How was the process? i know that in 鎌倉時代, the 終止形 and 連体形 started to be used interchangeably + only the 連体形 form survived and replaced the 終止形.

But here is where i get lost, lets say the classical 下二段 verb 捨つ, its 連体形 is 捨る, which also replaced 終止形 later on, but then it changed to todays 捨る??

How did that happen?

  • I think it's a research topic and there's no simple answer. You can search 二段の一段化.
    – sundowner
    Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 14:06
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    I too am very interested to learn more about the phonetic shift from -uru to -eru for 下二段活用【しもにだんかつよう】, and also -uru to -iru for 上二段活用【かみにだんかつよう】. For 下【しも】 verbs, I can imagine some minor influence from other phonologically similar verbs, such as 帰【かえ】る possibly influencing 変【か】うる to become 変【か】える. But that's just one set of verbs -- there are many more 下 verbs that have no phonologically nearby neighbors. Very curious. I am also quite keen to learn any details about the timing of this shift. Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 19:39

1 Answer 1


No.2 from this answer seems the standard one. I'm just copying from there.

 (1) け  け  く  くる  くれ  けよ 「受く」(下二段活用)

 (2) け  け  くる くる  くれ  けよ (中間の時期)

 (3) け  け  ける ける  けれ  けよ 「受ける」(下一段活用)

So what you are missing is that there was a transition period.

  • (1) -> (2): this is the 終止形と連体形の合流
  • (2) -> (3): this is by analogy. The conjugation that appears most often is 連用形 (the second from left). Thus く changed to け.
  • The transition happened over the long period of time, up to the Edo era.

Probably the transition to ichidan is complete only after modern standardization (Meiji to early 20th century?).

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    Are you aware of any historical texts showing evidence of this transition? Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 2:22
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    @EiríkrÚtlendi I suppose most texts from medieval - early modern period contain instances of -uru 終止形. E.g. 仮名手本忠臣蔵 contains 捨つる/勤むる as well as ichidan-ized 失せる.
    – sundowner
    Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 2:50
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    Thank you, that's an excellent example -- we see cases of the same verbs showing up with both Classical -uru and modern -eru endings, and in mixed uses (both adnominal and predicative). This suggests that this work is right in the midst of this shift, when usage was still unstable. Apparently it was published in 1748, which gives us some good historical-timing insight. Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 4:08

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