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These are the lyrics to a metal song about Lovecraft's The Dunwich Horror. The band tends go Classical for effect (cf. the refrain at the end: 闇にこぞりて / 我が主来ませり …). The first verse is transcribed in most Japanese sites as this:

俺は大地と海洋の
近親婚の末息子
因襲めいた村の奥
夜鷹に言葉教わった

However, when I listen to the song, I hear the singer go /o.so.wa.ra.ta/ (0:56- here – notice that his /r/ is often lateralized; cf. 0:41, 0:54, 3:24 etc.). Not osowatta, not osowareta, but osowarata.

When I told my teachers about this they said, “B-baka na! Surely you're mishearing! Sonna koto wa nai hazu! That form doesn’t exist, it doesn’t even make sense!” They said it was impossible. They said no native speaker would ever produce it. But I'll show them! With the dark powers of ad-hoc Google searches, I'll show all of them!

From 『去日来日』 by 植松正 (1977):

これは、よほど学「先生」と言ったって、学校などで教わらた先生というのとは、だいぶ感じが違う。

From 『逸見東洋の世界』 by 臼井洋輔 (1990):

寺子屋では教わらたのか、心そこにあらずで、彼が本気で出入りしていたのは、[…]

From 『現代のエスプリ』 , somewhere between nos. 286 to 289:

その構造は数学的にみても動をやってのけます。たとえば彼らは、誰にも教わらた神経結合の組み合わせだけで、[…]

These 3 are all we get from Google Books, but they're in actual print. Google Scholar claims two more hits but they're restricted, and a regular web search gets some ~20 examples (versus 170 for osowatta).

So my question is: Are these all typos? A surface phonetic process (which)? A dialect form? Language change? And what does it mean – is it equivalent to osowarattaosowareta (if this even makes sense?)、 some Classical form I don’t recognize, or what?

  • This could be one of those things people do to make themselves sound classic-ish (like putting "-eth" at the end of any verb without discrimination in Modern English). That said, this question does seem more suitable for the Japanese stack exchange page. @Tory "baka na" actually means something like "how can that be?" in this case. It's sort of like a fixed expression. – Sindry Sep 19 '14 at 18:30
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    In Japanese singing, geminate consonants aren't usually held for an entire mora. Instead, the previous vowel is sung again for most of the mora, followed by a very short "gemination" at the end. So instead of お・そ・わ・っ・た, it would usually be more like お・そ・わ・あっ・た. That said, I'm not sure why /r/ would be inserted between the repeated vowels. There are similar processes, though! In singing, a non-phonemic w is commonly (but not consistently) inserted between repeated occurrences of /o/. Perhaps it's something like that? – snailcar Sep 19 '14 at 21:51
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    Be careful of Google Books results you haven't verified with actual books or pictures of books. Their OCR has lots of errors in Japanese. – snailcar Sep 19 '14 at 21:53
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    I think it's incredibly likely that っ was mistaken for ら, based on @snailboat's input – ssb Sep 25 '14 at 11:44
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    @snailboat For the books it must be that! I can't find anything else about it, either, and I agree that in the recording it's probably just the singer saying the っ in some unusual way – ssb Sep 25 '14 at 12:05
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I listened to the music, and it also sounded like ら to me as a single sound. But, I simply understand this as った.

Japanese ら's r is generally an alveolar lateral flap, which is like /t/ without plosive or stop. Although, these two sounds are quite different from Japanese natives, they are close. If you open your mouth and breathe while saying /っ/, it sounds like ら.

I don't think Google Books scanned correctly. ら and っ look similar, and some other parts of these books were also not scanned correctly.

osowareta doesn't make sense because it is 襲われた (attacked). Also, 教わる is 四段活用, so the original form is osowari-ta, modified by 撥音便 to be osowat-ta, but this change occurred 1000+-200 years ago, and the original form is not natural at all now. And, osowarA is 未然形, and it is so unnatural to go with た. I believe there are no dialects like this.

Typos like 教わるた are common. Say you typed "businessman" and decided to change it to "businessperson." Sometimes you delete too much or less and get a "businesperson."

  • @macraf さん、末尾の「businesperson」を「businessperson」にeditされましたが、Keitaさんはそこは意図的に「businesperson」と書いていたのではないでしょうか?「businessmanと書いたけどbusinesspersonに書き直そうとして、1文字多く消してしまってbusinespersonというtypoになったり」という、編集の過程でタイポになる例を挙げられたと思ったのですが。 – Chocolate Jun 19 '16 at 6:20
  • @chocolate 本当だ、ありがとう。よく気づきました。「delete to get」の「to」はちょっと意図的なニュアンス(〜ために)もあるから間違いました。「and」に変えました。 – macraf Jun 19 '16 at 6:48
  • @macraf なるほど、そうなんですね。and に変えたら、とても分かりやすくなりました。 – Chocolate Jun 19 '16 at 7:46
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There is no Japanese word that's spelt or spoken as "教わらた."

Neither the past tense of the verb, "教える" or "教わる" does inflect into "教わらた."

It should be 教わった, 教えられた、or 習った if we use a different word. I wonder why such an expression as "寺子屋では教わらたのか," and "誰にも教わらた神経結合の組み合わせ" exists in reliable publications.

I think it's a typo, or perhaps you misread the word in question.

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