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Derivational affixes

Davide92

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Hi all. When I study languages, I like to spend some time noticing and studying the connections in terms of morphology (prefixes, affixes, sound changes etc.) between etymologically related words. For example, in the case of English, that would mean noticing (or finding out) that 'long, length, lengthen, oblong, elongate' etc. and even 'longing' share the same root. That would also mean noticing that 'th' makes nouns out of adjectives ( long → length, but also wide → width, broad → breadth...), that 'en' turns such nouns into verbs (length-en), etc.

When it comes to Japanese, I've noticed that my textbooks don't pay a lot of attention to these processes of derivation. I think they only cover in detail the transitive/intransitive verb patterns and the さ and み noun-forming suffixes.

One thing thing that I've noticed is that め/ま turns certain adjectives into verbs, for example 広い → 広める and 広まる. Also, according to this paper (http://www.f.waseda.jp/dechene/RP-RBS+JDM.pdf ), ぐ turns nouns into verbs with a meaning of 'making a typical use of something', as can be seen in 綱 → つなぐ and 股 → またぐ .

That's pretty much the extent of what I know on the subject.

I think noticing these connections can be useful to memorize more easily new words and also to get a deeper grasp of certain aspects of the language. At the same time, noticing them can be hard if one doesn't know that a pattern exists, as in the case of 綱 → つなぐ where the kanji aren't even the same.

So what do you think? If anyone has more information of this kind or can point me to resources that cover this, I would really appreciate that.
 

Toritoribe

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That's an interesting topic. Here are examples of adjectives that are derived from verbs.

騒ぐ --> 騒がしい
喜ぶ --> 喜ばしい
悩む --> 悩ましい
急ぐ --> 忙しい (kanji are different like 綱 vs. 繋ぐ)

Actually, knowledge regarding classical Japanese language is necessary for your purpose. For instance, the classical form of 広い is 広し, and a classical transitive verb 広む is derived from it, and then it changed to the modern transitive verb 広める. The modern intransitive verb 広まる is also derived from 広む.
There was another classical transitive verb 広ぐ which is also derived from 広し. 広ぐ changed to the modern transitive verb 広げる. A classical intransitive verb 広ごる is also derived from 広ぐ, and then 広ごる changed to the modern intransitive verb 広がる.

--> : change from classical form to modern one
↓ : derivation

広し --> 広い

広む/広ぐ

広む(transitive) --> 広める(transitive)

広まる(intransitive)

広ぐ(transitive) --> 広げる(transitive)

広ごる(intransitive) --> 広がる(intransitive)


However, as for, 痛い vs. 痛む, 痛む is not derived from a classical adjective 痛し. Both 痛し and 痛む are derived from a classical adverb いた(甚), and the modern transitive verb 痛める is derived from 痛む.

いた

痛し/痛む

痛し --> 痛い

痛む(transitive and intransitive) --> 痛む(intransitive)

痛める(transitive)
(Note that, unlike 広がる, 痛がる is derived from 痛い, not from a verb.)

Here's a tricky one. 新しい and 改める/改まる have the same etymology. The classical form of 新しい is あらたし, but it changed to あたらし because of misuse of the word (it's said that it's from mixing up with another adjective あたらし(惜し)). A classical verb 改む is derived from あらたし, and then both 改める and 改まる are derived from it.

あらたし --> あたらし --> 新しい

改む(transitive and intransitive)

改める(transitive)
改まる(intransitive)

As you can see above, it's insufficient to see only modern forms of words for your purpose.
 

Davide92

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Thank you for this glimpse into historical Japanese!

騒ぐ --> 騒がしい

喜ぶ --> 喜ばしい

悩む --> 悩ましい

急ぐ --> 忙しい (kanji are different like 綱 vs. 繋ぐ)


Nice pattern! I must have seen 急ぐ and 忙しい hundreds of times by now but I never noticed the connection!

Actually, knowledge regarding classical Japanese language is necessary for your purpose. For instance, the classical form of 広い is 広し, and a classical transitive verb 広む is derived from it, and then it changed to the modern transitive verb 広める. The modern intransitive verb 広まる is also derived from 広む.

There was another classical transitive verb 広ぐ which is also derived from 広し. 広ぐ changed to the modern transitive verb 広げる. A classical intransitive verb 広ごる is also derived from 広ぐ, and then 広ごる changed to the modern intransitive verb 広がる.

It seems to me that 広める has more of an abstract meaning (news, information) while 広げる has more of a concrete meaning (physical objects), but I guess this is only true of this verb and can't be generalized in any way right? (for example considering 高い and 深い I can find 高める and 深める but I can't find * 高げる or *深げる).

One thing that I love about paper dictionaries is that you can just leaf through them and notice a lot of connections. But I guess you're right, the more the forms diverge over time the harder it is to find the connection, as in your example 新しい and 改める (which must be quite a few pages apart in a dictionary, and even if they were close, I probably wouldn't notice the connection. In this particular case though, I noticed it thanks to 新た which 'bridged the gap' for me between 新しい and 改める :D )

I have a 語源辞典 for kids. I hope I'll be able to read it soon!
 

Toritoribe

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It seems to me that 広める has more of an abstract meaning (news, information) while 広げる has more of a concrete meaning (physical objects), but I guess this is only true of this verb and can't be generalized in any way right? (for example considering 高い and 深い I can find 高める and 深める but I can't find * 高げる or *深げる).
Right. I can't think of any other example of ~げる/がる than 広い at least right now.
 
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