I'm stuck with the word かけ in the following text below (towards the beginning of Japanese tale, Kachikachi yama).

Obviously, "(こしを)かけ" stands for "(腰を)掛ける" (to sit down). But what's the grammar behind 掛け ? Is it a 仮定形 (kateikei) ? I don't understand what's the grammatical construction. Any help would be appreciated !

An old man wants to catch a mischievous tanuki, and ...

そこで、 つぎ の 日、 たぬき の すわって いた きりかぶ に とりもち を べっとり ぬりつけて おきました。 おじいさん が まめ を まいて いたら たぬき が やって きて、 きりかぶ に こし を かけ、 せん つぶ まいたら ひと つぶ に なあれ ひと つぶ まいたら くさって しまえ と からかい だしました。

Translation from Tom Ray and Sachiko Matsubara, which was available during some years here.

Then, the next day, the tree stump where the raccoon had been sitting, had been prepared with a lot of tanglefoot. While the old man was sowing beans the raccoon approached, and sat on the tree stump : "if you sow a thousand seeds they become one seed, if you sow one seed it will completely rot", he begain to tease.


No, that's a ren’yōkei 連用形。 A ren’yōkei mid-sentence is for coordination, like English “he sat, and…”. You can think of it as a literary equivalent of 「こしをかけて、。。。」

Kateikei is what comes before -ba, so in this case it would be kakere-. Full table, with sample context:

  • 未然形: 掛け-  kake- (-nai)
  • 連用形: 掛け-  kake- (-masu)
  • 終止形: 掛ける kake-ru (yo.)
  • 連体形: 掛ける- kake-ru- (hito)
  • 仮定形: 掛けれ- kake-re- (-ba)
  • 命令形: 掛けろ/掛けよ kake-ro/kake-yo (!)

This is because 掛ける kakeru is a vowel-stem (ichidan) verb. Perhaps you were thinking of consonant-stem (godan) vebs, such as 書く kaku. These have different vowels depending on the inflection:

  • 未然形: 書か-  kak-a- (-nai)
  • 連用形: 書き-  kak-i- (-masu)
  • 終止形: 書く  kak-u (yo.)
  • 連体形: 書く-  kak-u- (hito)
  • 仮定形: 書け- kak-e- (-ba)
  • 命令形: 書け  kak-e (!)

Notice the difference between 「書けば」 and 「掛けば」。

  • 1
    Thank you very much : all these details are so usefull to know ! – suizokukan Mar 14 '15 at 11:45

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