e. comes. That is the meaning of the verb くる. In (b), we are inside the house (=here), and the person leaves, i.e. moves from "here" to some other place that is not "here". And that's the meaning of the verb いく.
But if you just use 出る then the locative specification (the information from where the person comes, and where the person moves to) is simply missing.
However, there is also a temporal use of ~てきた・いった. That is not surprising because linguists know that many languages treat temporal expressions like locative expressions. Most of the examples by Wang Muye have a temporal meaning.

c. 雨が降ってきた。
   It had come to rain.
d. 物価は上がっていくだろう。
   Prices will go up from now on.

Hope that helps.

share|improve this answer
    
Ah, I had not previously considered the orientation of the action with respect to the observer. So yes, this clears it up quite nicely. –  shinykitten May 19 at 16:54

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.