As the title says, I was wondering the difference between the two pronunciations: I encounter them in the first case as 「その思い出に浸る{ひたる}」 and the second is 「水に浸かる{つかる}」 but I do not know when one pronunciation is for which situations.

I am guessing that 浸かる may be more literal while 浸る is more abstract (in "memories" rather than physical objects like water), or is this just a coincidence? Are there other similar use cases for the same verb/other verbs?

1 Answer 1


ひたる is almost always chosen when the target marked with に is a non-liquid or abstract environment like 思い出, 喜び, 感傷, or 闇.

When the target is a physical liquid, you can use both つかる and ひたる, and they are more or less interchangeable, but there is a subtle difference:

  • ひたる refers only to the physical state of being completely submerged below the surface.
  • つかる often carries the nuance that something (like heat or components) from the liquid seeps into the object and has a certain effect, in addition to simply becoming wet. People prefer to say 温泉に浸かる because onsen has some healing effect.

The same goes for their transitive counterparts, つける and ひたす. In cooking, ひたす is used when simply immersing something completely in water, while つける is often used when you want to infuse flavor or achieve similar effects. This is why Japanese pickles are called つけもの (although the kanji 漬 is preferred when referring to pickles).

  • Wow, did not realise that つかる/つける could be considered an intransitive/transitive pair...
    – jogloran
    Commented May 22 at 4:17
  • 1
    @jogloran Just in case, don't confuse 付く/付ける and 漬かる/漬ける.
    – naruto
    Commented May 22 at 4:27
  • Actually, the pitch accent differs between 付ける and 漬ける — I thought they might be cognate but maybe not.
    – jogloran
    Commented May 22 at 4:39
  • Just curious, where do you learn this distinction? I think most resources do not put these side by side, or is this one of those things where Stackexchange or discussion fora would do the job? Commented May 22 at 17:37
  • 1
    @EvangelineA.K.McDowell Since I am a native Japanese speaker, I can answer many questions based solely on my intuition and experience. I usually also refer to dictionaries and other resources to avoid making mistakes, though.
    – naruto
    Commented May 22 at 23:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .