Japanese is known to be rich in compound verbs consisting of two verbs joined together, as in hikari-kagayaku (give.off.light & shine) ‘shine like the sun’, nage-ireru (throw & put.in) ‘throw in’, and kaki-ageru (write & send.up) ‘write up’. Besides, concatenations of two verbs with the first verb accompanied by the particle te, as in tabe-te miru (eat-TE see) ‘try eating’ and simat-te oku (put.away-TE put) ‘put away for future use’, are also common. Although such verb-verb complexes are characteristically distributed in the languages of East Asia, South Asia, and parts of Central Asia, many of them exploit a conjunction like Japanese -te in relatively loose concatenations of two verbs. It appears that tight compounding of two verbs is largely restricted to languages in East Asia, and among them, Japanese stands out in the number and diversity of such V-V compound verbs. Because of this, Japanese compound verbs not only present intriguing topics of inquiry to specialists on linguistic analysis but also are often tough obstacles for beginning learners of Japanese to work through.
Comprising over 2,700 verb-verb compound verbs commonly used in contemporary Japanese, the Compound Verb Lexicon is designed to provide both researchers in linguistics and foreign learners of Japanese with useful information on their grammatical, semantic, and other linguistic features. In addition to Japanese representations, it offers English, Chinese, and Korean translations for the semantic definitions and example sentences.
Furthermore, for users who can read Japanese characters, each entry of compound verbs is linked to NLB (NINJAL-LWP for BCCWJ) to search for actual examples contained in the Balanced Corpus of Contemporary Written Japanese. The link is activated by clicking the tag “NLB” on the right-hand corner of each entry.
This online database is created by Taro Kageyama (project leader of the NINJAL collaborative research project “Syntactic, semantic, and morphological characteristics of the Japanese lexicon”), Kyoko Kanzaki (P.D. fellow), and Shiro Akasegawa (Lago Institute of Language). The English translation was made by Carolyn Heaton, the Chinese translation by Jie-Yi Chen (checked by Shen Li), and the Korean translation by Hyun-Kyung Hwang (checked by Mingi Jean and Heesun Han).
This database covers more than 2,700 compound verbs of the form “Verb + Verb”. Of these, about 2,000 come from the data collected by Taro Kageyama from dictionaries and other sources, and the others were added by Kyoko Kanzaki from major works on the topic. The listed entries were selected by the following criteria.
|1.||Only compound verbs that are used more or less commonly in contemporary Japanese are included. Classical compound verbs that are out of use today are excluded, as are those limited to special fields or to particular literary works.|
|2.||Only the verbs that follow the pattern “Verb in the conjunctive form + Verb” are included. Other patterns like the following are excluded:|
|(i)||the pattern “V-te V”, with the conjunction -te on the first verb, as in yon-de miru ‘try and read’, yame-te oku ‘decide not to do’, tasuke-te yaru ‘help someone’, and hashit-te iku ‘go running’;|
|(ii)||the pattern “V ni V”, with the particle ni attached to the first verb, as in kai ni iku ‘go to buy’;|
|(iii)||the pattern “Adjective + Verb”, as in atsu-garu ‘feel hot’ and hoshi-garu ‘be eager to get”;|
|(iv)||the pattern “Noun + Verb”, as yaku-datsu ‘be of help’ and na-zasu ‘mention by name’;|
|(v)||the pattern “Verb + Adjective”, as in ik-anai ‘do not go’ and yomi-yasui ‘be easy to read’.|
|N.B.||Concerning pattern (i), there are some expressions of the form “V-te V” that are specialized in meaning, such as kut-te kakaru ‘lash out (at someone)’, hut-te waku ‘happen unexpectedly’, and yot-te tatu ‘rely on’. The database includes only one such verb, mi-te toru ‘grasp, understand’.|
|3.||Only “lexical compound verbs” are included, leaving out “syntactic compound verbs” of the form “Verb in the conjunctive form + Verb”.|
The Compound Verb Lexicon has the following features.
