Background: if you have a noun, the easiest way to convert it into a verb is by gluing a する onto the end of it. Examples of this abound, ranging from old Sino compounds to recent English borrowings.

Sometimes, a novel 五段 verb can also be constructed from a non-verb. Examples of this include:

  • グーグル → ググる ("to Google; to search")
  • メモ → メモる ("to make a note of")
  • びっくり → びくる ("to be surprised / startled", I think)
  • サボタージュ → サボる ("to slack off; to skip")
  • 写メ【しゃメ】 → 写メる【しゃメる】 ("to take a picture with a mobile device")

Observe that all of the verbs thus formed are ラ行 verbs. Can this process only give rise to ラ行 verbs, or can it also produce other types of 五段 verbs, e.g. カ行 or サ行?

  • Is there a verb "to verb" in English?
    – Szymon
    Apr 18, 2014 at 5:12
  • 2
    @Szymon Informally, yes. As they say, verbing weirds language.
    – senshin
    Apr 18, 2014 at 5:27
  • 1
    If I understand the question, you're looking for verbs composed of a noun plus a suffix that does not end in -r-u and that have 五段 conjugations. Of the top of my head... hara-m-u 孕む (--> hara 腹), ki-bam-u 黄ばむ (--> ki 黄), mata-g-u 跨ぐ (--> mata 股), tuna-g-u 繋ぐ (--> tuna 綱), tumu-g-u 紡ぐ (--> tumu 錘), wana-k-u 絞く (--> wana 罠) etc etc. This is by no means a complete list.
    – Dono
    Apr 18, 2014 at 11:51
  • Haven't seen 写メる before. How's it read?
    – Kaji
    Apr 18, 2014 at 14:49
  • @Dono Those examples are very interesting; however, am I correct to assume that the verbs you've identified were formed relatively long ago? It seems to me that those verbs would have been formed by a different "process" than the more modern verbs I've cited in my question (most of which are derived from English borrowings).
    – senshin
    Apr 18, 2014 at 22:15

1 Answer 1


Generally words ending in /ru/ will be reinterpreted as the consonant verb stem /r-/ plus /u/, while verbs not ending in /ru/ will have /r-u/ added. For some reason, even verbs which could be interpreted as vowel stem verbs are generally interpreted as consonant stem. We can make other generalizations too, like pointing out that long vowels are generally shortened and very long words are usually clipped before they're verbed.

However, these are just patterns, not absolute rules. People can coin non-standard words however they like, and people like to play with language. One rare example is a song by Perfume titled だいじょばない, which follows the pattern of shortening long vowels but does not add /r-u/. Instead, we get the final /bu/ reinterpreted as a consonant stem /b-/ plus /u/, giving the nonstandard verb だいじょぶ inflected to だいじょばない.

So yes, it's possible to form non-standard verbs that aren't ラ行, though people don't do it very often. Most often, people stick to the /r-u/ pattern.

  • There's also すごかない.
    – Zhen Lin
    Apr 18, 2014 at 10:14

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