I'm trying to figure out what the term is that describes words that look like this:

やっぱり; さっぱり; うっかり; こっそり; ひっそり; ぐっすり; すっきり

They seem similar to 擬態語、義質語、and 擬音語, but I think they have a separate classification...

Is there a term that describes words like this? (Please let me know if this has already been asked). If there is not a term, how would one talk about these adverbs in Japanese? If I needed to state that "I have problems remembering (these types) of adverbs", how would one go about explaining that?

1 Answer 1


They are called adverbs. Among them, やっぱり and うっかり are called sentential adverbs, and are independent of the core event described by the predicate. さっぱり, ひっそり, ぐっすり, and すっきり are called manner adverbs, and are directly tied to the core event described by the predicate. I am not sure which group こっそり belongs to.

  • I think Chris is looking for a word like "onomatopoeia" or "psychomimesis" rather than asking what part of speech they are.
    – Matt
    Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 9:17
  • @Matt I don't think they are onomatopoeia. At least, not all of them.
    – user458
    Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 9:20
  • Right, I'm not sure that "onomatopoeia" is the right word either. But I think the shared morphophonemic characteristics (gemination, ending in -ri, possibly relatable to onomatopoeic or otherwise mimetic roots?) are what is of interest, not the fact that they are adverbs.
    – Matt
    Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 10:52
  • 3
    I agree that there is probably no better name to refer to the words listed in the question collectively other than saying “adverbs consisting of four morae whose second mora is っ and last mora is り.” Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 11:56
  • 1
    Are you sure about your comment that り in やはり comes from a verb ending? Kanji 矢張り is an 当て字 and does not reflect the origin of the word. Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 12:37

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