Friday, August 4, 2017

rendaku 連濁

In Japanese, rendaku 連濁 is a change in pronunciation where the first syllable of a suffix gets a dakuten 濁点 diacritic. In other words, it changes ka, sa, ta, ha かさたは, to ga, za, da, ba がざばだ and so on.

For example: hito, "person," reduplicated becomes hitobito ひとと (人), "people." The morphemes "nose," hana はな, and "blood," chi ち, merge into hanadi はな (鼻血), "nosebleed," and kami かみ, "god," suffixed to death becomes shinigami しにみ (死神), "god of death."

Examples

For reference, a list of examples of rendaku:
  • ginga
    銀河 (not kinka)
    Galaxy.
  • mayuge
    眉毛 (not mayuke)
    Eyebrows.
  • chingin
    賃金 (not chinkin)
    Wages.
  • futago
    双子 (not futako)
    Twins.
  • deguchi
    出口 (not dekuchi)
    Exit (door)
  • hizashi
    日差し (not hisashi)
    Sunlight.
  • nanzen
    何千 (not nansen)
    Many thousands (unknown number of)
  • tejina
    手品 (not teshina)
    Trick (of magic)
  • yozora
    夜空 (not yosora)
    Night sky
  • kouzui
    洪水 (not kousui)
    Flood.
  • medatsu
    目立つ (not metatsu)
    To stand out. (attract attention)
  • hade
    派手 (not hate)
    (appearance) that attracts attention.
  • chikadika
    近々 (not chikachika)
    Soon. Close.
  • mendoukusai
    面倒くさい (not mentoukusai)
  • (sounds like it's) troublesome.
  • kanadzuchi
    金槌 (not kanatsuchi)
    Hammer.
    Slang for people who can't swim and sink like a hammer
  • kotoba
    言葉 (not kotoha)
    Word.
  • kobeya
    小部屋 (not koheya)
    Small room.
  • koibito
    恋人 (not koihito)
    Lover.
  • haiboku
    敗北 (not haihoku)
    Defeat.
  • tebukuro
    手袋 (not tefukuro)
    Gloves.

Grammar

Like other changes in pronunciation, rendaku happens when the original pronunciation is hard to pronounce, and the modification is just way easier.

It does this by changing the first consonant of the suffix to a voiced consonant. Since the kana 仮名 represent syllables, not consonants, that means changing a unvoiced "hard" syllable to a voiced "soft" syllable, which means adding a diacritic to it.
  • ka-ki-ku-ke-ko
    かきくけこ
    (unvoiced.)
    • ga-gi-gu-ge-go
      がぎぐげご
      (voiced.)
  • sa-shi-su-se-so
    さしすせそ
    (unvoiced.)
    • za-ji-zu-ze-zo
      ざじずぜぞ
      (voiced.)
  • ta-chi-tsu-te-to
    たちつてと
    (unvoiced.)
    • da-di-dzu-de-do
      だぢづでど
      (voiced.)
  • ha-hi-fu-he-ho
    はひふへほ
    (unvoiced.)
    • ba-bi-bu-be-bo
      ばびぶべぼ
      (voiced.)

半濁音化

The term rendaku 連濁 seems to technically apply only to dakuten 濁点, which creates fully voiced syllables. Another diacritic exists in Japanese: the handakuten 半濁点, which creates half-voiced, or rather, semi-voiced syllables.

When ha-hi-fu-he-ho はひふへほ become pa-pi-pu-pe-po ぱぴぷぺぽ in a way that seems like rendaku, the appropriate term is handakuonka 半濁音化 instead. Here are some examples of handakuonka:
  • kanpai
    乾杯 (not kanhai)
    Cheers! (before drinking)
  • kanpeki
    完璧 (not kanheki)
    Perfect.
  • enpitsu
    鉛筆 (not enhitsu)
    Pencil.
  • sanpo
    散歩 (not sanho)
    A walk (through the park, etc.)
  • senpuuki
    扇風機 (not senfuuki)
    Electric fan.

Sandhi

The rendaku only happens in suffixes. It only happens within one single word, at the boundary between two morphemes.
  • gomi ゴミ
    Your waifu.
    Trash.
  • hako はこ (箱)
    Box.
  • gomi-hako ごみ
    gomibako ごみこ (ゴミ箱)
    Trash-box.
    Trashcan.
  • utau うたう (歌う)
    To sing.
  • koe こえ (声)
    Voice.
  • uta-koe うた
    utagoe うたえ (歌声)
    Singing voice.

