I've been learning about these for awhile, but everything I've seen them used in doesn't use more than 1 at a time. Is there a reason for that?

Also my materials don't really explain the subtleties behind using 込む(to do something in an upfront way, i.e.聞き込む) and 回る(to go around doing something, i.e. 歩き回る) as 助動詞. Is there anything more I should know?

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    I don't think those are 助動詞.
    – user1478
    Commented May 9, 2013 at 7:23
  • 「巻き込む」「歩き回る」などは「複合動詞」でしたっけ・・・?
    – user1016
    Commented May 9, 2013 at 7:44
  • I know couple of Russian books which elucidate compatibility of auxiliary verbs, but no English sources.
    – firtree
    Commented May 9, 2013 at 8:36
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    My source literature taught me the concept as an Auxiliary Verb, but that may be why I search turned up just north of jacksquat on the topic. The answer and the info that came from it will prove very valuable in my studies and extended research Commented May 11, 2013 at 11:30
  • @summea. They have, believe me. This topic has been on my mind ever since I came upon it, but have found precious little on. For example, nothing in my research thus far shown me what 上げる does to a verb, when used as a 複合動詞, as in 読み上げる. Are there any additional resources, web or written, you could point me to? Also, how do you change how a browser renders encoding? When I went to this site, all I got was a spewing of random characters Commented May 15, 2013 at 22:59

1 Answer 1


As @snailboat and @Chocolate have noted, I think you are actually thinking about something called 複合動詞{ふくごうどうし} (or compound verbs.)

It is interesting to consider combining more than two verbs when creating 複合動詞{ふくごうどうし}... and it certainly is possible, according to the example word lists given in this paper by 林 翠芳 (LIN Cuifang). LIN gives examples of times where 複合動詞{ふくごうどうし} can involve the process of combining three separate verbs into one compound verb (三次結合複合動詞{さんじけつごうふくごうどうし} vs 二次結合複合動詞{にじけつごうふくごうどうし}).

For example:

書{か}く+立{た}てる+すぎる = 書{か}き+立{た}て+すぎる = 書{か}き立{た}てすぎる

立{た}つ+止{と}まる+かける = 立{た}ち+止{ど}まり+かける = 立{た}ち止{ど}まりかける

So in answer to the first question, while there are times where three-verb-combined verbs exist, it's possible that the reason two-verb-combined verbs are more commonly seen is because the words have a simpler meaning or definition. In other words, the more convoluted a word becomes, the more complex its meaning.

In answer to the second question, there has been at least one similar question asked in regard to the meaning of ー込{こ}む when used at the end of a verb. Though the meaning may at times go beyond what is listed in the current list of answers for that other question, I would still recommend reading that other question in order to get a better idea of any additional subtleties related to ー込{こ}む.

Finally, verbs ending with ー回{まわ}る are fairly straightforward (typically being related to something "around" or "about", as you noted.)

As far as 複合動詞{ふくごうどうし} go in general, I would recommend taking a look at this paper when time permits. The paper better explains different functions, meanings, and aspects of 複合動詞{ふくごうどうし}.

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    See page 2 here for some discussion, starting with "The JCV [Japanese Compound Verb] is a highly productive form...". In particular, "it is generally recognized that many more JCVs are in use than are lexicalized."
    – user1478
    Commented May 10, 2013 at 1:53
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    Is there any clear edge between such compound verbs and free chains of verbs in their "-masu stem" forms (which functions like adverb in the written language)?
    – firtree
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 12:44
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    Not "chain verbs", but "verb chains". 手続き無事終わり, お目にかかり相談しました. Do I get somethig wrong?
    – firtree
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 17:29
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    This is not an example sentence, this is two separate examples. Sorry.
    – firtree
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 18:24
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    There might be no particles or punctuation (especially in speech, no punctuation - though pauses and stresses come into action). Anyway, thanks. Seems my question was a bit too theoretical.
    – firtree
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 18:47

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