|1.||Useful not only to specialists on linguistic analysis but also to learners of Japanese, researchers in language processing, and other fields|
|2.||A fairly comprehensive coverage of contemporary V-V compound verbs, accompanied by linguistically oriented explanations.|
|3.||Searches by a whole compound, V1 (first verb), and V2 (second verb). Input can be by Kanji, Hiragana, or Roman alphabets.|
|4.||Lucid semantic definitions reflecting the composition of two compounded verbs, and natural example sentences that correspond to them.|
|5.||Parallel representations in Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean.|
|6.||Case patterns showing how the compound verbs are used in sentences.|
|7.||Word structures based on a linguistic analysis.|
A unique feature of the Compound Verb Lexicon is the explicit representation of word structure showing the relationships between the first verb (V1) and the second verb (V2). N.B. This representation is based on a particular linguistic analysis of lexical compound verbs (Kageyama 2013) and is not fully established among researchers as yet.
In the VV type, each of the two component verbs has its own lexical meaning and semantic roles (case relations). Roughly speaking, compound verbs of this type can be paraphrased by using the formula “V1-te V2” (V1 and V2) or its variants like “V1 node V2” (V2 because V1) and ‘V1 nagara V2” (V2 while V1) where the verb in V1 modifies the verb in V2 in some way or other. For example, fumi-tsubusu ‘trample down’ as in Inu ga kusabana o fumi-tsubusu ‘A dog tramples the flowers down’ can be paraphrased as fun-de tsubusu ‘trample and crush’ or ‘crush by trampling’. In this case, V1 fumi- ‘trample’ takes its own subject (‘dog’) and object (‘flowers’), and so does V2 tsubusu ‘crush’. Likewise:
In this way, the verb in V2 generally determines the argument relations (case relations) of a whole compound verb.
In the Vs type, the verb in V2 has become a subsidiary verb due to loss of its literal meaning and (in most cases) its semantic roles (case relations), while the verb in V1 maintains its lexical meaning and semantic roles. Because of this, the compound verbs of this type, unlike those of the VV type, cannot be properly paraphrased by the formula “V1-te V2”, as shown below:
On the contrary, these compound verbs can be better paraphrased by reversing the order of the two members, with the verb in V2 modifying the verb in V1. For example, Ame ga furi-shikiru ‘Rain falls incessantly’ is properly paraphrased as Ame ga shikiri ni furu (‘Rain falls incessantly’), Sora ga hare-wataru as Sora ga sumizumi ni watat-te hareru (‘The sky is clear all over’), shini-isogu as isoi-de shinu (‘die hurriedly’), saki-kisou ‘bloom as if in competition’ as kisot-te saku (‘bloom in competition’), saki-hokoru ‘bloom beautifully, as if proud’ as hokorasige ni saku (‘bloom proudly’), and furi-sosogu ‘pour down’ as sosogu yooni furu (‘fall in a downpour’). As seen from these paraphrases, the verbs in V2 in the compound verbs of the Vs type have changed to adverbial or auxiliary functions, and the case relations (semantic roles) of a whole compound verb are determined primarily by the verb in V1.
In this type, the verb in V1 functions as a prefix or a prefix-like verb because of the weakening of its lexical meaning and (in many cases) the accompanying phonetic erosion. Representative examples are sashi- (originally ‘put in’) in sashi-semaru ‘(for a deadline) to be approaching’, but- (originally ‘strike’) in but-tobasu ‘punch forcefully’, uchi- (originally ‘hit’) in uchi-kasanaru ‘lie in layers’, oshi- (originally ‘push’) in oshi-kakusu ‘hide something continuously’, and hip- (originally ‘pull’) in hip-pataku ‘slap hard’. Because the prefix or prefix-like verb has only the function of emphasizing the meaning of the second verb, the case relations (semantic roles) of a whole compound verb are determined wholly by the verb in V2.
In this type, the compound verb is regarded as being lexicalized as one word because it is no longer recognized as consisting of two members by contemporary speakers. Examples are ochi-tsuku (originally ‘fall and arrive’) meaning ‘settle down, be in a stable condition’, omoi-dasu (originally ‘think and take out’) meaning ‘remember’, and ori-iru (originally ‘bend and go in’) meaning ‘if I may ask at all’ when used as an adverbial ori-itte.
