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Most -eru and -aru pairs of verbs that I know are transitive/intransitive counterparts of each others. For example, 見つかる is the intransitive counterpart for the transitive 見つける, and 変わる is the intransitive counterpart for the transitive 変える.

But there is one special pair of -eru and -aru that I know for sure is not transitive/intransitive. They are actually both transitives:

預ける {あずける}
預かる {あずかる}

Furthermore, the beautiful part of this pair is they are complementing each other by having each one of them covering the opposite sides of the action of 預ける / 預かる:

子猫のチーを預けました。 I entrusted (someone) to take care of Chii the kitten.

子猫のチーを預かりました。 (Someone) entrusted me to take care of Chii the kitten.

Are there any other pairs of -eru/-aru verbs that have the similar relation with each other? Is there special class of verbs for this kind of verb pairs? Or is 預ける / 預かる the only pair?

p/s: I'm not sure how to write -eru in hiragana; 〜える looks weird because it seems to only covers verbs that literally end with える like かえる etc.

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I have never thought that 預ける/預かる is any different from other -eru/-aru pairs. Interesting! –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 4 '11 at 20:35
    
If you are looking for -eru/-aru pairs where both are transitive or both are intransitive (am I understanding the question correctly?), the only other pair I could find is 抜ける/抜かる, which are both listed as intransitive. –  Derek Schaab Jun 5 '11 at 16:12
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@Derek Both transitive or both intransitive are fine but it would be great if the meaning/usage of two verbs are related to each other the way 預ける/預かる are. With 抜かる = "to make mistake" and 抜ける = "to come out", they seem to just have the same kanji by chance to me. –  Lukman Jun 5 '11 at 16:38
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The pair 預ける・預かる is actually not irregular at all: it belongs to a class of verbs of conveying (mostly giving and saying) that behaves differently in this regard in many languages.

To see that we have to look at the relations between transitive and intransitive verbs (as well as passive and active verbs) from a linguistic point of view - this is something that linguists call Valency (or Valence). From this point of view, verbs have a set of arguments that specify all of the participants that took part in the event described by the verb. Each of the arguments is marked differently than the other (in English using word order and prepositions, in Japanese with particles alone).

The verb 預ける has three arguments (not all of them have to be explicitly specified of course):

  • {giver}[が]{ }{recipient}[に]{ }{deposit}を預ける

The verb 預かる has three arguments specifying the very same roles, but they are marked differently:

  • {recipient}[が]{ }{giver}[に]{ }{deposit}を預かる

Normally, pairs of transitive and intransitive verbs also have the marks on their arguments switched, but instead of switching 'the subject' (marked by が) with the argument marked by に, they switch it with the argument marked by を, which is usually (and rather inaccurately) called 'direct object', due to the bad influence of traditional Latin grammar.

  • {discoverer}[が]{ }{discovered}を見つける
  • {discovered}[が]{ }{discoverer}に見つかる

Verbs of saying and giving, however, work in a different ways. I can't think of -eru/aru pairs of such verbs, so I'll give examples of active/passive pairs instead:

The verb argument pattern of the verb 与える:

  • {giver}[が]{ }{gift}[を]{ }{recipient}に与える

has at least two possible pair patterns with the passive verb 与えられる:

  • {recipient}[に]{ }{giver}[から]{ }{gift}が与えられる
  • {recipient}[が]{ }{giver}[[に・から]{ }]{gift}を与えられる

The second option is the which interests us, because almost the same thing happens with 預かる:

(私が誰かに)子猫のチーを預けました。 I entrusted Chii the kitten to someone.

(私が誰かに)子猫のチーを与えた。   I gave Chii the kitten to someone.

(私が誰かに)子猫のチーを預かりました。 Someone entrusted me to take care of Chii the kitten.

(私が誰かに)子猫のチーを与えられた。 Someone gave me Chii the kitten.

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I guess I could say 預かる is a special alternative for passive 預ける (預けられる?). Since it's hard to find other verbs that have this kind of alternatives, I think I'd give up on looking for them for now, but do let me know if you find them ;) –  Lukman Jun 6 '11 at 3:21
    
Japanese has two methods of changing the meaning of verbs in this way: there are old derivations (e.g. making pairs such as 変わる and 変える) that are no longer fully regular today and there are newer fully regular suffixes that usually come from what were historically auxiliary verbs, but have now merged into the verbs (I think that's the case with the -areru suffix for passivization). Sometimes such two forms come in competition, and then the differentiation that arises between them is not easy to expect ahead. I think that's the case here. –  Boaz Yaniv Jun 6 '11 at 22:08
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Since nobody list examples, here are the ones I could think of

授ける・授かる

教える・教わる

As Boaz says, these seem to be trivalent verbs. You might find the below interesting too:

たまう・たまわる

あげる・あがる

For the last one, I am thinking of the あがる meaning “to eat“, which is transitive. Yes, I know it's a bit of a stretch.

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There is also 助ける and 助かる. –  Rodrigo Pará Dec 23 '12 at 21:35
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