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About Compound Verb Lexicon

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).