And kanji with manga
Monday, July 15, 2019


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.


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
    "Writing words."
    Written speech.
  • hanashi-kotoba
    "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
    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
    Informal way-of-saying.
    • kudakeru 砕ける
      To be broken. (e.g. a diamond is "unbreakable:" kudakenai)
  • namatta
    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
    • 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
    • ておく to てく
    • でおく to でく
  • ra-nuki
    • 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
    To see.
  • miteiru
    To be seeing.
  • miteru
    (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
    To make someone see.
    To show.
  • mieru
    To be seen. To be visible.
  • miteru
    (is this a verb on its own???)

Alternatively, this te-ru contraction can be misinterpreted as an auxiliary verb.
  • taberu
    To eat.
  • tabe-kiru
    To eat completely.
    • kiru 切る
      To cut. (verb.)
      To do completely. (auxiliary verb.)
  • tabe-teru (?)
    To eat (??)
    • teru てる
      (auxiliary verb???)
    • Nope. It's actually:
    • tabete-iru
      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
    To be reading.
  • yonderu
    (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
    To go on changing.
    To keep changing.
  • kawatteku
    (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
    To go on learning.
  • manandeku
    (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
    To leave written.
  • kaiteku
    (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
    To leave read.
  • yonde-ku
    (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
    To leave remembered.
    [I'll] remember [it].
  • oboetoku
    (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
    To leave read.
  • yondoku
    (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!
    Remember [it]!
    • Phrase used after a character who was defeated menacingly runs away while swearing revenge.
  • oboetoke!
    (same meaning.)

でおけ to どけ

And de-oke でおけ contract to doke どけ.
  • yonde-oke
    Read [it].
  • yondoke
    (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
    Able to eat.
  • tabereru
    (same meaning.)

The same thing happens in the negative potential and in the past potential:
  • taberarenai
    Not able to eat.
  • taberenai
    (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
    This is eat-able. (potential form.)
    This is edible.
  • kore ga tabereru
    (same meaning.)
  • ookami ni taberareru
    To be eaten by a wolf. (passive form.)
  • *ookami ni tabereru

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
    To ride.
  • noreru
    To be able to ride.
  • norareru
    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, 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
    [We'll] run away.
  • nigeru-n-da
    (same meaning.)
  • kawaii no da
    It's cute.
  • kawaii-n-da
    (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
    It is pretty.
  • {kirei} na hito
    A person [that] {is pretty.}
    A pretty person.
  • {kirei} na no da
    It is pretty. (nuanced usage.)
  • kirei na-n-da
    (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?!
    This: what is?!
    What is this?!

A contraction also happens with the de で particle.
  • {kirei} na no de bikkuri shita
    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
    (same meaning.)

Similarly, this isn't to be confused with nande 何で.
  • nande da yo?!

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?
    Will [you] do [it]?
    • Often, "it" means a brawl. Fighting. So it's asking if someone wants to fight.
  • yan'no ka?
    (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?
    What are [you] doing?
  • nani shite-n-da?
    (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
    Don't mind it.
  • ki ni sun'na
    (same meaning.)
  • koko ni kuru na
    Don't come here.
  • koko ni kun'na
    (same meaning.)

らない to んない

Similarly, ranai らない can contract to n'nai んない.
  • wakaranai
    [I] don't know.
  • wakan'nai
    (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?
    Aren't [you] stupid?
  • baka dewa nai no?
    (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
    With this, it's no-good.
    • dame ダメ
      No good. (among dozens of other meanings.)
  • kore ja dame da
    (same meaning.)
  • dewa, hajimeyou
    Then, let's start.
  • ja, hajimeyou
    (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...
    Reading: [he] is, but...
    [He] is reading, but...
  • yonja iru kedo...
    (same meaning.)
  • shinde wa dame!
    Dying: no good!
    Don't die! (that would be bad!)
  • shinja dame!
    (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?
    (this is unusual. Who are you? Roswaal?)
  • kore jaa dame da
    (this is fine.)
  • jaa, hajimeyou
    (this is fine, too.)
  • yonjaa iru kedo...
  • shinjaa dame!
    (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
    Seeing, [he] is.
  • micha iru
    (same meaning.)
  • mite wa dame!
    Seeing: no good.
    Don't look.
  • micha dame!
    (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
    Killing people: can't go.
    Don't kill people.
  • hito wo koroshicha ikenai
    (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!
    If [I] don't work hard... [it's no good]!
    • I gotta work hard!
  • ganbaranakucha!
    (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
    If run away: it's good.
    It's better if [you] run away.
    [You] should run away.
  • nigerya ii-n-da
    (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
    If [it's] cute [it's] good.
    [It's] good so long [it's] cute.
  • kawaikerya ii-n-da
    (same meaning.)

ければ to きゃ

Furthermore, ~kereba ~ければ can also contract to ~kya ~きゃ.
  • kawaikya ii-n-da
    (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!
    It'll end up ending!
    It's going to end! (oh no!)
  • owacchau!

