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Both {まじる} and {まざる} with both initial kanji characters 交 and 混 are intransitive verbs that are translated into this by rikaichan:

to be mixed; to be blended with; to associate with; to mingle with; to join
(まじる has an extra meaning "to interest" though)

What is the difference between the まじる and まざる readings, in term of nuances and usage? Are they interchangeable?

EDIT:

To further investigate the two variants, I conducted Google searches using +込む form, and here are the results:

  • 交ざり込む
    About 40,900 results
  • 交じ込む
    About 5,330,000 results
  • 交じり込む
    About 861,000 results
  • 混ざり込む
    About 1,230,000 results
  • 混じ込む
    About 74,900 results
  • 混じり込む
    About 1,050,000 results

Someone please tell me how to interpret those results. Does {まじる} become {まじります} or {まじます}?

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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

So based on the IME hints pointed to by repecmps, the quick answer is that 混 and 交 differ in that the former deals with mixing things that, through mixing, become indistinguishable from one another, while the latter deals with mixing things that remain distinguishable. 混, therefore, is used for mixing colors, liquids, smells, and related things that can't be separated once they're mixed. 交, on the other hand, is for people and other objects that can be easily separated and identified even after mixing.

(Now for the native speakers in the audience, when mixing oil and water, do you use 混 or 交? :)

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Water and oil, 水と油, are typical example of things that do not mix 混ざらない。Even if you can mix them, 交 is never used. –  yhirai Jun 7 '11 at 23:02
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I'm not sure what is the status of questions that can be answered by looking in a dictionary, but here are some tips to get you started:

*IME standard input has a tooltip when you browse different kanji: (other dictionaries might also give you more example sentences and nuances. Use EDICT to search the word and click on the [Ex] link for sentences)

enter image description hereenter image description here

*Still with IME, try to enter: まじます and then まじります and see which one has the most relevant result in terms of kanji. (in this case it should be まじります - answering your last question although EDICT with the [V] link can help you as well)

*As for the google result I don't think it shows anything useful. I would have spent those 5 minutes looking in the dictionary instead :p

If all fails and your level really doesn't help translate and make sense of all the information you've gathered, you can come back here to get more info on the research you've conducted and I'll be happy to edit this answer.

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Sorry I don't have access to those because at home I use Mac and at work I use Windows PC that doesn't have the IME installed (I rely on Ajax IME). But even though I have no excuse for not researching further, I'm hoping that some people will be interested to see questions like this that point out interesting quirks of the language and culture. Thanks for answering, nevertheless. –  Lukman Jun 7 '11 at 14:42
    
No, no. I'm a bit maniac about a few things, especially when it comes to learning and internet. Forums like SE can make you a little lazy. Feel free to ignore me ;) (I even upvoted the question. Keep the useful tips somewhere for another time though.) –  repecmps Jun 7 '11 at 15:04
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According to dictionaries I have

Regarding 交じる and 混じる

まじる【交じる】

mingle 《with》; be mingled

男の中に女が1人交じっていた  There was one woman 「mixed in [mingled] among the men.

まじる【混じる】

be mixed; be blended

何も混じっていない水  pure water


Regarding まじる and まざる

まじる

他の物の中にはいり合う - go to another (place/objects) and get mixed

男にまじって働く

まざる

他のものがはいっていっしょになる - another stuff join in and get mixed

水がまざった酒

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