When joining い-adjectives and な-adjectives, you simply put them in 連用形 + て:



However, I have a bit of trouble with たる-adjectives. I couldn't find any resources on it.

If I wanted to say something was 堂々たり and 平然たり, would I:

Use って 音便 as would be expected out of a ラ変:


Or would I ignore 音便 and stick with pure unchanged 連用形 + て because たり is a Classical Japanese auxiliary:


I couldn't find any resources on the web at all on this, so I'm stumped right now. My IME seems to like たりて, whilst if I write たって it tries to auto 変換 to something like 立って・経って・建って.

Thanks very much in advance!


Overview: Modern Japanese

There is some brief discussion of these in the English Wikipedia, in the "taru adjectives" section of the "Adjectival noun" article here, and a bit more detail in the "taru adjectives" section of the "Japanese equivalents of adjectives" article here.

Long story short, the -taru adjectives in modern Japanese are basically fossils, leftovers that have eroded grammatically. These can only be used in two ways:

  1. to modify a noun or noun phrase, using the ~たる ending: [堂々]{どうどう}[た]{●}[る]{●}[物]{もの} ("a grand thing")
  2. to modify a verb or verb phrase, using the ~と ending: [堂々]{どうどう}[と]{●}[行]{い}く ("to go regally")

You can't use them to end a sentence, and there isn't any ~て form. In Japanese, these are often called タルト[形容]{けいよう}[動詞]{どうし}, because they only have the conjugational endings ~たる and ~と.

A workaround

A common modern construction that would allow you to string together ~たる adjectives with others, and not fall too far afoul of the grammarians in your audience, would be to use ~として. ~とする is a common way to turn something into an adjectival or adverbial phrase. It's a bit like the English construction, "it goes ~", or "it's like ~". [女王]{じょおう}は[堂々]{どうどう}[と]{●}[し]{●}[て]{●}[礼儀]{れいぎ}[正]{ただ}しい[人物]{じんぶつ}です。 ("The queen is a majestic and courteous person.")

Irregularities: a language in flux

That said, poking around online does reveal that some writers in Japanese are reinterpreting the grammar: for [堂々]{どうどう} at least, I do see cases of [堂々]{どうどう}で and [堂々]{どうどう}だ, which are technically incorrect according to strict style guides. This word, and possibly this whole ~たる class of words, appears to be in flux with regard to how modern writers are handling the grammar. I would recommend avoiding the ~で or ~だ constructions for the time being.

Overview: Classical Japanese

If you're writing Classical Japanese, things like ~たりて are valid. The MS IME does include some features to support Classical Japanese, since this is still used by modern writers -- particularly for high-register, formal writing.

The ~たる ending is a contraction of adverbial と + the copula ("to be" verb) ある. Technically, the terminal (sentence-ending) and dictionary form in Classical Japanese was あり, and these adjectives could end a sentence with the ~たり ending. So the ~たる ending conjugates just like the Classical copula あり.

Here's the conjugation chart from the relevant Japanese Wikipedia section:

未然形  たら    (mizenkei, or "negative stem" used with ~ない)
連用形  たり、と  (ren'yōkei, or "-masu stem" or "adverbial")
終止形  たり    (shūshikei, or "dictionary form" used to end clauses)
連体形  たる    (rentaikei, or "attributive form" used to modify nouns)
已然形  たれ    (izenkei, or "hypothetical stem" used with ~ば)
命令形  たれ    (meireikei, or "command form")

The ~て form used to join adjectives is from the [連用形]{れんようけい} or adverbial form, so たり + て → たりて. Or analyzed a different way, we use the ~と adverbial form of the adjective and add on the ~て form of あり: と + ありて → たりて.

  • 1
    For some reason the 「**」 aren't doing their job (though when I try to edit your post, they work as intended in the preview...). – user40476 Dec 2 '20 at 18:51
  • 1
    Thank you so much for the very detailed answer! I couldn't find any resources anywhere talking about this, you saved me ^_^ – LittleWhole Dec 2 '20 at 18:58
  • @Garbaz, doh! They do indeed look correct in the preview, but not above. How frustrating. The markdown used on SE is poorly designed and assumes whitespace, which Japanese doesn't use. I inserted ​ entities -- zero-width spaces -- to force the issue, but it looks like these aren't rendered properly in the "regular" view, only during editing preview. I'll have to see if anything else works correctly. – Eiríkr Útlendi Dec 2 '20 at 19:12
  • 堂々として礼儀正しい <- 「堂々」と「平然」をつなげるには、「堂々として平然としている」? – Chocolate Dec 3 '20 at 5:39
  • @Chocolate, そうですね、このような文法が使われている例はまれですが存在します。例えば: google.com/… – Eiríkr Útlendi Dec 8 '20 at 19:01

One simple approach is to use かつ, which is one of the stiffest words to say "and" in Japanese. It can be used also with i-adjectives and na-adjectives (see the link), but since most taru-adjectives are stiff and solemn, かつ works very well with them, too. Simply join the kanji parts and treat them as a long taru-adjective:


  • Interesting! Now, かつ has a practical use. :) – rebuuilt Dec 3 '20 at 4:08
  • 2
    And, かつ is also delicious! Yum! – Eiríkr Útlendi Dec 3 '20 at 5:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.