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

てしまった to ちゃった

The contracted form can even be inflected.
  • koroshite-shimatta
    [I] killed [someone]. (oh kamisama, what have I done?!)
  • koroshichatta
    [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!
    [He'll] end up dying! (oh no!)
  • shinjau!
    (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
    [I] ended up reading [it]. (oh no.)
  • yonjatta
    (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

  • sore wa sugoi
    That is amazing.
  • sorya sugoi
    (same meaning.)
  • nanda kore wa!
    What is this?! (emotive right-dislocation.)
  • nanda korya!
    (same meaning.)

Although dorya どりゃ is a word in Japanese, it doesn't work like the contraction of dore wa どれは, because an interrogative pronoun like dore どれ can't be the topic of a sentence. Instead, dorya is used as an interjection, like "take that!" or "look!"

ない to ん

The negative suffix nai ない is sometimes contracted to just n ん. For example:
  • shiranai
    [I] don't know.
  • shiran
    [I] dunno.
  • wakaranai
    [I] don't know. (in a different way.)
  • warakan
    [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!
    It's cute, isn't it!
    It's cute, don't you think!
    It's cute, don't you agree!
  • kawaii jan!
    (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
    "Impossible" is [what] [I'm] saying.
    It's impossible, is what I'm telling you.
  • muri tte iu no
    (same meaning.)
  • muri ttsu no
    (same meaning.)
  • kawaii to iu ka, kirei to iu ka
    [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
    (same meaning.)
  • kawaii ttsu ka, kirei ttsu ka
    (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
    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
    (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
    "Wait" is what [I'm] saying.
    [I'm] telling [you] "to wait."
  • matte ttsu-tte-n-da
    (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

  • takee

    (same meaning.)
  • kowai

  • kowee

    (same meaning.)

This is particularly tricky because even the stem of the adjective is contracted. To elaborate:
  • takai
  • takee

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
    Not scary.
  • kowakunee
    (same meaning)

Variants include:
  • kowakunee
    (same meaning, no small kana.)
  • kowakunee
    (same meaning)
  • kowakune
    (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
  • koee

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
  • tsuee
    (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
    With this, it's good.
  • kore de ee
    (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
    [My] bad. Sorry.
  • warii
    (same meaning.)
  • samui
  • samii
    (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
    I'm Tanaka.
  • ore, Tanaka-ssu
    俺 田中っす
    (same meaning.)
  • yabai desu ne
    [That's] dangerous, isn't it?
  • yabai-ssu ne
    (same meaning.)
  • sou desu ne
    Yes, that's so.
  • sou-ssu ne
    (same meaning.)

This contraction combines with the n ん contraction.
  • kirei na no desu
    It's pretty.
    • This is a gentleman talking.
  • kirei na-n-ssu
    (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?
    It's cute, isn't it?
  • kawaii ssho?
    (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
    Unknown. Weird.
  • keshikaranu
  • keshikaran
    (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
    I don't know.
  • boku a shiran
    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.
    One. Shot.
  • ippatsu
    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)

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
    Washing machine.
  • sentakki
    (relaxed pronunciation.)

In rare cases, the change in phonetics changes the meaning. For example:
  • sou ka
    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.
    Gold. Tooth.
  • kinba
    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
      To go and.. (te-form.)
  • shiru 知る
    To know.
    • shiri 知り
    • shiri-teりて
      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
    • yomi-teみて
      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
      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
      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."


Some slangs contain contractions. For example:
  • kon'nichi wa desu
    Good day. (greeting.)
    • chiissu
      (same meaning.)
  • arigatou gozaimasu
    Thank you.
    • azassu
      (same meaning.)
    • azaasu
      (same meaning.)
  • sumimasen
    • saasen
      (same meaning.)
  • hanpa nai
    Not half-heart.
    Serious. For real.
    • hanpa nee
      (same meaning.)
    • panee
      (still same meaning.)

Other Contractions

Some other contractions you may find around:
  • sumimasen
  • suimasen
    (same meaning.)

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


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  1. Thanks for this incredibly useful article! As for 怖い -> 怖ぇ, isn't it because historically all Japanese-origin /oa/ sequences were realised as /owa/ (think mitsuk-eru/mitsuk-aru and o-eru/o-(w)aru) or otherwise separated (kosame)?

    1. I don't know, but that makes sense. Personally, I've always thought it was the opposite, owaru becomes oweru but since we sounds the same as e in modern Japanese it becomes oeru. The same would apply to other ergative verb pairs, e.g.: fuyasu becomes fuyeru but since ye doesn't exist it becomes fueru. I've never bothered to check if this was correct, though, so it's likely it's as you say instead.

  2. I was about to say that 可愛い seems a good example of /w/ insertion (in this case in between aa), then checked and found I was completely wrong: Oh well, I better stick to modern Japanese for the time being :D Thanks for the link, checking it out now!