Monday, July 15, 2019

Contractions

WIP: this article is incomplete and might change in the unforeseeable future.
Just like how in English "I am" is contracted to "I'm," "is not" to "isn't," "will not" to "won't," and "don't know" to "dunno," Japanese has contractions, too. For reference, in this article I'll list the Japanese contractions.

Types

Not all contractions are the same. According to some people, not all contractions are even contractions.

The main distinction that's made is that: a contraction is formally recognized, it's in the dictionary, you use it in writing, while simply slurring syllables together because you're speaking too fast wouldn't be a contraction, it'd be called relaxed pronunciation, instead.

Thus, "don't" is a contraction of "do not," it's formally recognized, you can use it while writing a thesis, but "dunno" is informal, and a relaxed pronunciation of "don't know" instead.

In Japanese, things get a little more complicated.

To begin with, we have these two terms:
  • kaki-kotoba
    書き言葉
    "Writing words."
    Written speech.
  • hanashi-kotoba
    話し言葉,
    "Talking words."
    Spoken speech.

And so you'd think: wow, that's perfect, that means contractions in kaki-kotoba are actual contractions, and the ones in hanashi-kotoba aren't contractions but relaxed pronunciation.

Yeah, well, no.

You don't use contractions, of practically any sort, in kaki-kotoba. That's because that's not the term for what you write on Twitter or LINE, that's the term for business e-mails and serious, formal stuff like that.

So you only find contractions in hanashi-kotoba, as people actively avoid them in kaki-kotoba.

Fortunately, the text written in speech balloons in manga counts as hanashi-kotoba, since that's the text the character is speaking, and will properly orthographically match their slurred, contracted speech. So this article won't be completely useless, after all.

Again, not all contractions are the same. In the contractions used in hanashi-kotoba, there are those that are more standard and those that are less standard.
  • hyoujungo
    標準語
    Standard language.
    • The language supposedly understood by the entire country. In particular, a lot of people live in Tokyo. Some words spoken in Tokyo won't be understood by people who live in Kansai, for example. Something understood in both Tokyo and Kansai may end up not being understood somewhere else, and so on.
  • kudaketa ii-kata
    砕だけた言い方
    Informal way-of-saying.
    • kudakeru 砕ける
      To be broken. (e.g. a diamond is "unbreakable:" kudakenai)
  • namatta
    訛った
    Corrupted. Slurred.

In practice, the difference between normal contractions and less normal, more slurred contractions can be seen in the background of anime characters that use them.

Generally, characters that often use slurred speech imply they aren't tidy, neat, eloquent, A-grade students. They're delinquents, they're gang members, they're gyaru ギャル. They're youngsters that always speak like they've got bubble gums inside their mouths.

By contrast, characters from rich backgrounds, a.k.a. ojousama お嬢様 and bocchan 坊っちゃん characters, tend to speak more eloquently and avoid slurred speech. And then you have their butlers who speak in kaki-kotoba without using contractions at all.

Similarly, if a character wear glasses, they probably speak eloquently, too.

These are just examples of the stereotypes associated with contractions. A character that normally speaks normally can end up slurring words if they're angry, for example. Not everyone that speaks in contraction looks like they'll fail calculus and join a gang, etc.

Furthermore, some contractions are associated more with one type of character than with another. For example, say there are two girls in an average cute girls doing cute things anime: one says sun'na.すんな, the other says nakucha なくちゃ. Chances are the second one is cuter than the first one.

The basic rule is that the more contracted a word is, the more slurred it is, the more informal it is, so the less common it is.

For example, there are various contractions that result in n'na んな or n'no んの. These are more slurred, so they're more informal.

By contrast, nakucha なくちゃ, from nakutewa なくては, is less slurred, so it's less informal, while still being quite informal. Since nakya なきゃ, from nakereba なければ, seems more contracted, we can assume it's more informal than nakucha.

Contractions which "leave out" or "remove" a syllable are called something nuki 抜き. These are quite common, some more common than others.
  • i-nuki
    い抜き
    • ている to てる
    • でいる to でる
    • ていく to てく
    • でいく to でく
  • o-nuki
    お抜き
    • ておく to てく
    • でおく to でく
  • ra-nuki
    ら抜き
    • 食べられる to 食べれる

The phrase teoku ておく can be contracted to toku とく. Again, since this is more contracted than just teku, we can assume it's more informal.

It's very common to contract no-da の into n-da ん and so on. So this is one of the more standard contractions.