It also happens with numbers:
  • san さん (三)
    Three.
  • sen せん (千)
    Thousand.
  • san-sen さん
    sanzen さんん (三千)
    Three thousand.

In particular, this is very common with counters that start with h, specially suffixed to the number three, one thousand, or the interrogative prefix nan~ 何~.
  • ~hon ~ほん (~本)
    Counter for long cylindrical objects.
  • san-hon さん
    sanbon さんん (三本)
    Three long cylindrical objects.
    Three [pencils]. Three [fingers]. (etc.)
  • ~hiki ~ひき (~匹)
    Counter for small animals.
  • san-hiki さん
    sanbiki さんき (三匹)
    Three small animals.
  • sen-hiki せん
    senbiki せんき (千匹)
    One thousand small animals.
  • nan-hiki なん
    nanbiki なんき (何匹)
    How many small animals?

It's also pretty common in reduplicated words:
  • toki とき (時)
    Time.
  • toki-toki とき
    tokidoki ときき (時々)
    Sometimes.
  • hi ひ (日)
    Day.
  • hi-hi
    hibi (日々)
    Daily. Every day.
  • tokoro ところ (所)
    Place.
  • tokoro-tokoro ところころ
    tokorodokoro ところころ (所々)
    Here and there. At various places.

Although it doesn't happen in modern Japanese, historically, it was possible to use the wa は particle on the wo を particle, creating woba をば, in which the wa は particle is affected by rendaku.

Exceptions

There are various cases where rendaku doesn't happen.

Across Words

When you have two separate words in a sentence, rendaku doesn't happen.
  • te-kami
    tegamiみ (手紙)
    "Hand-paper."
    Letter. (as in correspondence, not as in the alphabet.)
  • hasami wo tsukatte kami wo kiru
    ハサミを使って紙を切る
    Using scissors, cut the paper.

Above, te-kami becomes tegami when it's a single word, but stays te-kami when it's two separate words.

In other words: rendaku never happens in the first syllables of a word, it always happens in the middle of a word.

Note, however, that compound verbs and compound adjectives may suffer rendaku:
  • kiru
    着る
    To wear.
  • kaeru
    替える
    To replace.
  • ki-kaeruえる
    kigaeruえる (着替える)
    To change clothes.
  • aoi
    青い
    Blue.
  • shiroi
    白い
    White.
  • ao-shiroi あおろい
    aojiroi あおろい (青白い)
    Blue-white.
    Blueish white.

You can tell they're compounds because only the stem of the first word is used before the suffix: the ~ru ~る and ~i ~い have been removed from kiru 着る and aoi 青い.

Lyman's Law

The Lyman's Law, or Raiman no Housoku ライマンの法則, states that a single morpheme can't have two voiced syllables.

Consequently, if a suffix already has one voiced syllable (1), and you changed its first, unvoiced syllable to voiced (+1), that would be against the law, because 1 + 1 = 2.

For example, kabe 壁, "wall," has be べ in it, and be べ has these weird dots on the corner, ゛, which is the dakuten diacritic, meaning it's the voiced syllable counterpart to the unvoiced syllable he へ.

Since kabe already has one voiced syllable, we can't change the unvoiced ka か to ga が, no matter what we suffix kabe かべ to.
  • ishi-kabe
    石壁
    Stone wall.
  • tsuchi-kabe
    土壁
    "Dirt wall." Mud wall.
  • ita-kabe
    板壁
    Plank wall. Wooden wall.

Although many reduplicated words feature rendaku, if the base of the reduplication already has a voiced syllable, the reduplicant won't be able to feature rendaku. For example:
  • kazu

    Number.
  • kazukazu
    数々
    Numerous.

Above, kazu かず already has a voiced zu ず, so it can't reduplicate into kazugazu かずず. It simply reduplicates into kazu and kazu again.

Note that the law states that ONE single morpheme can't have two voiced syllables. When you suffix one morpheme to another morpheme, you have TWO morphemes.

It doesn't matter if the first morpheme has a voiced syllable or not, when deciding if we're allowed to add a voiced syllable to the second morpheme. For example:
  • kabe-kami かべ
    kabegami かべみ (壁髪)
    Wallpaper.
  • nagai ながい (長い)
    Long.
  • hanashi はなし (話)
    Talk.
  • naga-hanashi ながなし
    nagabanashi ながなし (長話)
    Long talk.

