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ぬかるむ has the definition of "to be muddy" in my dictionary, but it is a verb. Furthermore, all the examples use it before a noun, as opposed to saying 丘はぬかるむ. Is it correct to say this? Why is ぬかるむ a verb, and not an adjective, or rather can someone explain the possible mentality that went into ascribing the characteristic of being muddy to being a verb as opposed to an adjective?

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    A verb can indicate a state. Does your leg itch, or is your leg itchy? What's the difference, besides one being an adjective and one being a verb? – snailcar Oct 10 '13 at 15:11
  • This is true- still though I feel like this occurs more in Japanese-that is, more descriptions are held in verbs. – user3457 Oct 11 '13 at 3:03
  • I am not sure what you mean by “all the examples use it before a noun, as opposed to saying 丘はぬかるむ.” Can you elaborate? – Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 18 '13 at 16:52
  • For example, it is usual to say 道がぬかるんでいて歩きにくい. Does this count as a counterexample? – Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 18 '13 at 16:59
  • @TsuyoshiIto- Yeah, I still don't understand the verb though. Saying it as you did makes it sound like the street is muddy, so it's hard to walk. If that's the case, then what does 道がぬかるんでから歩きにくい mean? I don't know what something besides the gerund would mean, and I still find it hard to understand verbs of this form-that are adjectives in English. – user3457 Oct 18 '13 at 23:51
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When you try to walk on a muddy road, the mud makes it difficult to walk across. In other words, the muddy road is bothering you. ぬかるむ is a word implicitly meaning "directly bothering".

Because hills do not directly bother you (maybe the road is what it's directly bothering), 丘はぬかるむ is grammatically correct, but is a strange expression.

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    Does it really mean to bother? I can't find that anywhere. – user3457 Oct 11 '13 at 3:12
  • ぬかるむ has no meanings of bothering implicitely or explicitely. I wonder 丘はぬかるむ is used in a context like 「[春]{はる}[来]{きた}りて、[雪]{ゆき}は[融]{と}け、丘はぬかるむ」. usage of は or む in this phrase sounds a bit classical and lylical. – jovanni Oct 17 '13 at 8:41
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I think the translation "to be muddy" is slightly inaccurate. First of all, ぬかるむ is a dynamic verb. Probably, "to become muddy" would be better.

A dynamic verb is a verb which describes a change. Japanese verbs tend to be dynamic comparing to English.

For example, "have" and "know" are stative verbs in English. They describe a certain state. However, 持つ and 知る are dynamic. See: How should I choose between [知]{し}る and わかる?

Just like that, ぬかるむ means a change from ぬかるんでいない to ぬかるんでいる.

So, 「春来たりて、雪は融け、丘はぬかるむ」(Note: 春来たりて sounds old.) means "The spring has come, the snow melts, and the hill becomes muddy."

It is not "The hill is muddy." If you want to say so, you have to say ぬかるんでいる "to have become muddy (= to be muddy)."

Back to your question, the reason why ぬかるむ is often used before a noun is that it takes a long time to ぬかるむ. It is easier to make a sentence which uses ぬかるむ as a phenomenon that often happens. For example, "ぬかるむ道" means "a road which often becomes muddy."

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    "dynamic verb"は普通「走る」「食べる」のような動詞のことじゃないでしょうか。「割れる」「死ぬ」みたいな動詞をこれらと区別する際は "punctual verb", "(instant) state-change verb" などと言われていることが多いように思います。参考: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/3122/5010 – naruto Jul 18 at 4:58
  • 金田一分類だと、継続動詞と瞬間動詞と分けるので、それでしょうが、それはともかく「ぬかるむ」は、一瞬では起きないと思います。もっとも、その区別はそれほど明確ではないということも知られています。 – Keita ODA Jul 18 at 5:12
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    上記リンクで説明されている「溶ける」がまさにそういう例で、「時間をかけて起こる変化だが、変化の後は瞬間動詞のように振る舞う」というものですね。なので instant なしの change-in-state verb と表現するのが一番いいのかもしれません – naruto Jul 18 at 5:34
  • ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/… あー、いやいや、いろいろな分類があることはそうですが、どれくらい一般的な分類か、という問題だと思うのですよね。dynamic verb は、stative verb 以外の3種類をまとめていう語ですので、これでよいのではないかと思います。 – Keita ODA Jul 18 at 5:58

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