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Vacuum-cleaning, kakeru - assistance with understanding

user64344

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Hello.

I have met this interesting combination of words. 掃除機をかける. 掃除機, "soujiki", meaning vacuum cleaner, and adding をかける, "(w)o kakeru" produces the meaning of vacuum-cleaning. I am wondering what "kakeru" means. At the times I've encountered the phrase "掃除機をかける" I have noticed that "kakeru" is spelled solely with kana, and when looking up different "kakeru"-verbs I have not found any verb spelled solely with kana.

I have found that kakeru can mean "apply" amongst other things, but why is it spelled only with kana in this instance – and can it be spelled differently? I would like an explanation of the composition in question, 掃除機をかける; I would like to have the object-verb relation explained.

Regards and happy wishes, fragan.
 

killerinsidee

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I've seen it spelled with katakana and kanji a lot of times, not sure if there's any special reason for it being written in hiragana. Maybe because it has so many meanings and it is used really a lot. I think you can write some (common?) words with hiragana or kanji freely. Take だめ as an example, you'll probably see it written as 駄目. I can't think of any special reason for that other than stylistic reasons.
As for the meaning when used with 掃除機, it means 「道具を用いて表面を加工する」or「道具で処理する」.

You can find tons of kanji/hiragana examples here: を掛けるの英訳|英辞郎 on the WEB:アルク and をかけるの英訳|英辞郎 on the WEB:アルク
 
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掃除機をかける
掛ける・懸ける are often written with kana only. The other かける verbs,
欠ける・駆ける・賭ける are often written with kanji, probably to distinguish them from the more common かける verbs.

There's not much to explain about your phrase... as you already noticed the verb would mean something like 'apply' in this case, so the phrase means to use the vacuum cleaner (on something).

From this entry you can see 掛ける has a wide variety of applications. Something like your example is in there too:
かける【掛ける】の英語・英訳 - 和英辞書 - 英語辞書 - goo辞書
 

user64344

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Hello.

Thank you for responses, killerinsidee, and SomeCallMeChris. You explained it well and you included relevant links.

Kindest regards.
 

nekojita

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Because かける・かかる have so many meanings/uses, they are popular for punning/verbal jokes. (かかる is the intransitive form. 時間をかける = to spend time on something. 時間がかかる = to take time).

One of my favourite Gintama exchanges (sometimes it's awesome when they're not making ball jokes):
A: 情けでもかけたつもりか
B: 情けだ? そんなもん お前にかける位なら ご飯にかけるわ

情けをかける means to show mercy/sympathy (B just deliberately took A out by disarming him rather than killing him)
(Xを)ご飯にかける on the other hand, means to put something on rice.

〜かける is common also as a compound-verb forming suffix, e.g. ふりかける = to sprinkle something over something else. (ふりかけ , as in the food/seasoning meaning, comes from this verb).
 
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