Questions tagged [morphology]

形態論. The study of forms of words, including both inflection and word formation.

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Suffix as defined in romanized Japanese morphological analysis

Older grammar books tend to rely on a lot of romanization to teach the nitty-gritty of morphology, which is also reflected in some of @snail's answers like this one. I was reading Samuel Elmo Martin's ...
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「困っから」、「文句あっか」 dialectal?

水分塩分ちゃんと取ってよ 今死なっでも困っから (source) アトピーだ、文句あっか。(河野太郎) These seem to follow a common pattern: あるか→あっか, 困るから→困っから and I wonder if this is dialectal, and if yes what dialect exactly. 河野太郎 seems to be ...
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What contraction is this?「何言っとんだ」 [duplicate]

I occasionally see 何言っとんだ? where I would expect 何言ってんだ? but I am not sure that とん comes from ておくの. I thought ん 縮約形 only occurred with ら行. 今さら、何言っとんだ? (source) 何言っとんだ。ようやってると思ってたのにこれでマイナスポイントだよ。 (...
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いただきとう and ありがとう

I came across いただきとう, as in 「納めさせていただきとうございます」 or 「軽く説明させていただきとうございます」. My research led me to this question where I learned とう is likely just an ウ音便 of たい. This seems a fairly rare locution these days....
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Creating abbreviations for expressions

From the Wikipedia page of Nissin Foods: the name 'Nissin' originates as an abbreviated form of the expression 「日々清らかに豊かな味をつくる」 (Hibi kiyoraka ni yutakana aji o tsukuru), coined by company founder ...
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In how far does the なん〜かん〜 pattern generalize?

In phrases such as なんだかんだ and なんでもかんでも, there seems to be an underlying pattern なん〜かん〜, creating a 'this and that' kind of nuance. Cursory googling reveals that なんでかんで seems to exist, as well as ...
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Is 毎X毎X a pattern that generalizes for anything that has a 毎X form?

Can you use the 毎X毎X pattern (indicating emphasis) for anything that would take 毎X? Circumstantial evidence suggests this should work: 毎日毎日 is clearly a thing, this post uses 毎晩毎晩, so one would assume ...
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む verbs and corresponding ましい adjectives

In studying words like 羨ましい and 勇ましい, I've noticed that there are almost always corresponding (mostly transitive) む verbs: 羨む -> 羨ましい 勇む -> 勇ましい (transitive version seems to be archaic) 好む -> ...
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Use of 揺らせ as 連用形

I've come across the following clause in ノルウェイの森. 十月の風はすすきの穂をあちこちで揺らせ, ... 揺らせ here clearly seems to be functioning as a 連用形, but I'm not quite sure how this can be derived from 揺らす as it's not 揺らして. ...
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What is the function of っ in these words ending with っこ? [duplicate]

I've noticed some words ending in こ which seem to insert a っ where it is seemingly unwarranted phonetically. Examples are 末っ子, 売れっ子, 江戸っ子, 町っ子, etc. I don't see any phonetic issues with the 'expected' ...
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Nominalization with 「ん」and its use for humans (「そんなん入れるよーじゃおしまいだな」)

Taken from 「イエスタデイをうたって3」: Three guys of an indie band are having a talk about the current situation of their band and the place where they usually have their performances. While discussing their ...
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Syntactic Properties of "Bare Numerals": 「一」in「其の一」

I am currently attempting to research the syntax of nominal classifiers (i.e. "counter" words like 「〜台」and 「〜個」) and wanted to look for references to the irregular phenomenon of "bare" numerals: ...
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Compound word ending with an adjective stem (形容詞語幹) and used as a noun or a na-adjective

The word 大忙{おおいそが}し is classified as a noun or a na-adjective. If I analyze it correctly, the word 大忙し consists of the prefix (接頭語) "大" and the i-adjective stem of "忙しい." In addition, there is no ...
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Changing from "S" to "Z" sound in Katakana [duplicate]

The katakana form's ジ sound comes from two bases: from "sh," as in "sheep" AND from the "ch" sound in "cheese." When I am asked to identify the character, during study, that is producing the ジ sound,...
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Characteristics of 'loan word root + る' verbs

This question follows on from these others: What are the principles behind turning foreign language words into verbs? Why are there very few non-する gairaigo verbs in Japanese? Are there words ...
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What are the characteristics of the suffix ~びる?

