If こわれかけのオルゴール was 壊れかけのオルゴール, 壊れ would be the stem of 壊れる, and かけ would probably be a noun. Since I'm just learning Japanese, I don't understand where かけ comes from. What meaning does かけ have in こわれかけのオルゴール?


1 Answer 1


「かけ」 comes from the verb 「かける」, which is a key verb with over a dozen meanings.

See definition #15 in this dictionary.

To summarize the pertinent parts of #15 in my own way, it says the following.

「Verb in [連用形]{れんようけい} (continuative form) + かける」 means:

"to start (verb)ing", "to start (verb)ing and stop in the middle without completing", "to be about to (verb)", "to almost (verb)", etc.

Please note that 「こわれ」 is the 連用形 of the verb 「こわれる」. Thus, the compound verb 「こわれかける」 means "to start breaking (apart)", "to start malfunctioning", "to be about to go out of order", etc.

How about the form 「こわれかけ」, you ask. Think of it as a noun form of 「こわれかける」. If you have a noun, you know you can attach a 「の」 to it.

「こわれかけオルゴール」=「オルゴール that is in the こわれかけ state」

= "a/the half-broken music box "

  • Can it mean "a music box that was broken not long ago"? Feb 6, 2018 at 6:50
  • 1
    @WeijunZhou Never, as ~かける means something has not yet reached that (full) state. Feb 7, 2018 at 3:16
  • @broccoliforest Thank you for your clarification. Feb 7, 2018 at 4:08

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