N.B. The distinction between VV and Vs types is made by the semantic and syntactic functions of the second verbs. It is NOT based on the morphological status of the second verb as an independent word or a bound morpheme. Although many V2 verbs in the Vs-type are bound forms limited to the second position, the VV type may also have bound morphemes in the V2 position. A case in point is -komu ‘go in, put in’, which can appear only in the V2 position of lexical compound verbs. Interestingly, this bound verb has different functions when used as a VV-type compound and as a Vs-type compound. Used in compounds of the VV type, -komu inherently conveys the notion of ‘goal of motion’, as in nagare-komu ‘flow in’ and oshi-komu ‘push in’, and even adds this notion to the first verb that lacks a motional meaning, as in Kare wa shiyakusho ni donari-konda (shout-go.in) ‘He burst into the city office, making complaints’ and Kare wa mise ni abare-konda (storm-go.in) ‘He stormed into the shop’. When used in Vs-type compounds, on the other hand, the same morpheme -komu has an entirely different function of intensifying the action of the first verb, as in kangae-komu ‘think deeply’, tomari-komu ‘stay overnight at a place’, and ni-komu ‘simmer well’
The second, subsidiary verbs in the Vs-type compounds are characterized by the following properties that are not observed with the VV-type compounds.
|1.||Subsidiary verbs add certain aspectual (Aktionsart) meanings to the events and actions denoted by the first verbs. E.g.: -wataru (lit. ‘go aross’) in hare-wataru ‘(sky) be clear all over’ adds the meaning of ‘all over’ or ‘completely’.|
|2.||Subsidiary verbs convey different meanings from when they are used as independent verbs. E.g.: -hateru, meaning ‘be exhausted’ when used as an independent verb, means ‘completely’ in Vs-type compounds, as in akire-hateru ‘be completely amazed’.|
|3.||Subsidiary verbs are severely restricted in their combinations with the verbs in V1. E.g.: -wabiru ‘anxiously’ combines only with mati- ‘wait’ (mati-wabiru ‘wait anxiously’), and -shikiru ‘incessantly’ only with furi- ‘fall’ (furi-shikiru ‘rain incessantly’) and naki- ‘(insects) chirp’ (naki-shikiru ‘chirp continuously’).|
|4.||Some subsidiary verbs cannot be used alone in contemporary Japanese. E.g.: -shikiru in 3 above, -furasu in ii-furasu ‘spread a rumor’, -furusu ‘make old’ in ki-furusu ‘make (a garment) worn-out’, -kokuru ‘adamantly’ in damari-kokuru ‘keep silent adamantly’, and -narawasu ‘by custom’ in yobi-narawasu ‘call something a certain way by custom’.|
|5.||Some Vs-type compounds are used only in certain inflectional forms. E.g.: mati-kire-nai ‘cannot wait any longer’ is used only in the negative form.|
|6.||Because the semantic relations between V1 and V2 are not straightforward in Vs-type compounds, foreign learners as well as native speakers take time to master them. An error in semantic interpretation that has been observed recently is ni-tsumaru originally meaning ‘deliberate repeatedly until one reaches a conclusion’, which younger speakers nowadays use to convey a negative meaning like ‘get stuck in the middle of deliberations and be unable to reach a conclusion’.|
(1) Temporal aspect (expressions of inception, continuation, completion, etc.)