Similarly, it's extremely common to contract dewanai ではない into janai じゃない. So this is about as standard as contractions can go in Japanese.

ている to てる

Perhaps the most common and most confusing contraction happens when the te-iru ている form is contracted to just te-ru てる. Observe:
  • miru
    見る
    To see.
  • miteiru
    ている
    To be seeing.
  • miteru
    てる
    (same meaning.)

The reason for the confusion is that it looks like miteru is a verb on its own, rather than the te-iru form of the verb miru. After all, there's not even an "iru" in miteru, how could it be the te-iru form?

The fact there's a bunch of verbs of similar length doesn't help.
  • miseru
    見せる
    To make someone see.
    To show.
  • mieru
    見える
    To be seen. To be visible.
  • miteru
    見てる
    (is this a verb on its own???)

Alternatively, this te-ru contraction can be misinterpreted as an auxiliary verb.
  • taberu
    食べる
    To eat.
  • tabe-kiru
    食べ切る
    To eat completely.
    • kiru 切る
      To cut. (verb.)
      To do completely. (auxiliary verb.)
  • tabe-teru (?)
    食べてる
    To eat (??)
    • teru てる
      (auxiliary verb???)
    • Nope. It's actually:
    • tabete-iru
      食べている
      To be eating.

でいる to でる

Verbs whose te-forms end in de で, forming de-iru でいる, contract to deru でる.
  • yondeiru
    読んでいる
    To be reading.
  • yonderu
    読んでる
    (same meaning.)

ていく to てく

A verb in te-form plus the auxiliary iku いく, forming te-iku ていく, contracts to teku てく in similar fashion.
  • kawatte-iku
    変わっていく
    To go on changing.
    To keep changing.
  • kawatteku
    変わってく
    (same meaning.)

でいく to でく

Verbs whose te-forms end in de で, forming de-iku でいく, contract to deku でく.
  • manande-iku
    学んでいく
    To go on learning.
  • manandeku
    学んでく
    (same meaning.)

ておく to てく

A verb in te-form plus oku おく, forming te-oku ておく, also contracts to teku てく.
  • kaite-oku
    書いておく
    To leave written.
  • kaiteku
    書いてく
    (same meaning.)

でおく to でく

Verbs whose te-forms end in de で, forming de-oku でおく, also contract to deku でく.
  • yonde-oku
    読んでおく
    To leave read.
  • yonde-ku
    読んでく
    (same meaning.)

Naturally, in both cases this contraction is ambiguous with the te-iku, de-iku contraction.

ておく to とく

The te-oku ておく form can also be contracted to toku っとく.
  • oboete-oku
    覚えておく
    To leave remembered.
    [I'll] remember [it].
  • oboetoku
    覚えとく
    (same meaning.)

でおく to どく

If it's de-oku でおく, it contracts to doku どく instead.
  • yonde-oku
    読んでおく
    To leave read.
  • yondoku
    読んどく
    (same meaning.)

ておけ to とけ

The conjugation te-oke ておけ can also be contracted: toke とけ. Notably:
  • obote-oke!
    覚えておけ
    Remember [it]!
    • Phrase used after a character who was defeated menacingly runs away while swearing revenge.
  • oboetoke!
    覚えとけ
    (same meaning.)

でおけ to どけ

And de-oke でおけ contract to doke どけ.
  • yonde-oke
    読んでおけ
    Read [it].
  • yondoke
    読んどけ
    (same meaning.)

られる to れる

A potential form of ichidan 一段 verbs end in rareru られる, but sometimes this is contracted to reru れる, skipping the ra ら. For example:
  • taberareru
    食べられる
    Able to eat.
  • tabereru
    食べれる
    (same meaning.)

The same thing happens in the negative potential and in the past potential:
  • taberarenai
    食べられない
    Not able to eat.
  • taberenai
    食べれない
    (same meaning.)

Note that, for ichidan verbs, the potential form (rareru) and the passive form (rareru) are identical. However, only the potential form can be abbreviated to reru. In other words, reru is never the passive form.
  • kore ga taberareru
    これが食べられる
    This is eat-able. (potential form.)
    This is edible.
  • kore ga tabereru
    これが食べれる
    (same meaning.)
  • ookami ni taberareru
    狼に食べられる
    To be eaten by a wolf. (passive form.)
  • *ookami ni tabereru
    狼に食べれる
    (wrong!)

