It seems very strange to me that the 終止形 and 連体形 of a word like 食べる used to be 食ぶ and 食ぶる, Vovin says in his A REFERENCE GRAMMAR OF CLASSICAL JAPANESE PROSE that 食べ is the stem to which -u, -uる and -uれ are attached to. 食be + -uる -> 食beuる -> 食ぶる. So my question is how exactly did 食ぶる become 食べる again? Since 食ぶる is already the contracted form used in all situations. Is it due to dialectal difference like how in Eastern Japan -(a)ない was already present but was just never written down except in some scant poetry?

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    – sbkgs4686
    Sep 19, 2021 at 21:52
  • @Elohim_Gadol, what do you mean by "食ぶる is already the contracted form"? Contracted how? I strongly disagree with Vovin's contention here that the root of the verb is somehow たべ, since there is evidence that the 下二段 version of the verb is tightly related to the 四段 version たぶ. See also the 日本国語大辞典 entry at Kotobank, which explicitly describes this relation. A shift from 四段 to 下一段 happens in various verbs, and appears to be more of a sense development of some sort. Sep 20, 2021 at 18:17


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