Above, even thought the first morpheme naga なが already has a voiced ga が, the ha は of the second morpheme hanashi はなし was voiced into ba ば. Since they're separate morphemes, this is totally legal.

Similarly, rendaku can happen twice in a single word, in two separate suffixes.
  • san-sen-hiki さんせん
    sanzenbiki さんき (三千匹)
    Three thousand small animals.

Rendaku & Lyman's Law: when is diacritic OK: 入口, 風車, when it's not OK: 道筋, 長袖.

Do note, though, that most people really don't care about such complex laws. They just memorize the words and that's it.

Basically, as you're learning words, if you see a morpheme that gets rendaku in one word, you can safely assume it's gonna get rendaku in other words, too. By contrast, if you see a morpheme that never gets rendaku, it's probably safe to assume it's never going to get rendaku.

For example, ~sha ~者, "person," in yuusha 勇者, "hero," untensha 運転者, "driver," higaisha 被害者, "victim," and so on, never gets rendaku, so it's probably never going to get rendaku at all.

And then you realize there's ninja 忍者, there's kanja 患者, "patient," there's kenja 賢者, "wise man," shinja 信者, "believer," there's even aneja 姉者, "older sister," and it turns out that morpheme actually does get rendaku after all.

Anyway, the point is that even a morpheme that CAN get rendaku according the Lyman's Law DOES NOT, necessarily, get rendaku all the time. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.

You can't reliably guess when it will happen, and when it won't, so you might as well just learn the words instead, and not really on linguistics to tell how to read kanji..

Parallel Morphemes

Words composed of free morphemes that express opposite meanings don't seem to get rendaku. For example:
  • oyako
    親子
    Parent-child.
    Parent and child.
  • ueshita
    上下
    Up-down.
    Up and down.

This only happens because each morpheme is a stand-alone word: oya 親 means "parent," ko 子 means "child," ue 上 means "up," shita 下 means "down."

Coincidentally, these are all kun'yomi 訓読み readings, associated to native Japanese words. With on'yomi 音読み readings the same is unlikely to happen since such readings are loaned from the Chinese language, so the reading may not be a stand-alone word in Japanese. For example:
  • tou-sai とう
    touzai とうい (東西)
    East-west.
    East and west.
    • Neither tou 東 nor sai 西 are Japanese words, but the kun'yomi readings of those kanji are:
    • higashi

      East.
    • nishi
      西
      West.

Mimetic Words

Many mimetic words feature reduplication, however, none of them feature rendaku.(角岡, 2004:20)

This happens because of the peculiar nature of ideophones, in that they're sounds that mimic ideas.

Reduplication in ideophones serves the purpose of giving a sense of continuity to the word by saying the same thing twice. Since this hinges on making EXACTLY the same sound twice, it doesn't make any sense for it to be affected by changes in pronunciation like rendaku.
  • kirakira
    キラキラ
    *sparkles*
  • fuwafuwa
    ふわふわ
    *fluffy*

This happens, specially, with some extremely hard to pronounce words.
  • katsukatsu
    かつかつ
    *clacking*
  • kachikachi
    かちかち
    *clinking*
  • kasakasa
    かさかさ
    *rustling*
  • kasukasu
    かすかす
    *drying*

Note that some words that appear to be mimetic actually have non-mimetic origins, and consequently suffer rendaku.

For example:(角岡, 2004:21)
  • honobono
    ほのぼの
    Faintly.
  • honoka
    ほのか
    Faint.

References

6 comments:

Leave your komento コメント in this posuto ポスト of this burogu ブログ with your questions about Japanese, doubts or whatever!

Comments containing spam, links to illegal websites, or deemed inappropriate will be removed.

  1. Hold up a second... You said that the suffix sha 者 can never become ja 者 . However this is clearly false because the word ninja 忍者 exists.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...

      You are right.

      In fact, come to think of it there are dozens of words that end in ja 者.

      Delete
  2. You actually made another mistake while correcting the one about 者. "shin 信 of shinjitsu 真実", you typed the wrong "shin" kanji it seems. 信 instead of 真 

    ReplyDelete
  3. In the examples of rendaku section, shouldn't the romaji of 賃金 be chingin, not tingin?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you're right. There's no difference between "chi" and "ti" in romaji, so sometimes I accidentally use one instead of the other. They're supposed to be all "chi," though, style-wise.

      Delete