The reason for this phenomenon is that godan 五段 verbs conjugate to the potential form as -eru, and to the passive form as -areru.
  • noru
    乗る
    To ride.
  • noreru
    乗れる
    To be able to ride.
  • norareru
    乗られる
    To be ridden by.

Above, we have a godan verb ending in -ru. Indeed, it's hard to tell the difference between a godan verb that ends in -ru and an ichidan verb, which also ends in -ru, but is conjugated differently.

So this ra dropping is thought to stem from conjugating ichidan verbs as if they were godan verbs.[ら抜き言葉 - 大辞林 第三版 via kotobank.jp, accessed 2019-07-15]

の to ん

An extremely common contraction is the no の particle becoming the n ん particle. This usually happens when it's used as a nominalizer at the end of sentences. For example:
  • nigeru no da
    逃げる
    [We'll] run away.
  • nigeru-n-da
    逃げる
    (same meaning.)
  • kawaii no da
    可愛い
    It's cute.
  • kawaii-n-da
    可愛い
    (same meaning.)

This contraction can happen any time a no の particle can show up.

In particular, when the no の is qualified by a relative clause ending in a copula like da だ, the copula becomes attributive, turning into the so-called na な particle.
  • kirei da
    綺麗
    It is pretty.
  • {kirei} na hito
    綺麗
    A person [that] {is pretty.}
    A pretty person.
  • {kirei} na no da
    綺麗なの
    It is pretty. (nuanced usage.)
  • kirei na-n-da
    綺麗なん
    (same meaning.)

This nanda なんだ is a compound formed by the na な attributive copula, the no の nominalizer, and the da だ predicative copula. It's not to be confused with nanda 何だ, which is nani 何 plus the predicative copula.
  • kore wa nanda?!
    これはなんだ?!
    This: what is?!
    What is this?!

A contraction also happens with the de で particle.
  • {kirei} na no de bikkuri shita
    綺麗なのびっくりした
    Because it {is pretty}, [I] felt surprised.
    • no de ので
      Because. (secondary meaning.)
    • bikkuri びっくり
      *surprise* (mimetic word.)
  • {kirei} na-n-de bikuri shita
    綺麗なんでびっくりした
    (same meaning.)

Similarly, this isn't to be confused with nande 何で.
  • nande da yo?!
    なんでだよ?!
    Why?!

All contractions can also happen with the polite copula desu です.
  • nigeru no desu 逃げるです
    nigeru-n-desu 逃げるです
  • kawaii no desu 可愛いです
    kawaii-n-desu 可愛いです
  • kirei na no desu 綺麗なです
    kirei na-n-desu 綺麗なです

Although this contraction is normally used with the nominalizer function, it can show up in other functions, too.

Notably, ~no-uchi家, means "the home of" someone. It's supposed to make something in a no-adjective, and it's often abbreviated to ~n-chiち.
  • ore no uchi

    The home of I.
    My home.
  • ore-n-chi

    (same meaning.)

るの to んの

A verb that ends in ru る plus no の can get contracted to n-no んの. For example:
  • yaru no ka?
    やるのか?
    Will [you] do [it]?
    • Often, "it" means a brawl. Fighting. So it's asking if someone wants to fight.
  • yan'no ka?
    んのか?
    (same meaning.)

ているの to てん

The te-iru form plus no の can get contracted to just ten てん. For example:
  • nani wo shiteiru no da?
    何をしているのだ?
    What are [you] doing?
  • nani shite-n-da?
    何してんだ?
    (same meaning.)

るな to んな

A verb ending in ru る plus the na な particle can get contracted to n-na んな.
  • ki ni suru na
    気にするな
    Don't mind it.
  • ki ni sun'na
    気にすんな
    (same meaning.)
  • koko ni kuru na
    ここに来るな
    Don't come here.
  • koko ni kun'na
    ここに来んな
    (same meaning.)

らない to んない

Similarly, ranai らない can contract to n'nai んない.
  • wakaranai
    分かない
    [I] don't know.
  • wakan'nai
    分かない
    (same meaning.)

では to じゃ

The casual negative copula janai じゃない is a contraction of the more literary dewa nai ではない.
  • baka janai no?
    馬鹿じゃないの?
    Aren't [you] stupid?
  • baka dewa nai no?
    馬鹿ではないの?
    (same meaning.)

