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Does anyone have suggestions for a mnemonic or other memory device for the different verbs meaning "to wear" in 日本語?

かぶる (kaburu) - hat / headwear
着る (kiru) - Tops / jackets and all-over clothes
履く (haku) - Bottoms and shoes
かける (kakeru) - Glasses and sunglasses
つける (tsukeru) - Perfume / cologne
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  • Headwear: kaburu sounds a bit like English "cover".
  • Tops: Traditionally, upper-torso coverings in Japan were robe-like, where the hems of the two sides "cut across". This helped me remember when I was studying, as "cut" in Japanese is the other kiru. :)
  • Bottoms and footwear: One of the other haku verbs in Japanese is 掃く "to sweep", a bit like the sweeping motion of pants as you pull them on. Alternatively, think about the verb hiku, "to pull", perhaps adding in the あ from the idea of "pulling on".
  • Glasses: You kakeru something when it catches on something else, like a lock catching on the doorframe to keep a door shut, or a wall hanging catching on the hook when you hang it up. Glasses similarly catch onto your ears.
  • Perfume: tsukeru can be thought of as sticking something into or onto something else. I find this one might be easier to remember if you think about dabbing scent with a finger, as opposed to using a spray bottle, since you physically stick the scent onto your body.
  • @istrasci - Thank you, knowing the literal definitions certainly makes the reason for, and remembering the words, much easier. – illmortem Jul 12 '17 at 17:58
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Some of the literal definitions of かける are "to hang", "suspend", or "hook". This should be easy to remember for glasses (easier, I think, than thinking of "catching").

  • FWIW, the initial /ka/ in "catch (onto)" and kakeru was how I remembered the various shades of meaning. Your point is a good one, and I'm certainly a fan of having more tools in the toolbox, so +1. :) – Eiríkr Útlendi Jul 12 '17 at 16:59
  • @EiríkrÚtlendi: Agreed. And I wasn't meaning to speak negatively of your answer. Hope it wasn't received that way. – istrasci Jul 12 '17 at 19:47
  • No worries, not at all! :) – Eiríkr Útlendi Jul 12 '17 at 20:09

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