Unexpectedly, the た from つたう turns into だ. 連濁, at least with the 手+伝う analysis, can't account for this, because it's not the first consonant of 伝う.

What happened here?





  • 和訳で「以外に」と書きましたが、お探しの漢字は「意外」でしょうか (^_^) あと、「意外なことに」という言い方が自然に聞こえるかもしれません (^^♪ しかし、和訳を付けた質問はあんまりありませんし、つけてありがとうございました! – Sjiveru Nov 27 '15 at 21:28
  • 訂正ありがとうございます。修正しました。 – Darius Jahandarie Nov 27 '15 at 21:39
  • Maybe it's a hybrid of rendaku and metathesis? – Earthliŋ Nov 28 '15 at 6:53


There's two possible explanations here, and from a little bit of searching, it doesn't seem like anyone knows which is right (or that anyone's really thought much about it).

Option 1: Rendaku plus metathesis (as Earthling suggested). te + tsutau > tedzutau > tetsudau. There might be another example of this happening with 舌鼓 - shita + tsutsumi > shitadzutsumi > shitatsudzumi (though for this one the unmetathesised version seems to be valid in nonstandard dialects).

It's possible that this is a regular change restricted to words where the second half is at least tVtVCV. It might just be irregular.

Option 2: 手伝う is not actually 手 + 伝う, but something else entirely; with the kanji spelling the result of a folk etymology.

Those are the most likely possibilities.



一。 「不規則連濁」(連濁プラス音位転換、Earthlingさんの仮説)。て+つたう → てづたう → てつだう。「舌鼓」はもう一つの例なのかもしれません - した+つつみ → したづつみ → したつづみ (けど「したづつみ」という非音位転換した方も標準外の方言で可能みたいです)。


二。 「手伝う」という言葉は実は「手+伝う」ではなくて、別の由来のある言葉だということ。その場合は漢字の由来は民間語源のはずです。


  • 1
    Very interesting! But hm... 鼓 is つづみ, even without the 舌, right? – dainichi Nov 30 '15 at 20:46
  • 手づかみ is a counterexample to the tVtVCV rule, but of course, I realize it might not be productive anymore. – dainichi Nov 30 '15 at 20:49
  • @dainichi - that's tVkVCV, though. (I meant the second part.) You're right about 鼓, the site I was looking at must have mentioned it in error. – Sjiveru Nov 30 '15 at 21:38

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