More pain with Duolingo. I've come across the word 配達物{はいたつぶつ}. It's supposed to mean "delivery" but it's not in Jisho, it's not in Weblio, it's not in my beginner paper dictionary and it's not in my good paper dictionary. And indeed, a Google search only yields six pages of results.

配達 is in all these dictionaries, and it means "delivery" in its own right. What is the purpose of appending 物? How does it change the meaning? Is this a relatively recently invented word?

Can anything be said more generally about using 物 as a noun suffix?

  • You only got 6 pages of results for 配達物? – Leebo Mar 29 at 2:11
  • @Leebo as a quoted search term, yes. That and the lack of dictionary entries made me very confused. – user3856370 Mar 29 at 9:28
  • The quoted term gave me tens of thousands of results. Weird. – Leebo Mar 29 at 14:46
  • @Leebo For reasons I don't understand (duplicate pages maybe) the "results" number quoted by google is a lie. If you scroll to the bottom of the page you'll see there are only six (seven today) pages of results. People have talked about the unreliability of the number of Google results on here before, but I thought the number of actual pages of results might be a better indicator. I guess I was wrong. – user3856370 Mar 29 at 14:54
  • I'm on mobile now, so it doesn't display a number of pages, but I remember going past 7 pages before. Not that important, but it doesn't seem that rare to me. – Leebo Mar 29 at 14:59

This is simply an English confusion. When you look up delivery:

Delivery or a delivery is the bringing of letters, parcels, or other goods to someone's house or to another place where they want them.
Synonyms: handing over, transfer, distribution, transmission

The definition above corresponds to 配達. Meanwhile,

A delivery of something is the goods that are delivered.
Synonyms: consignment, goods, shipment, batch

corresponds to 配達物. Obviously it means "deliver(ed) stuff".

If anything that can be generalized, Japanese has many instances that a word denotes an abstract notion and -物 means an embodiment of it.

  • 構造 structure (conceived) / 構造物 structure (built)
  • 出版 publication / 出版物 publication (book)
  • 分泌 secretion / 分泌物 secretion (juice)

But many words do have such distinction in English too, like 生産 "production" vs 生産物 "product", or 添加 "addition" vs 添加物 "additive" etc.

  • I wonder why I don't see it in dictionaries though. Is it a recent word (I'm thinking of the internet shopping generation) or is the suffix so common/obvious that it doesn't need to be in a dictionary e.g. I would see 'quiet' but not 'quietness' in a normal dictionary. – user3856370 Mar 29 at 9:25
  • @user3856370 In Jisho.org under the 物 article there is this definition: Noun - used as a suffix 7. item classified as ...; item related to ...; work in the genre of ...​ – Kolmar Mar 29 at 13:16
  • @Kolmar But that entry is only for 物{もの}, not 物{ぶつ} – flowsnake Mar 29 at 13:40
  • 3
    @user3856370 Definitely not an old word but I think the reason is the latter. You can make 物 out of fairly wide range of words as much as 者, so not expected that every instance is included in monolingual dictionaries. – broken laptop Mar 29 at 20:42

I don't know if this is helpful, but here's my attribution.

'What is the purpose of appending 物?'

物 means 'thing', like 着物 (a thing to wear),食べ物 (things to eat), 飲み物 (things to drink), 泳ぎもの (things to go swimming). With the same logic, 配達物 are delivery-things.

  • 物 in 配達物 is read ぶつ, not もの. Besides, 泳ぎもの makes no sense. You cannot make an arbitrary compound using this pattern. – naruto Mar 30 at 2:19
  • Thank you for notifying me. – JuliaJ Mar 31 at 8:18

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