Although that's the most common case of this contraction, it can also show up in any other situation where dewa では can show up.
  • kore dewa dame da
    これではダメだ
    With this, it's no-good.
    • dame ダメ
      No good. (among dozens of other meanings.)
  • kore ja dame da
    これじゃダメだ
    (same meaning.)
  • dewa, hajimeyou
    では、始めよう
    Then, let's start.
  • ja, hajimeyou
    じゃ、始めよう
    (same meaning.)

Fun fact: in de-wa では, de で is the te-form of the da だ copula, and wa は is the wa は particle.

In verbs whose te-forms end in de で, when they come before wa は, it can be contracted to ja じゃ, too.
  • yonde wa iru kedo...
    読んではいるけど・・・
    Reading: [he] is, but...
    [He] is reading, but...
  • yonja iru kedo...
    読んじゃいるけど・・・
    (same meaning.)
  • shinde wa dame!
    死んではダメ!
    Dying: no good!
    Don't die! (that would be bad!)
  • shinja dame!
    死んじゃダメ!
    (same meaning.)

では to じゃあ

An alternative contraction for dewa では is jaa じゃあ. They're practically the same thing. The only difference is that janai じゃない is more normal than jaanai じゃあない.
  • baka jaanai no?
    馬鹿じゃあないの?
    (this is unusual. Who are you? Roswaal?)
  • kore jaa dame da
    これじゃあダメだ
    (this is fine.)
  • jaa, hajimeyou
    じゃあ、始めよう
    (this is fine, too.)
  • yonjaa iru kedo...
    読んじゃあいるけど・・・
    (yep.)
  • shinjaa dame!
    死んじゃあダメ!
    (also yep.)

ては to ちゃ

When the te-form of a verb comes before the wa は particle, forming ~te-wa ~ては, it can be contracted to ~cha ~ちゃ.
  • mite wa iru
    てはいる
    Seeing, [he] is.
  • micha iru
    ちゃいる
    (same meaning.)
  • mite wa dame!
    てはダメ!
    Seeing: no good.
    Don't look.
  • micha dame!
    ちゃダメ!
    (same meaning.)

This is often seen with the combinations ~cha dame ~ちゃダメ, ~cha ikenai ~ちゃいけない, ~cha naranai ~ちゃならない, which pretty much all mean the same thing.
  • hito wo koroshite wa ikenai
    人を殺してはいけない
    Killing people: can't go.
    Don't kill people.
  • hito wo koroshicha ikenai
    人を殺しちゃいけない
    (same meaning.)
  • Note: naranai ならない, "can't be," tends to be used by more serious characters in more serious reprimands, so you're unlikely to see a character that says naranai and uses a contraction like cha at the same time.

The verb is also often in the negative form, so you have nakute wa なくては contracted to nakucha なくちゃ.
  • ganbaranakute wa!
    頑張らなくては
    If [I] don't work hard... [it's no good]!
    • I gotta work hard!
  • ganbaranakucha!
    頑張らなくちゃ
    (same meaning.)

れば to りゃ

A verb ending in ru る in its the ba ば form ends in ~reba ~れば, which contracts to ~rya ~りゃ.
  • nigereba ii-n-da
    逃げればいいんだ
    If run away: it's good.
    It's better if [you] run away.
    [You] should run away.
  • nigerya ii-n-da
    逃げりゃいいんだ
    (same meaning.)

ければ to けりゃ

Similarly, an i-adjective in ba ば form ends in ~kereba ~ければ, which contracts to ~kerya ~けりゃ.
  • kawaikereba ii-n-da
    可愛ければいいんだ
    If [it's] cute [it's] good.
    [It's] good so long [it's] cute.
  • kawaikerya ii-n-da
    可愛けりゃいいんだ
    (same meaning.)

ければ to きゃ

Furthermore, ~kereba ~ければ can also contract to ~kya ~きゃ.
  • kawaikya ii-n-da
    可愛きゃいいんだ
    (still same meaning.)

てしまう to ちゃう

A verb in te-form followed by the auxiliary shimau しまう, forming te-shimau てしまう, can be contracted to chau ちゃう.
  • owatte-shimau!
    終わってしまう!
    It'll end up ending!
    It's going to end! (oh no!)
  • owacchau!
    終わっちゃう!

The suru する verb is sometimes it's contracted to shicchauちゃう instead.
  • taigaku shite-shimau
    退学してしま
    [He'll] end up dropping out of school. (oh no!)
  • taigaku shichau
    退学しちゃ
    (same meaning.)
  • taigaku shicchau
    退学しっちゃ
    (same meaning.)

