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~出す vs ~始める differences

killerinsidee

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Hi, it's been a while. I have a question about these two aux. verbs. I've done some research on these, but I've ran into some contradictions along the way and now I'm not sure what's correct. (Info I found - Start to - IMABI, word choice - What is the difference between 出す and 始める when used as a suffix? - Japanese Language Stack Exchange and DBJG (p.102-104))

The part that all of those sources have in common is that 出す has the have the nuance of sudden/unexpected "beginning", while 始める doesn't. That part is fine.

1. The part that's different is the volition "restrictions". DBJG claims that "出す indicates a non-volitional and abrupt beginning while the latter is more broadly used" so the volitional - 歩き出しましょう is not grammatically correct. Google has 431,000 hits on that. Is the vol. form correct?

2. Also, I'm wondering if 出す has anything to do with volition (whether you can control the action or not)?

The guy from stackexchange gave this example "For example, consider the sentence 私は泣き出した and 私は泣きはじめた. In the first we get a natural expression which implies that you (beyond your control) started crying. The second one is grammatically correct, but by using 始めた you're implying a sense of purpose," Don't know where the "implies that you (beyond your control) started crying." came from, while the example he gives below 「 スタートの合図が鳴り、彼らはいっせいに走り出した。」lack s this and just gives the nuance of "sudden". By the logic of the 1st example, 走り出した should have a "beyond your control" nuance, but that's would be a bit silly in this case.

歩き出す and 歩き始める (from DBJG) are correct with this example - 「私達が 歩き始めた/歩き出した 時山田達が来た。」Only difference I can see here is the "sudden/not sudden" start of movement. No idea how 歩き出した would have the non-volitional (beyond your control) meaning here. Last example is 「どうしてか分からなかったが、男は急に 怒り出した/??怒り始めた。」In this case, 始めた is a bit odd since 出す indicates "sudden", but it could also be because the man has no control over his anger. Not really sure.

Either some info is wrong or I'm heavily misunderstanding something. Sorry about the wall of text.

I would appreciate any help.
 

nekojita

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This is actually an interesting question because I have also heard these explanations and yet sometimes ~出そう seems natural..

I found a paper called 開始の「~出す」「~始める」について : 小説作品における用例分析を通して前接する動詞の傾向を探る - basically looking at how these forms are used in novels and which verbs combine with these suffixes.

Section 5 is called 「〜出す」と意志表現. Basically, the author starts by discussing the fact that it is often stated that one of the differences between 出す and 始める is that 出す isn't used for volitional - or at least not commonly used (some quotes brought up say things like 現れにくい or あまり使われません).

However, some counter examples are brought up. The first quote actually uses 歩く:
ぼくはくるりと後ろを向いて、歩き出そうとした。

The author of this paper splits the cases they found into three broad types:
1) 〜出そう (expressing volition)
Found in the texts they analysed with these verbs: 駆ける・歩く・走る・笑う
All cases in their corpus used "出そうとした"
2) 〜出したい (expressing desire)
Found with 泣く、笑う (e.g. 泣き出したくなる)
3) 〜出すつもり (expressing intent)
Found only with 咲く and explained as a special case.

They also looked for examples with 言う and 動く as these were verbs often used with 出す (but where volitional type sentences weren't found in their initial text analysis), and found examples of those as well.

The conclusion they give is simply that while it most cases ~出す isn't used with volitional, for certain verbs, it is not unnatural to do so. The cases where ~出す + volitional is used are almost all cases of verbs where the combination of that verb with 出す is common.

My guess: in these cases the meaning of the combination has drifted from what you might expect by just combining the verb with 出す (in particular, 言い出す has it's own dictionary entry), and therefore they don't necessarily adhere to the "rules" of ~出す (they're more like guidelines?).
 

killerinsidee

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Thank for the great info on this issue. I just have 1 last thing to ask about this. Since you brought up "言い出す", I noticed that 走り出す also has a dict. entry. Excluding the 出そう form., is it safe to assume that these 2 verbs have nothing to do with volition? In other words, the verbs that just can't be "non-volitional" by themselves with and have 出す attached (vs はじまる). Sorry for the silly question, I always have problems with "volition", which I'm trying to sort out :).
 

nekojita

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I guess it could be partly that - if you start running and I describe that as 走り出した, it doesn't mean you didn't intend the action, just that it was sudden - possibly unexpected to me, but not to you. Basically any grammatical "rule" is just somebody's attempt at explaining what actually happens. So if in most cases this ~出す gives a feeling of "sudden, unexpected action", then in most cases using it to refer to your own will/intent feels unnatural and a simple way of explaining this would be "this form shouldn't be used for describing your own volition as you can't intend to do something you don't expect".

Somewhere along the way, the "in most cases" part appears to have been stripped out.

Side note: 出す as a verb suffix is also not only used as "し始める", but can be used to mean "bring out" - e.g. 探し出す does not mean "suddenly search", but "search & locate". To my knowledge there's no issue with using this other 出す with volitional forms.
 

killerinsidee

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Great, thanks again. I didn't consider the " using it to refer to your own will/intent feels unnatural" (vs describing someone else's action) part. Glad this got cleared up.
 
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