|A.COMPLETION OF EVENTS|
-yamu ‘stop’ (furi-yamu ‘stop raining’), -ageru ‘complete’ (nui-ageru ‘complete sewing’, utai-ageru ‘complete singing’), -agaru ‘be completed’ (nui-agaru ‘be done, knitting’, hi-agaru ‘get completely dry’), -tsumeru ‘complete to the end’ (ni-tsumeru ‘boil so much that no moisture is left’), -tsumaru ‘be complete to the end’ (ni-tsumaru ‘be boiled so that there is no moisture left’)
|B.INCOMPLETENESS OR FAILURE OF EVENTS|
-sasu ‘stop halfway’ (ii-sasu ‘start to say something but stop in the middle’), -chigaeru ‘make a mistake’ (haki-chigaeru ‘wear someone else’s shoes by mistake’), -shiburu ‘hesitate’ (kashi-shiburu ‘be reluctant to lend’), -nayamu ‘not proceed as one expects’ (nobi-nayamu ‘fail to grow as expected’), -chigau ‘make a mistake’ (kiki-chigau ‘mishear’)
|C.EMPHASIS ON RESULTING STATES|
-komu ‘completely’ (ne-komu ‘sleep soundly’, kangae-komu ‘think deeply’), -hateru ‘completely’ (komari-hateru ‘be completely at a loss’), -kiru ‘completely’ (sumi-kiru ‘be absolutely transparent’), -kaeru ‘completely’ (shizumari-kaeru ‘become completely silent’, akire-kaeru ‘be thoroughly disgusted’), -tsuku ‘stay in a condition’ (sabi-tsuku ‘completely rust away’), -agaru ‘thoroughly’ (furue-agaru ‘shake terribly due to cold or fear’), -midareru ‘in profusion’ (saki-midareru ‘bloom in profusion’), -harau ‘completely’ (ochitsuki-harau ‘be completely calm’)
|D.INCEPTION OR ATTEMPT TO START|
-kakaru ‘start’ (naguri-kakaru ‘strike at’), -tsukeru ‘start’ (donari-tsukeru ‘shout fiercely at’), -someru ‘start’ (saki-someru ‘start blooming’), -okosu ‘start’ (kaki-okosu ‘start writing’)
-kurasu ‘continue daylong’ (naki-kurasu ‘spend one’s day crying’), -shikiru ‘continually’ (furi-shikiru ‘keep on raining’)
|F.REPETITIVE OR HABITUAL ACTION|
-komu ‘do amply’ (hashiri-komu ‘get ample running practice’), -narawasu ‘by custom’ (ii-narawasu ‘use the name by practice’), -kaeru ‘do again’ (tate-kaeru ‘rebuild’), -tsugu ‘pass on’ (katari-tsugu ‘tell and pass on from one generation to the next’)
|G.EMPHASIS ON ACTION|
-tateru ‘violently’ (sawagi-tateru ‘make a big fuss’), -orosu ‘thoroughly’ (koki-orosu ‘criticize terribly’), -mawasu ‘repeatedly and thoroughly’ (kone-mawasu ‘kneed thoroughly’), -kaeru ‘violently’ (waki-kaeru ‘boil violently’), -tatsu ‘violently’ (waki-tatu ‘boil violently’), -chigiru ‘maximally’ (home-chigiru ‘praise to the maximal’), -tsukeru ‘violently’ (shikari-tsukeru ‘scold severely’)
|H.MUTUAL RELATIONS OF TWO OR MORE EVENTS|
-awaseru ‘happen to’ (i-awaseru ‘(two or more people) happen to be at the same place’), -kaeru ‘do again’ (nori-kaeru ‘get off of one’s vehicle and board another’), -kaesu ‘do back’ (kiki-kaesu ‘ask back’), -musubu ‘do each other’ (kiri-musubu ‘(two people) try to kill each other with their swords’), -wakeru ‘do differently’ (tsukai-wakeru ‘use different things, depending on the purpose’)
(2) Spatial aspect (expressions of spatial motion involved in the unfolding of events)
(3) Social (interpersonal) aspect (expressions of personal superiority involved in the unfolding of events)
Following the distinction made between syntactic compound verbs and lexical compound verbs (Taro Kageyama, Bunpō to Gokeisei [Grammar and Word Formation], Tokyo: Hituzi Syobo, 1993), the Compound Verb Lexicon lists only lexical compound verbs. Syntactic compound verbs, which are excluded from the database, are easily recognizable and interpretable due to the following characteristics.
