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もらう、習う、教わる、借りる and 聞く (in its "to hear from" meaning) and their honorifics I'm pretty sure are the only verbs where に and から are somewhat interchangeable in their active form, in that に marks the agent / actor and が marks the recipient.

Other transitive verbs of reception like 受ける and 預かる work just like other transitive verbs of giving, receiving and motion, with に functioning as a location marker, as one would expect:

(私たちは(が))雨水を桶に受ける

In fact, these five verbs act with が and に exactly as if they are in passive conjugation. [edit: removed incorrect part, see comments if you're curious]

For example, 教わる behaves exactly like 教えられる grammatically and can be swapped into any sentence without changing the particles, except 教えられる can carry an attitude (the so called "suffering passive") which can make it semantically (but not grammatically) inappropriate.

However, the five verbs are indeed transitive, NOT intransitive, and take を with regularity.

There are intransitive verbs of motion that occasionally take を like 行く , and 分かる / できる take を when grammatically necessary but these cases seem to have no relation to these five verbs, which appear to be a completely different phenomenon.

Grammarians and linguists focus on categorizing and describing the most trivial of oddities so it's come as a surprise to me that no one seems to comment on this in any of the papers I've read.

This lack of category has bothered me for months, does anyone have any insights?

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    I’m not sure I understand what you mean when you say the lender and the borrower are the same in XがYにZを借りる and XがYにZを借りられる. If 借りられる is a passive (as opposed an honorific), Y is the borrower in the second, whereas the lender is not specified.
    – aguijonazo
    Dec 17, 2021 at 5:51
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    Maybe related: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/30577/5010
    – naruto
    Dec 17, 2021 at 7:30
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    Linking a related discussion for reference: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/86743/43676
    – aguijonazo
    Dec 17, 2021 at 8:24
  • That discussion is my old question you helped me on lol. Thanks. For 借りられる, come to think about it your interpretation makes more sense. I'll strike it out for now. Dec 17, 2021 at 19:13
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    Honorific forms are used to be respectful to the subject of the verb (i.e. “doer”), which is X, and X doesn’t cease to be the doer when respected.
    – aguijonazo
    Dec 19, 2021 at 0:48

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