The word 大人びた is in common use in Japanese, but I noticed that I couldn't think of another use of ~びる apart from that. EDICT lists only 大人びた and 鄙びた. Kotobank lists 田舎びた and 古びる, although according ...
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Patterns (and exceptions) for 自動詞 - 他動詞 pairs

As a 3rd year student of Japanese, I don't have all that wide a vocabulary yet, but have noticed that, typically, the following patterns are observable in terms of the word endings for transitive-...
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Meaning of 忌々しい

Is it true that the meaning of 忌々しい is "annoying"? What is the root word of 忌々しい and its meaning? Is it 忌まう?
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Analyzing breakdown of jukugo

I may just be misunderstanding the etymology of certain words, but I think of certain jukugo e.g. 「大学生」as being derived from patterns like 「大学の学生」, where there is a kanji-level shiritori, leading to a ...
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かたくな etymology and relation to 固い

The words 頑な{かたくな} (na-adjective, "stubborn") and 固い{かたい} (i-adjective, "hard" or "stubborn") sound similar and have a similar meaning. I was thinking if these words are related to each other through ...
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What is the difference in usage between nominalized nominal verbs and nouns forming the same nominal verbs?

In the following sentence, why is すること needed? システムメンテナンスにより休止することがあります。 Can it simply be: システムメンテナンスにより休止があります。
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Does 連用形 always reflect the meaning of 連体形 of a verb? [duplicate]

The verb 調べる means to examine;  to investigate;  to check up;  to sense;  to study;  to inquire;  to search The 連用形 調べ means investigation;  inspection;  examination tune;  note;  melody ...
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Why 予期せぬ is more common than 予期しない?

予期{よき}する (to expect) is a nominal verb with two negative forms: 予期せぬ and 予期しない. Why the せぬ form is more common than the more familiar しない?
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Historical prospective of ウ音便 transformation (e.g. 有難く => 有難う)

The question ~うございます - keigo い-adjectives explains how 有難う is derived from 有難く as following: ありがたい ありがたく (連用形 of ありがたい forms an adverbial) ありがたう (く changes to う) ありがとう (う changes preceding kana to お-...
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Are there morphological rules to "build" transitive/interactive verb pairs?

教える/教わる、伝える/伝わる 届ける/届く、開ける/開く 預ける/預かる、見つける/見つかる 回す/回る、出す/出る、起こす/起きる 隠す/隠れる 乗せる/乗る 落とす/落ちる 当てる/当たる 決める/決まる、暖める/暖まる 冷やす/冷える、燃やす/燃える 消す/消える 降りる/降ろす 入れる/入る ... are pairs of transitive/intensive verbs with ...
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What are the negating-suffixes in Japanese?

I'm going to do my research about analysis of negating suffixes in Japanese newspaper. But I have a big question and want to make sure about Japanese suffixes. Are ーない、-くない、‐ではない、‐なし、‐ぬ、‐ず、 and ‐まい a ...
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6 votes
3 answers
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Grammar and aspect of 「コーヒー飲んでき!」

I have some questions about 「コーヒー飲んでき!」 What is it a contraction of ? Is it inchoative ? In all of the examples i've found, it's an invitation to come in. But i think 「コーヒー飲んでき」can mean [ Why don'...
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Long & complicated verb forms? ( Vstem-causitive-passive-aspect-desiderative-NEG-tense ) 行かせられ続け得たくなかった (?)

Many of the Jp-related posts in the [Lingustics] SE are very advanced. For example ---- https://linguistics.stackexchange.com/questions/2319/what-is-the-maximum-number-of-forms-a-modern-japanese-...
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Can compound words like 「外食」be considered as a morpheme?

According to Wikipedia, In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest grammatical unit in a language. In other words, it is the smallest meaningful unit of a language. By that definition, do you ...
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About the words in format: ~がかり

What is the type of word ~がかり, e.g 気{き}がかり Is it noun, or adjective?
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「めく」の使い方、どのような場合に「めく」を使うのが自然ですか。

goo辞書によると、「めく」という接尾語はいくつかの品詞(動詞を除く)に付き、五段の動詞を作ります。作られた動詞の意味は「〜という感じがする」に似ています。質問は、一般に「めく」という接尾語はどのような言葉に付きますか。 辞書の事例を見ると、「今更めく」や「仄{ほの}めく」などといった例が辞書に項目を持っているので、「めく」の使い方には制限があると感じます。
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What does げ mean as a suffix? [duplicate]

I found this sentence 部長は満足げに顎を引く How the suffix げ affects the word 満足?
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Plural form with -たち/-ら

I found a similar.question here on stackexchange, but I can't properly understand the answers given there. And the textbook Genki doesn't give much of a detailed explanation on the plural form. What ...
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What are the principles behind turning foreign language words into verbs?(e.g. ググる and サボる)

I have a decent grasp on the basics, but I'm not quite clear on the details. Anyone know?
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Making sense of inflections and conjugated forms

Is it correct to think that the six conjugated forms listed here encompass a range of ideas rather than having a inflection form directly linked to them? For instance 未然形 is not only the negative/...
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Grammatical name of the form used before -て, -たり, -た, -たら?