(1) The second verbs are limited to the following 30 verbs:
|Inception||V-kakeru ‘be about to V, almost V’ (e.g. ochi-kakeru ‘be about to drop’), V-dasu ‘begin to V’ (e.g. huri-dasu ‘begin to rain’), V-hazimeru ‘start V-ing’ (e.g. ensō-shi-hazimeru ‘start playing (music)’), V-kakaru ‘almost V’ (e.g. koros-are-kakaru ‘be almost killed’)|
|Continuation||V-tsuzukeru ‘continue V-ing’ (e.g. aruki-tsuzukeru ‘keep on walking’), V-makuru ‘V on and on’ (e.g. shaberi-makuru ‘talk on and on’)|
|Completion||V-oeru ‘finish V-ing’ (e.g. utai-oeru ‘finish singing’), V--owaru ‘complete V-ing’ (e.g. yomi-owaru ‘complete reading’), V-tsukusu ‘V exhaustively’ (e.g. shirabe-tsukusu ‘investigate exhaustively’), V-kiru ‘V completely’ (e.g. tsukai-kiru ‘use up’), V-toosu ‘V to the end’ (e.g. damari-toosu ‘keep silent until the end’), V-nuku ‘V to the end’ (e.g. tatakai-nuku ‘fight to the end’)|
|Incompletion||V-sokonau ‘miss V-ing’ (e.g. tabe-sokonau ‘miss eating’), V-sokeneru ‘fail to V’ (e.g. mi-sokoneru ‘fail to see’), V-sonjiru ‘fail to V properly’ (e.g. kaki-sonjiru ‘fail to write properly’), V-sobireru ‘miss the chance of V-ing’ (e.g. kiki-sobireru ‘miss the chance of asking’), V-kaneru ‘cannot V’ (e.g. hikiuke-kaneru ‘cannot take on (a job)’), V-okureru ‘be late in V-ing’ (e.g. dashi-okureru ‘be late in posting’), V-wasureru ‘forget to V’ (e.g. dashi-wasureru ‘forget to post’), V-nokosu ‘not finish V-ing’ (e.g. tabe-nokosu ‘leave partially eaten’), V-ayamaru ‘make a mistake in V-ing’ (e.g. kaki-ayamaru ‘make a mistake in writing’), V-aguneru ‘try to V in failure’ (e.g. kime-aguneru ‘try to decide in failure, cannot decide’)|
|Excessive action||V-sugiru ‘V too much’ (e.g. tabe-sugiru ‘eat too much’)|
|Retrial||V-naosu ‘V again’ (e.g. kaki-naosu ‘rewrite’)|
|Habitual||V-tsukeru ‘be used to V-ing’ (e.g. nori-tsukeru ‘be used to driving’), V-nareru ‘be accustomed to V-ing’ (e.g. tabe-nareru ‘be accustomed to eating’), V-akiru ‘get tired of V-ing’ (e.g. tabe-akiru ‘get tired of eating’), V-konasu ‘manage to V efficiently’ (e.g. tukai-konasu ‘manage to use efficiently’)|
|Reciprocal action||V-au ‘V each other’ (e.g. hihan-shi-au ‘criticize each other’)|
|Potential||V-eru (or V-uru) ‘There is a possibility of V-ing, can possibly V’ (e.g. okori-eru ‘can possibly happen’)|
(2) No restrictions on the first verbs
Unlike lexical compound verbs, which are severely restricted in the combinations of the first and second verbs, syntactic compound verbs may accommodate any verb in the position indicated by the symbol “V” in the above example patterns.
(3) Grammatical elements may fit in the first verb position.
The elements that come in the “V” position need not be a single verb but may include syntactic elements like the following.
|a.||Verbs of the form “Noun + suru” like ensō-suru ‘play music’.|
|b.||Passive verbs like koros-areru ‘be killed’, causative verbs like aruk-aseru ‘make walk’, honorific verbs like o-wasure-ni-naru ‘forget’, and V-te V constructions.|
|c.||Idioms like abura o uru (lit. ‘sell oil’) ‘shoot the breeze’.|
|d.||Verbal pro-forms like soo-suru ‘do so’.|
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