てしまった to ちゃった

The contracted form can even be inflected.
  • koroshite-shimatta
    殺してしまった
    [I] killed [someone]. (oh kamisama, what have I done?!)
  • koroshichatta
    殺しちゃった
    [I] killed [someone]. (oopsie! Teehee!)

Although the meaning is always the same, characters that use contracted forms all the time in anime tend to be the cutesy ones.

でしまう to じゃう

When the te-form of the verb ends in de で, forming de-shimau でしまう, it's contracted to jau じゃう.
  • shinde-shimau!
    死んでしまう!
    [He'll] end up dying! (oh no!)
  • shinjau!
    死んじゃう!
    (same meaning.)

でしまった to じゃった

Similarly, in the past form de-shimatta でしまった becomes jatta じゃった.
  • yonde-shimatta
    読んでしまった
    [I] ended up reading [it]. (oh no.)
  • yonjatta
    読んじゃった
    (same meaning.)

れは to りゃ

The kosoado pronouns kore, sore, are, dore これ, それ, あれ, どれ, when coming after the wa は particle, can be contracted, too, in the following ways:
  • kore wa これは
    korya こりゃ
  • sore wa そりゃ
    sorya そりゃ
  • are wa あれは
    arya ありゃ
  • dore wa どりゃ
    dorya どりゃ

One example:
  • sore wa sugoi
    れはすごい
    That is amazing.
  • sorya sugoi
    りゃすごい
    (same meaning.)
  • nanda kore wa!
    何だこれは
    What is this?!
  • nanda korya!
    何だこりゃ
    (same meaning.)

ない to ん

The negative suffix nai ない is sometimes contracted to just n ん. For example:
  • shiranai
    知らない
    [I] don't know.
  • shiran
    知ら
    [I] dunno.
  • wakaranai
    分からない
    [I] don't know. (in a different way.)
  • warakan
    分から
    [I] dunno.

This commonly appears in questions in the negative that aren't actually questions, but just the speaker asserting their opinion and seeking agreement. For example:
  • kawaii janai!
    可愛いじゃない
    It's cute, isn't it!
    It's cute, don't you think!
    It's cute, don't you agree!
  • kawaii jan!
    可愛いじゃ
    (same meaning.)

という to っつ

The suffix ttsu っつ, often seen as ttsu no っつの and ttsu ka っつか, is a contraction of tte iu っていう or to iu という.
  • muri to iu no
    無理という
    "Impossible" is [what] [I'm] saying.
    It's impossible, is what I'm telling you.
  • muri tte iu no
    無理っていう
    (same meaning.)
  • muri ttsu no
    無理っつ
    (same meaning.)
  • kawaii to iu ka, kirei to iu ka
    可愛いというか、綺麗という
    [I'm] saying [it's] cute, [I'm] saying [it's] pretty.
    It's cute, I mean, it's pretty. (stumbling to find words.)
  • kawaii tte iu ka, kirei tte iu ka
    可愛いっていうか、綺麗っていう
    (same meaning.)
  • kawaii ttsu ka, kirei ttsu ka
    可愛いっつか、綺麗っつ
    (same meaning.)

といった to っつった

The past conjugation to-itta といった can be contracted to ttsu-ttaっつった.
  • dakara yamero to itta darou
    だからやめろといっただろう
    Because [of that]: "stop" is [what] [I] said, didn't I?
    [That's] why [I] told [you] to stop, didn't I?
  • dakara yamero ttsu-tta daro
    だからやめろっつっただろ
    (same meaning.)

といって to っつって

Similarly, the te-form to-itte といって gets contracted to ttsu-tte っつって. To make matters worse, since te-iru no ているの can get contracted to te-n てん, you can get this monstrosity:
  • matte to itte iru no da
    待ってといっているの
    "Wait" is what [I'm] saying.
    [I'm] telling [you] "to wait."
  • matte ttsu-tte-n-da
    待ってっつってん
    (same meaning.)

い Adjectives

The i-adjectives can be contracted in some very confusing ways.

aい to e

An i-adjective ending in ~aiaい can be contracted to ~eeeぇ. For example:
  • takai

    High.
    Expensive.
  • takee

    (same meaning.)
  • kowai

    Scary.
  • kowee

    (same meaning.)

