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On occasion, I hear things such as 是非、いらしてください and ここへいらしたんですか. They seem to be politer forms of 是非、来てください and ここへ来たんですか. But searching finds no verb いらす or いらしる, and so a thought came to my mind: could they be colloquial forms of いらっしゃって and いらっしゃった? Less colloquially, would my examples be 是非、いらっしゃってください and ここへいらっしゃったのですか? Is my suspicion close to the truth?

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It's ambiguous whether いらして would be a form of いらしる or いらす, but neither verb exists in the standard language.

いらす isn't listed in dictionaries as a word because it's not a separate verb with a full range of forms. It would be more accurate to say that いらし is a reduced form of いらっしゃっ, the 音便形 of いらっしゃる. (The 音便形 is the altered form of the 連用形 that appears before t-morphemes such as て and た.)

This reduction is most common before て. If we search the Google Japanese Web N-gram corpus (2007), we find the following numbers:

 いらっしゃっ  355269
 いらし     1620011

As you can see, this reduction is extremely common! We can verify that いらして is the most common form by checking other corpora. In the Balanced Corpus of Contemporary Written Japanese, we find a similar ratio, with 285 and 90 results respectively (after removing false positives with the form いらいらして).

Although いらし is most common before て, it appears before other t-morphemes as well. I'll go back to the Google Japanese Web N-gram corpus, since it's significantly larger:

 いらっしゃっ  554636 
 いらし     597706

 いらっしゃったら 239239
 いらしたら    182970

 いらっしゃったり 16167
 いらしたり     8085

If いらしる were actually a derived verb that needed to be listed in dictionaries on its own, we would expect to find examples of it as well, but we don't find any at all:

 いらっしゃ   4533100
 いらし     0

We do find いらす, but it's not especially common, and prescriptive sources consider it a mistake (it's listed as 誤用 in 明鏡国語辞典):

 いら      28608

Samuel Martin describes several reduced forms of the 音便形, including いらし, in his 1975 Reference Grammar of Japanese on page 347:

Both men and women readily use several variant forms for irassyát-, so that in addition to irassyátta you will hear irássitta, irásitta, irássita, and irásita. These variants no doubt were gradually developed to simplify the articulation: the low vowel a is raised to the high vowels u and i so as to become unvoiced between the voiceless consonants; the double ss and tt are reduced to shorten the word.

And it's possible you may hear other reductions besides いらし. But the other forms he lists are all quite unusual by comparison:

 いらして     1620011
 いらっしゃって  355269
 いらっして     3351
 いらっしって    344
 いらしって     895

 いらした     597706
 いらっしゃった  554636
 いらっした     1586
 いらしった     1448
 いらっしった    390

 いらっしゃったら 239239
 いらしたら    182970
 いらっしたら    226
 いらしったら    152
 いらっしったら   67

 いらっしゃったり 16167
 いらしたり    8085
 いらっしったり   0
 いらしったり    0
 いらっしたり    0

These other reduced forms are listed in other sources as well, including 日本国語大辞典.

Reduced forms of words in general are more colloquial, but that often changes over time as they become more common. いらっしゃる itself was originally a reduced form of いらせらる, but it's now seen as the basic form of the word. いらして is still seen as a reduced form today, so speakers may perceive a difference between いらっしゃって and いらして, but this reduction is really extremely common, so I don't think it's especially marked.

Note that the initial い is sometimes elided as well, often following ~て:

 いらっしゃ  1695907
 らっしゃ   834652

 いらっしゃっ 43510
 らっしゃっ  22493

 いらっしゃっ 132599
 らっしゃっ  64947

 いらし    77646
 らし     59034

 いらし    158569
 らし     147049

This is similar to reducing ~ている to ~てる colloquially, although it's not quite as common. As you can see from the numbers above, eliding the い is especially frequent in combination with reducing いらっしゃっ to いらし.

  • can I buy you a coffee for this wonderful answer? lol – sova Dec 11 '15 at 23:13

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