AFAIK compound verbs (複合動詞) are formed by prefixing 連用形 (ren'youkei, or stem form) of one verb to another "full" verb, e.g.:

  • 巡り合う=巡る(めぐり)+ 合う
  • 生み出す=生む(生み)+ 出す

And so on...

However, 引っ張る seems to not fit this pattern and feels like it was formed by combining 引く+張る, and not 引き+張る which would result in 引き張る.

Apparently there are compound verbs with 引き, e.g.:

  • 引き出す
  • 引き受ける
  • 引き返す
  • 引き止める

Even more interestingly, there is a verb that exists in both variations: 引き越す and 引っ越す, although I don't think I've ever seen the former outside of the dictionary.

So, is 引っ張る a compound verb? If not, is there a term for such verbs and are there others?


1 Answer 1


As you note, 引【ひ】っ越【こ】す pairs with the older 引【ひ】き越【こ】す form, which doesn't see much use in the modern language. Along the same lines, modern 引【ひ】っ張【ぱ】る is a shift in pronunciation of older 引【ひ】き張【は】る, which more clearly shows the regular compound-verb structure.

This kind of sound shift is a regular feature of the language. See also the answer linked at Why is ふとんがふとんだ a pun?, which shows and links to other similar examples of regular compound verbs ([VERB in the 連用形] + [VERB]) that have shifted to this kind of 促音【そくおん】 (geminate or doubled-consonant) phonology as a kind of contraction.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .