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Thursday, April 21, 2022

~koto wo suru ~ことをする - Meaning in Japanese

In Japanese, ~koto wo suruことをする (koto こと, marked by wo, plus suru する) means "to do something that is X" or "to do an X thing," what sort of thing we're doing depends on the adjective or relative clause qualifying koto. It effectively lets you create suru-verbs out of random phrases describing acts so you can conjugate the description like a verb. When the description already ends in a verb to begin with, sometimes the phrase ~koto wo suru just makes the sentence longer.

  • {warui} koto wo suru
    悪いことをする
    To do something [that] {is bad}.
    To do a {bad} thing.
  • sonna koto shitara
    そんなことしたら
    If [you] do something like that...
  • {fudan shinai} koto wo suru
    普段しないことをする
    To do something [that] {[you] normally don't do}.
    To do things [you] {normally don't}.
  • {mahou wo tsukau} koto ga dekiru
    魔法を使うことができる
    To be able to do the thing [that is] {to use magic}.
    To be able to {use magic}.
    • mahou ga tsukaeru
      魔法が使える
      To be able to use magic.
      (same meaning.)

The phrase ~koto ga dekiruことができる is the irregular potential form of ~koto wo suru. The phrase ~koto wo itashimasuことをいたします is a humble speech (kenjougo 謙譲語) variant, while ~koto wo nasaruことをなさる is a honorific speech (sonkeigo 尊敬語) variant. The phrases ~koto suruことする, ~koto dekiruことできる, ~koto itashimasuこといたします, and ~koto nasaruことなさる are null-marked (φ).

Sunday, April 17, 2022

~ku suru ~くする - Meaning in Japanese

In Japanese, ~ku suruくする (~ku ~く adverbial copula plus suru する) means "to make X become Y," "to turn X into Y" when the ~ku morpheme is attached to the stem of an i-adjective; when it's attached to the negative form of a verb (~naku suru ~なくする) it means "to make X stop being Y," or "to make X stop doing Y," in the sense of "X used to do Y, but you made it so X won't do Y anymore." The phrase ~ku dekiru ~くできる is its potential form, and ~ku itashimasu ~くいたします is a humble speech (kenjougo 謙譲語) variant.

  • sora wo {akaku} suru
    くする
    To make the sky become {red}.
    • akai 赤い, i-adjective meaning the color "red."
  • {koukoku wo hyouji shinaku} suru
    広告を表示しなくする
    To make [it] so [that] {[it] doesn't display advertisements}. (it used to show ads, then you did something so that it doesn't show ads anymore.)
    • hyouji shinai 表示しない, "to not display," negative form of the suru-verb hyouji suru 表示する, "to display."
  • {nemurenaku} suru
    眠れなくする
    To make [it] so [that] {[one] can't sleep}.
    • nemurenai 眠れい, "to not be able to sleep," negative form of nemureru 眠れる, "to be able to sleep," potential form of nemuru 眠る, "to sleep."
実は私・・・ブレンドコーヒーには少し自身があってね 味や香りを良くするために5種類のコーヒー豆を使っているんだ それぞれの持ち味を生かせるように工夫を重ねたのが当店のブレンドでね
Manga: Gabriel DropOut, ガヴリールドロップアウト (Chapter 17)
Friday, April 15, 2022

~ku naru ~くなる - Meaning in Japanese

In Japanese, ~ku naruくなる (~ku ~く adverbial copula plus naru なる) means "will become X" or "will be X" when ~ku is attached to the stem of an i-adjective; when it's attached to the negative form a verb (~naku naru ~なくなる), it means "will stop being" or "will stop doing," in the sense of "used to do it, but won't do it anymore" instead.

  • {akaku} naru
    くなる
    To become {red}.
    • akai 赤い is an i-adjective for the color "red."
  • {awanaku} naru
    会わなくなる
    To stop {meeting}. (in the sense of we used to meet, but we won't be meeting anymore.)
    • au 会う, "to meet."
  • {arukenaku} naru
    歩けなくなる
    To stop being {able to walk}.
    • arukeru 歩ける, "to be able to walk," potential form of aruku 歩く, "to walk."
まあ そうかたくなるな 言った通り手伝ってほしいだけなのだ 我が輩の食事を
Manga: Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro 魔人探偵 脳噛ネウロ (Chapter 1, 手【て】)

~ku ~く Adverbial Copula

In Japanese, ~ku is the ending of i-adjectives when conjugated to their ren'youkei 連用形, i.e. it's the adverbial form of the ~i ~い copula. It's similar to the "~ly" suffix that turns adjectives in adverbs in English, e.g. if sugoi すごい means "incredible," then sugoku すご means "incredibly," although it may translate to the bare form when it expresses the final state of a process. It can also be used to connect multiple adjectives to each other. In rare cases, ~ku is used in a manner similar to a noun describable by the adjective. For example:

  • {karuku} takaku
    叩く
    To hit [something] {lightly}.
    To hit [something] {in a way that is light}.
    (process modification.)
    • karui
      軽い
      Light. As in not "heavy," omoi 重い. Not to be confused with a sparkling "light," hikari 光.
  • {karuku} naru
    なる
    To become {light}.
    (final state.)
  • {{takaku} hayai} kuruma
    速い車
    A car that {{is expensive and} fast}.
    (connective copula.)
    • takai
      高い
      High. (height.)
      Expensive. (price.)
  • tooku φ e nigeru
    逃げる
    To escape to [a place that] is far away.
    (noun-like usage.)
    • tooi
      遠い
      Far. Antonym of chikai 近い, "near."
おねーちゃん こっちも生中2つね ガヤガヤ おねーちゃん!?気やすく呼びおって!我を誰だとおもっている 生中2つな ピピ 我は魔界No.2(ナンバーツー)のジャヒーさ・・・ ねーちゃんこっちもー あっ!?はい!
Manga: Jahy-sama wa Kujikenai!, ジャヒー様はくじけない! (Chapter 0.1, ジャヒー様とすまいる)
Tuesday, April 12, 2022

~i ~い Copula

In Japanese, ~i is a suffix that functions like a copula, which is found in i-adjectives, giving them their name. For example: kawaii かわいい doesn't mean just "cute," it means "to be cute," and we can separate the morphemes into the stem kawai~ meaning "cute," and ~i meaning "to be." This ~i ~い is sometimes suffixed to random stuff to create new adjectives, and, in rare cases, used adverbially:

  • tekui
    テクい
    Skilled. (as in having "technique," tekunikku テクニック)
    (neologism.)
  • erai muzukashii
    難しい
    Extremely difficult.
    (adverbial usage.)
速い
Manga: One Punch Man, Wanpanman ワンパンマン (Chapter 10)
Monday, April 11, 2022

-u Verbs

In some Japanese textbooks, the term -u verb (or u-verb) means the same thing as a godan verb. Such verbs always end in the ~u vowel in their nonpast form (or dictionary form, shuushikei 終止形), however, they aren't the only ones to do so: ALL Japanese verbs end in the ~u vowel, including, for example, ichidan verbs (-ru verbs), which aren't -u verbs, so not all verbs that end in the ~u vowel are actually -u verbs, making the term extremely confusing for lots of people trying to learn Japanese.(Steffanick, 2010:20)

-ru Verbs

In some Japanese textbooks, the term -ru verb (or ru-verb) means the same thing as an ichidan verb. Such verbs always end in ~ru ~る in their nonpast form (or dictionary form, shuushikei 終止形), however, they aren't the only ones to do so: godan verbs (or -u verbs) can also end in ~ru in nonpast form, which means not every verb that ends in ~ru is a "ru verb," making the term extremely confusing for lots of people trying to learn Japanese.(Steffanick, 2010:20)

-masu Stem

In some Japanese textbooks, the term -masu stem (or masu-stem) refers to what you get when you conjugate a verb to its polite form, which ends in ~masu ~ます, and then remove the ~masu suffix, leaving you with the stem of the conjugation. It refers to the same thing as the term ren'youkei 連用形, except that adjectives don't have a ~masu form, so they don't have a masu-stem. Usually the term is used when talking about adding a different suffix to the masu-stem (ren'youkei). For example:

ichidan verb godan verb
Dictionary form kiru
着る
To wear.
kiru
切る
To cut.
Polite form kimasu
着ます
kirimasu
切ります
masu-stem
or ren'youkei.
ki~
着~
kiri~
切り~
tai-form
(masu-stem + ~tai)
kitai
着たい
To want to wear.
kiritai
切りたい
To want to cut.

Stem

In linguistics, stem (and sometimes root, or base) is the word or part of the word (morpheme) you get when you remove all its suffixes, prefixes, etc., e.g. if you remove ~ing from "dying," you get "die," so "die" is the stem of "dying." What the term means exactly seems to vary from author to author, and these three similar-sounding terms—stem, root, and base—may mean slightly different things when used by the same author. Usually it's used to say that you get the stem by removing suffixes, then you add new suffixes to the stem. In Japanese, some notable stem-related terms are:

  • The term "masu-stem" refers to the ren'youkei 連用形, which is what you get when you remove the ~masu ~ます suffix from a word, e.g.: tabe is the masu-stem of taberu 食べる, "to eat," because it's tabe-masu 食べます without ~masu. You can add ~tai ~たい, for example, to this stem: tabe-tai 食べたい, "[I] want to eat."
  • The stem of i-adjectives is an i-adjective without its ~i ~い suffix, e.g.: sugo~ すご~ from sugoi すごい, "incredible." You can add ~sugiru ~すぎる to this stem: sugo-sugiru すごすぎる, "too incredible."
  • The term consonant-stem verb refers to a godan 五段 verb, because such verbs' stems always end in a consonant. Also called "consonant verb," or "-u verb" because you remove the "-u" vowel to get the vowel-less consonant stem.
  • The term vowel-stem verb refers to an ichidan 一段 verb, because such verbs' stems always end in a vowel. Also called "vowel verb," or "-ru verb" because you remove the "-ru" syllable to get the vowel-ending stem.
Saturday, April 9, 2022

~ru ~る Verb Suffix

In Japanese, ~ru is a syllable found at the end of many verbs in nonpast form (or dictionary form, shuushikei 終止形, rentaikei 連体形). All ichidan 一段 verbs end in ~ru, so they're also called ru-verbs. Some godan 五段 verbs (a.k.a. u-verbs, for they all end in ~u) also end in ~ru. Consequently, the nonpast form is also known as the ru-form. What's interesting is that ~ru ~る is sometimes used to create new verb words as some sort of verbalizing suffix, typically out of gairaigo 外来語 or other loan words written in katakana カタカナ, leading to verbs that are a mix of katakana and hiragana ひらがな, like:(some examples from news.nicovideo.jp)

  • memoru
    メモる
    To take note of. (from memo メモ, a "note.")
  • misuru
    ミスる
    To make a mistake. (omae no misu da! お前のミスだ!, "that was your miss (mistake)!")
  • toraburu
    トラブる
    To get into trouble. (from "trouble," toraburu トラブル.)
    • To LOVEる is the title of a manga and anime series that's a pun on this word. It's read toraburu とらぶる, "to" as to と, "love" as its katakanization rabu ラブ, and lastly the ~ru suffix, which means "to love"-ru is a verb in the title, i.e. literally "to 'to love'."
  • tenparu
    テンパる
    To be one tile away from winning. (in mahjong 麻雀マージャン, which is kind of a card game but with "tiles," hai 牌, where you have to form a pattern to win, the term tenpai 聴牌 テンパイ refers to being one tile away from completing the pattern and winning the round.)
    To be frustrated. To be at one's wits' end.
  • guguru
    ググる
    To google. (from "Google," guuguru グーグル)
  • saboru
    サボる
    To skip work. (from French "sabotage," sabotaaju サボタージュ)
ケンカ 人数 多い ちょっと待てや 今ググってるから
Manga: Gokushufudou 極主夫道 (Chapter 8)
Friday, April 8, 2022

Flat Adverbs

In grammar, a flat adverb is an adverb that looks like an adjective, or, more specifically: it refers to taking a word that has both an adjective form and an adverbial form, and using its adjective form (instead of the adverbial one) to express the adverbial meaning. In English, adjectives become adverbs through the "~ly" suffix, so saying "it went really bad" instead of "it went really badly" would be using "bad" as a flat adverb.(Eversoll, 2014:1) In Japanese, a similar phenomenon occurs with a few intensifying adjectives like sugoi すごい, whose adverbial form (ren'youkei 連用形) would be sugoku すごく, that are nevertheless used in the adjective form to express their adverbial function sometimes.

Character: Uzaki Hana 宇崎花
Anime: Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai! 宇崎ちゃんは遊びたい! (Episode 1)
  • Context: an anime girl with a lip fang and a shirt spelling in romaji:
  • {sugoi} dekai
    すごいでかい
    {Incredibly} big.
    • {sugoku} dekai
      すごでかい
      (same meaning.)

~koto ni suru ~ことにする - Meaning in Japanese

In Japanese, ~koto ni suruことにする (also spelled事にする, koto こと, plus ni に adverbial copula, plus suru する) means "to decide" or "to make it so" that things will turn out in a way when the relative clause qualifying koto is in nonpast form (future tense), or "to pretend" things have turned in a way when the relative clause is in past form.

  • Tarou ga shinu
    太郎が死ぬ
    Tarou will die. (in the future.)
  • {{Tarou ga shinu} koto ni} suru
    太郎が死ぬことにする
    [I] will decide/make it so that {{Tarou will die (in the future)}}. (e.g. I'm writing a story and was deciding whether he lives or dies, and I'll make it so he dies.)
  • {{Tarou ga shinu} koto ni} shita
    太郎が死ぬことにした
    [I] decided/made so that {{Tarou will die (in the future)}}. (I already changed the story, or already decided it, but he hasn't died yet.)
  • Tarou ga shinda
    太郎が死んだ
    Tarou died. (in the past.)
  • {{Tarou ga shinda} koto ni} suru
    太郎が死んだことにする
    [I] will pretend/make so that (in the future) that {{Tarou has died (in the past)}}. (I'll tell everybody that's what happened, even if that's not true..)
  • {{Tarou ga shinda} koto ni} shita
    太郎が死んだことにした
    [I] pretended/made so that (in the past) that {{Tarou died (in the past)}}. (we managed to hide the truth by manipulating the newspapers and mass media, so now everybody thinks he died.)
私はなにも聞かなかった事にするわ! ま またね源蔵さん!
Manga: Kemono Michi けものみち (Chapter 4)

~koto ni naru ~ことになる - Meaning in Japanese

In Japanese, ~koto ni naruことになる (also spelled事になる, koto こと, plus ni に adverbial copula, plus naru なる) means that things will turn out ("become," ~ni naru ~になる) in a way when the relative clause qualifying koto is in nonpast form (future tense), or that it was decided that things have turned in a way in the past (e.g. we'll pretend that's how it went) when the relative clause is in past form.

  • Tarou ga shinu
    太郎が死ぬ
    Tarou will die. (in the future.)
  • {{Tarou ga shinu} koto ni} naru
    太郎が死ぬことになる
    Things will turn out so that {{Tarou will die (in the future)}}. (meaning things haven't turned so yet, so we can prevent this hypothetical future where Tarou dies.)
  • {{Tarou ga shinu} koto ni} natta
    太郎が死ぬことになった
    Things have turned out so that {{Tarou will die (in the future)}}. (Tarou hasn't died it, but it's been settled that he will.)
  • Tarou ga shinda
    太郎が死んだ
    Tarou died. (in the past.)
  • {{Tarou ga shinda} koto ni} naru
    太郎が死んだことになる
    Things will turn out so (in the future) that {{Tarou will have died (in the past)}}. (we assume Tarou is currently alive, but if what you say is true, then the facts would be that he has died already.)
  • {{Tarou ga shinda} koto ni} natta
    太郎が死んだことになった
    Things have turned out so (in the past) that {{Tarou died (in the past)}}. (it's been decided that Tarou died, i.e. that might not be what actually happened, but that's the story that we'll be telling everybody.)
なさけないやつだ・・・・・・ まさかあのカカロットあいてにこのオレがわざわざ動くことになるとはな・・・・・・
Manga: Dragon Ball, ドラゴンボール (Chapter 226, 界王拳の謎)

~ni shite ~にして - Meaning in Japanese

In Japanese, ~ni shiteにして (the te-form of ~ni suru ~にする), sometimes has meanings similar to de, such as "to be X and [Y];" "that said" conjunction at start of sentences; and, in the ~ni shite-iru ~にしている form, "to stay being X," besides the typical meanings you'd expect from the te-form of ~ni suru.

  • {saigo ni} shite saikyou no teki
    最後にして最強の敵
    The {strongest} and last enemy.
    The enemy that is both {the strongest} and the last one.
  • saigo de saikyou no teki
    最後最強の敵
    (same meaning.)
  • sore ni shite mo
    それにして
    That said. Even considering that. Regardless.
  • sore demo
    それ
    Despite that. Even if that's true. Regardless.
  • ii ko ni shite-iru
    いい子にしている
    To be being a good kid. (deliberately.)
  • ii ko de iru
    いい子いる
    To be being a good kid.
魔王 悪魔の支配者にしてすべてを牛耳る悪魔の王
Manga: Mairimashita! Iruma-kun 魔入りました!入間くん (Chapter 5, 問題児アブノマールクラス)
Wednesday, April 6, 2022

~ni suru ~にする - Meaning in Japanese

In Japanese, ~ni suru ~にする (ni に adverbial copula plus suru する) means various things: it means "to make X be Y" or "to make X become Y;" "to treat X as if it were Y" or "to use X as an Y;" "to choose X" when there are multiple choices, e.g. X, Y or Z; to use a body part, e.g. "(with eyes) to see;" in the pattern ~you ni suru ~ようにする it may mean "to make it so that X does/can do Y;" in the pattern ~koto ni suru ~ことにする it may mean "to decide to do X" or "to pretend X is true;" in the pattern ~ni shite ~にして it may mean "to be X and also Y."

  • Tarou ga Hanako wo {yome ni} suru
    太郎花子にする
    Tarou will make Hanako [his] bride.
  • {karee ni} suru
    カレーにする
    [I] will choose {curry}. (e.g. when deciding what to eat.)
  • hito wo {tate ni} suru
    人を盾にする
    To treat people as {shields}. (to use them as human shields.)
  • sore wo kuchi ni suru na!
    それを口にするな!
    Don't use [your] mouth with that!
    Don't say that!
    Don't eat that!
  • {{barenai} you ni} shita
    バレないようにした
    [I] made [it] {so [that] {[it] won't be found}}.
    [I] hid [it] somehow. I did something to ensure it won't be found.
  • {{barasanai} koto ni} shita
    バラさないことにした
    [I] decided {{[I] won't spread [it]}}.
    I decided I won't tell everybody about the secrets that I found out.
  • {saikyou ni} shite saigo no teki
    最強にして最後の敵
    The {strongest} and last enemy.
    The enemy that is both {the strongest} and the last one.
俺 絶対この夢現実にするよ 「俺」じゃなくて「俺達」ね
Manga: Bakuman. バクマン。 (Chapter 4, 親と子)