I saw this note on the jisho.org page for 遊ぶ:

Other forms 遊ぶ 【あすぶ】

Notes あすぶ: Out-dated or obsolete kana usage.

And I'm curious what this means - did it used to be read this way? Or do some people still read it this way? What happened?

  • 1
    It's worth noting that Jisho.org is not known for being particularly accurate. They might be a decent source for briefly checking something, but always corroborate that against other sources if you want to be sure. – Eiríkr Útlendi Oct 15 '18 at 18:13
  • @EiríkrÚtlendi is there a source you would recommend (preferably english language, although I suppose I ought to try a japanese dictionary)? – Daniel Oct 29 '18 at 7:37
  • Good online resources are kotobank.jp and weblio.jp -- both are aggregators (showing results from multiple resources), sourcing from reputable dictionaries including Daijirin and Daijisen. These URLs are for the monolingual Japanese lookups. Weblio also has an E↔J lookup at ejje.weblio.jp and a classical Japanese lookup at kobun.weblio.jp, among other options. HTH! – Eiríkr Útlendi Oct 29 '18 at 15:53

According to many dictionaries, あすぶ is just a phonetic shift (音変化) of あそぶ. (source) From this description, it seems like あそぶ is the original spelling, and あすぶ is the derivative... so it doesn't seem like あすぶ is an old form of the word.

あすぶ is also listed in some dictionaries as part of regional dialects. For example, it's listed as ibaraki-ben (in 茨城弁大辞典), the agatsuma dialect (in あがつま語), and koushuu-ben (in 甲州弁辞典). (source)

In this hinative thread, a native speaker says that they never heard of あすぶ. All things considered, it seems like this pronunciation should be avoided for general-purpose conversation.

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