This is particularly tricky because even the stem of the adjective is contracted. To elaborate:
  • takai
    高い(たかい)
  • takee
    高ぇ(たぇ)

Normally, a change in the okurigana can change the reading of the kanji, but those readings can be found in a dictionary. With contractions, a small kana like the small e ぇ at the end of the word changes the reading in a way that can't even be found in a dictionary.

A word that often receives this contraction is nai ない.
  • kowakunai
    怖くない
    Not scary.
  • kowakunee
    怖くねぇ
    (same meaning)

Variants include:
  • kowakunee
    怖くねえ
    (same meaning, no small kana.)
  • kowakunee
    怖くねー
    (same meaning)
  • kowakune
    怖く
    (same meaning, but shorter.)

In particular, the last variant can be mistaken for the nesentence-ending particle.

Some contractions are even more complicated than you'd expect:
  • kowai
    (こわい
    Scary.
  • koee
    (こえぇ

Above, wa わ turned into e え. It didn't turn into we ゑ because we ゑ is an archaic kana.

oい to えぇ

Adjectives that end in ~oi ~oい can contract to ~ee ~えぇ. For example:
  • tsuyoi
    (つよい
    Strong.
  • tsuee
    (つえぇ
    (same meaning.)

The word ee ええ, "good," might be some sort of contraction of yoi よい. I'm not sure.
  • kore de yoi
    これでよい
    With this, it's good.
  • kore de ee
    これでええ
    (same meaning.)

Not to be confused with the ee ええ that's used in agreement, "yes."

~uい to いぃ

Adjectives that end in ~uiuい can contract to ~iiiぃ.
  • warui
    (わるい
    Bad.
    [My] bad. Sorry.
  • warii
    (わりぃ
    (same meaning.)
  • samui
    (さむい
    Cold.
  • samii
    (さみぃ
    (same meaning.)

です to っす

The polite copula desu です can be contracted to ssu っす. This creates an odd situation where a character is using polite speech, but they aren't polite enough to speak without contracting words.

In anime, delinquents or gang members speaking to their senpai 先輩, aniki 兄貴, boss, or whatever, use -ssu. That's because such characters generally speak in a contracted, casual way, but even in gangs you're supposed to use keigo 敬語, "respectful speech," toward your seniors and superiors.

Of course, that's not always the case. It could be that the character simply speaks that way, without being a delinquent or anything. In fact, he could even work an office job, like being a detective in the police force, and use ssu. There's nothing special about it.
  • ore wa Tanaka desu
    俺は田中です
    I'm Tanaka.
  • ore, Tanaka-ssu
    俺 田中っす
    (same meaning.)
  • yabai desu ne
    やばいです
    [That's] dangerous, isn't it?
  • yabai-ssu ne
    やばいっす
    (same meaning.)
  • sou desu ne
    そうです
    Yes, that's so.
  • sou-ssu ne
    そうっす
    (same meaning.)

This contraction combines with the n ん contraction.
  • kirei na no desu
    綺麗なのです
    It's pretty.
    • This is a gentleman talking.
  • kirei na-n-ssu
    綺麗なんっす
    (same meaning.)
    • This is not a gentleman talking.

でしょ to っしょ

Similarly, desho でしょ can be contracted to ssho っしょ.
  • kawaii desho?
    可愛いでしょ
    It's cute, isn't it?
  • kawaii ssho?
    可愛いっしょ
    (same meaning.)

ます to っす

The suffix masu ます can't be contracted to ssu っす. However, ssu っす can be used as a sorta polite suffix that attaches to verbs.

The reason for this not being a contraction is because masu attaches to the ren'youkei 連用形 form of verbs (the so-called "masu stem"), but ssu attaches to the shuushikei 終止形 form (the predicative form). Observe:
  • iku
    To go. (shuushikei.)
  • iki
    Going. (ren'youkei.)
  • iki-masuます
    To go. (polite form.)
  • iku-ssuっす
    To go. (sorta polite thing, I guess.)

So this isn't a contraction of masu.

Probably, what happened is that people started using ssu instead of desu. But if you use desu, you're supposed to use masu too. So they just started using ssu instead of masu, too.

Thus, if a character uses ssu instead of desu, he's probably going to use ssu instead of masu, too.

ぬ to ん

The suffix -nu ~ぬ contracts to n ん. Although this suffix is often negative like nai ない, it's not always negative. Notably:
  • keshikaru
    怪しかる
    Unknown. Weird.
  • keshikaranu
    怪しから
    Immoral.
  • keshikaran
    怪しから
    (same meaning.)
    • In anime, keshikaran, "immoral," is often translated as "lewd," because of reasons.