I'm looking for the Japanese name of the specific verbal form used before -て, -たり, -た, -たら: verb → 連用形 ren.yōkei → XXXX → + -て, -たり, -た, -たら 書く → 書き → 書い → 書いて, 書いたり, ...
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Japanese: "osowarata"?

These are the lyrics to a metal song about Lovecraft's The Dunwich Horror. The band tends go Classical for effect (cf. the refrain at the end: 闇にこぞりて / 我が主来ませり …). The first verse is transcribed in ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Classical: On the subject of a sentence with 連用形/て clauses + ば condicional

I'm having some trouble with this beautiful passage from the Kana Preface to the Kokinshū, which is talking about us (spaced for clarity):  1 人まろ なくなりにたれど、  2 うたの こと ゝどまれるかな。  3. たとひ とき うつり こと ...
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ら抜き言葉: Why doesn't 忘れれれば exist?

The other day I was musing on chat about 忘れれれば, which I imagined you would get if you started with 忘れられれば and left out ら: 忘れる 忘れられる   (忘れる + られる) 忘れられれば  (忘れる + られる + れば) 忘れれれば   (...
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14 votes
2 answers
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Nouns exhibiting vowel fronting

As touched upon in another thread, there are several nouns that exhibit a kind of vowel shift in older forms, where the ending vowel is fronted when the noun is used on its own to become /i/ or /e/, ...
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16 votes
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Iterative / repetitive る evolving from classical 連体形【れんたいけい】

This is somewhat related to the discussion of classical auxiliary verb ふ, mentioned in the answer to snailboat's question, What is the わ in 忌まわしい and 嘆かわしい?. Another apparent iterative / repetitive ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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Is there a general purpose equivalent for the "agent suffix" -er of English?

In English any verb can be turned into a kind of noun called an "agent noun", that just means the do-er of the action: to drive - driver to walk - walker to think - thinker to drink - drinker ...
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Does Japanese have any infixes?

In English, we have prefixes, like "pre-"; suffixes, like "-ize"; and arguably, expletives that function as infixes (one classic example is "abso-fucking-lutely"). In Japanese, we also have prefixes,...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Etymology of transitive/intransitive verb pairs

Many verbs come in pairs, frequently but not always transitive/intransitive pairs. These verbs generally have multiple okurigana characters, but according to my dictionary one of the pair was formerly ...
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10 votes
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What is the わ in 忌まわしい and 嘆かわしい?

On chat, Chocolate helped me find some examples of adjectives produced from verbs using the しい suffix. In the following examples, it appears to attach directly to the 未然形: 勇む  →  勇ま + しい 悩む  ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Why is the affixal 子 treated specially when abbreviating people’s names?

Often, names are abbreviated using the initial letter in romanization, or some random letter, like "A". However, when the name has an affixal 子, that part is often left, like "A子". I have not seen any ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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食べたそうだ vs. 食べそうだ, 静かだそうだ vs. 静かそうだ

I saw this as a comment on this question, Why does そう in 「美味しいそう」 not mean "seem" the way I think it should?「美味しいそう」-not-mean-seem-the-way-i-think-it-should, and would love to understand ...
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11 votes
2 answers
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How to use the inflection "やがる"?

こんなくそみたいな帽子{ぼうし}かぶせやがって! "こんな仕事{しごと}させやがって!" "こんなまずいものを食{く}わせやがって!" "あいつは本当{ほんとう}に良{い}いものを作{つく}りやがる" I was recently acquainted with the inflection "やがる," as ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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から and ので formation/conjugation differences

Consider the case when から and ので follows a noun, な-adjective, or noun-equivalent: から:静かだから... "Because it is quiet..." (Subjective causality) ので:静かなので... "Because it is quiet..." (...
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10 votes
2 answers
558 views

Transitive/Intransitive + にくい (and +られる)

This question is based on the discussion arising from "Unsolvable Problem" Start of Excerpt Relevant discourse extracted from "Unsolvable Problem": Quoted from Derek Schaab's reply to "Unsolvable ...
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