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I recently heard about a manga entitled つっぱしり元太郎, and I'm slightly confused about the meaning of the 「つっぱしり」 in its name. I've looked the word up in several dictionaries, but have gotten no results.

From what I know and have seen, it seems that it is derived from the verb [突っ走る]{つっぱしる} (which would make sense given the apparent nature of the manga.)

Thus my question is: What is 「つっぱしり」 in this context? Is it an independent noun or adjective (if so, what is its meaning)? or is it grammatical-form derived from the aforementioned verb (if so, what is the grammar behind it)?

Thanks in advance!

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2 Answers 2

Let us examine the form of the verb in question.

突っ走る is the 終止形 (Dictionary form) Or the form you would normally use for present/future tense.

突っ走り is the 連用形 (Verb continuative form)

One of the uses of a verb in 連用形 is to form verbal compounds:

Consider these in isolation:

  • 着{き}る (Verb in 終止形) meaning "To wear"

  • 物{もの} (Noun) meaning "thing"

Now consider the compound from their combination:

  • 着物{きもの} meaning "kimono" or literally as "a thing you wear" (着 is the 連用形 of 着る)

Now let's examine つっぱしり元太郎:

Consider them in isolation:

  • つっぱしり - 連用形 of つっぱしる meaning "to run swiftly"

  • 元太郎(noun) - Gentarou (I assume a person's name)

Put them together to form:

  • つっぱしり元太郎 - "(the) Gentarou (who) runs swiftly"

Now let's compare つっぱしる元太郎 with つっぱしり元太郎.

Using 連用形 to modify the noun makes it an (intrinsic) attribute of the noun. Using the plain form(連体形) to modify the noun describes the noun in terms of what it is currently doing(being) or will do(be).

  • つっぱしる元太郎 - "Gentarou who is running(or will be running) swiftly"

  • つっぱしり元太郎 - "Gentarou who has the attribute of being able to run swiftly"


Tidbit on 終止形 and 連体形:

手紙はペンで書く (Write a letter with a pen)
書く is in 終止形 or "sentence ending form" or "predicative form"

ペンで書く手紙 (A pen-written letter)
書く is in 連体形 or "attributive form"

There might be some confusion because now apparently the "attributive form" does not in fact give the noun the attribute! Actually what it does is it attributes the action to the noun, which is so very different from describing it with an intrinsic attribute.

Compare with 書き手紙. That would mean "the letter that writes" which does not make sense under most contexts.

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Although 連体形 and 終止形 appear the same except for na-adjectives in present Japanese, the dictionary form as well as the form used for non-past tense is 終止形, not 連体形. –  sawa Nov 8 '11 at 9:46
    
@sawa after some cursory searching on the internet I found that some sources distinguish them, while some equate them or say that 連体形 replaces 終止形 in modern Japanese. I guess that because I learned of 連体形 before 終止形 and also 終止形 being "classical Japanese", I was more inclined to use 連体形 instead. –  Flaw Nov 8 '11 at 9:58
1  
It is not that 終止形 is gone. With na-adjectives, 終止形 is ...だ, and 連体形 is ...な. It is definitely ...だ that is used for non-past endings. Anyway, these terms are only used in traditional grammars, and from a modern linguistic perspective, they don't deserve academic treatment. For verbs, 連用形 is merely a verb stem (followed by an epenthetic vowel "i" if the stem ends with a consonant (五段動詞)). –  sawa Nov 8 '11 at 10:02
    
I realized that you improved your answer. I also realized that you had made a typo "つっぱり" in some previous version. That's funny. I also first misread the title as "つかいっぱしり". These are much more common words than "つっぱしり". –  sawa Nov 9 '11 at 5:34
2  
@MiguelF. Using 連用形 to modify the noun makes it an attribute of the noun. Using the plain form(連体形) to modify the noun describes the noun in terms of what it is currently doing(being) or will do(be). Compare 突っ走る元太郎 with 突っ走り元太郎. The former means "Gentarou who is running(or will be running) swiftly", the latter means "Gentarou who has the attribute of being able to run swiftly". –  Flaw Nov 9 '11 at 8:03

I'm slightly confused about the meaning of the 「つっぱしり」 in its name. I've looked the word up in several dictionaries, but have gotten no results.

Rikaichan immediately gives the verb you quoted. つっぱしり is naturally a noun derived for it.

Thus my question is: What is 「つっぱしり」 in this context?

Nothing more than a nickname I guess. Like Mickeal "King of the pop" Jackson, "Typhoid" Mary, and many others…

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