は to ぁ

This is highly unusual, but the wa は particle can be contracted to a small a ぁ.
  • boku wa shiranai
    知らない
    I don't know.
  • boku a shiran
    知らん
    I dunno.

Sokuonbin and Rendaku

The sokuonbin 促音便 is a change of pronunciation that sort of contracts a word by joining two morphemes using a small tsu.
  • ichi. hatsu.
    一。発。(いちはつ)
    One. Shot.
  • ippatsu
    一発(いっぱつ)
    One shot.

This is a formally recognized contraction, found in dictionaries, used in kaki-kotoba and so on. It's featured in lots of words in Japanese.
  • gaku, kou 学, 校(がくこう)
    gakkou 学校 (がこう)
    School.

The sokuonbin can also happen informally, in which case a word gets pronounced with the sokuon 促音, the sound represented by the small tsu, even if in the dictionary it's spelled without the sokuon. For example:
  • sentakuki
    洗濯機(せんたくき
    Washing machine.
  • sentakki
    せんた
    (relaxed pronunciation.)

In rare cases, the change in phonetics changes the meaning. For example:
  • sou ka
    そうか
    I see.
    Is that so?
  • sokka

    I see.
    • The longer syllable in sou ka reflects the curiosity of the speaker. When it's shortened to sokka, it's less likely to be used in the curious meaning, and more likely to be used in the "I understand," "I see," "I get it," comprehension meaning.

A similar pronunciation change, but that doesn't contract, is the rendaku 連濁.
  • kin. ha.
    金。歯。(きんは
    Gold. Tooth.
  • kinba
    金歯(きん
    Gold tooth. Golden tooth.

The te-form of many verbs is actually a sokuonbin contraction of the ren'youkei form plus a te て helper:
  • taberu 食べる
    To eat.
    • tabe 食べ
      Eating. (ren'youkei.)
    • tabe-te 食べて
      To eat and... (te-form.)
  • iku 行く
    To go.
    • iki 行き
      Going. (ren'youkei.)
    • iki-teきて
      itteって
      To go and.. (te-form.)
  • shiru 知る
    To know.
    • shiri 知り
      Knowing.
    • shiri-teりて
      shitte
      To know and...

The te-form of verbs that end in n-de んで is actually a contraction affected by both sokuonbin and rendaku.
  • yomu 読む
    To read.
    • yomi 読み
      Reading.
    • yomi-teみて
      yondeんで
      To read and...
    • If you go by the romaji, the yomi-te would be contracted to yomte. There's no "m" kana in Japanese, though. There's only an n ん vowel.
    • Furthermore, rendaku changes yonte よん to yonde よん.
  • asobu 遊ぶ
    To have fun. To play.
    • asobi 遊び
      Having fun. Playing.
    • asobi-teびて
      asondeんで
      To have fun and...

In the same vein, the modern de で particle is actually a contraction of an older nite にて particle.
  • Geeto: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri
    GATE 自衛隊 彼の地にて、斯く戦えり
    (anime title.)
    • jieitai 自衛隊
      The "Self-Defense Force." The Japanese army.
    • kanochi 彼の地
      That land.
    • nite にて
      de
      Marks the place where an action occurred.
      In [that land].
    • Kaku Tatakaeri 斯く戦えり
      Such way fought. So fought. Fought like this.
    • "The Self-Defense Force, in that land, so fought."

Slangs

Some slangs contain contractions. For example:
  • kon'nichi wa desu
    こんにです
    Good day. (greeting.)
    • chiissu
      ちーっす
      (same meaning.)
  • arigatou gozaimasu
    りがとうごます
    Thank you.
    • azassu
      あざっす
      (same meaning.)
    • azaasu
      あざーす
      (same meaning.)
  • sumimasen
    ません
    Sorry.
    • saasen
      さーせん
      (same meaning.)
  • hanpa nai
    半端ない
    Not half-heart.
    Serious. For real.
    • hanpa nee
      はなぱねぇ
      (same meaning.)
    • panee
      パネェ
      (still same meaning.)

Other Contractions

Some other contractions you may find around:
  • sumimasen
    すみません
    Sorry.
  • suimasen
    ません
    (same meaning.)

And, of course:
  • de arimasu
    であり
    Is. Are. To be.
  • de arinsu
    であり
    (same meaning.)

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