Monday, July 15, 2019

List of Japanese Contractions

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.

Contractions in Japanese & Contraction-like patterns: a chart listing examples.


All contractions make stuff shorter, but not all contractions are the same. According to some, not all contractions are even technically "contractions."

For a contraction to be really a "contraction," it has to be formally recognized, it must be in the dictionary, and you must be able to use it in writing. Simply slurring syllables together because you're speaking too fast wouldn't be a "contraction," that would 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.

People actively avoid writing contractions in kaki-kotoba, so you only find them in hanashi-kotoba.

There are cases where you can find hanashi-kotoba written, which makes the whole thing more confusing, for example:

  • The text written in speech balloons in manga counts as hanashi-kotoba, since that's the text the character is speaking, so it will orthographically match their slurred, contracted speech.
  • Similarly, the speech of characters in a novel may feature contractions, even if the narration does not.
  • In news articles in Japanese, when quoting what someone said, the quote may feature contractions as it quotes what the person said exactly, even if the rest of the article does not feature them.

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
      To be broken. (e.g. a diamond is "unbreakable:" kudakenai)
  • namatta
    Corrupted. Slurred.

In anime, characters of different backgrounds speak differently, and use different contractions, such that the upbringing of a character can be hinted by whether they only use normal contractions or also make use of more slurred speech.

If a character's speech is slurred, that implies they aren't tidy, neat, eloquent, A-grade students. They're delinquents, gang members, gyaru ギャル, youngsters that always speak like they've got bubble gums inside their mouths, and so on.

By contrast, characters from rich families, a.k.a. ojousama お嬢様 and bocchan 坊っちゃん characters, tend to speak more eloquently and avoid slurred speech. Their butlers, too, will 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, and not everyone that speaks slurring looks like they'll fail calculus and join a gang.

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.
ボクも腰刺されてるんだけど・・・・ 知ってます
Manga: Sen'yuu. 戦勇。 (Chapter 2)
  • Context: the hero, who has been injured, sees his companion using healing magic on someone else, and says:
  • boku mo koshi φ sasareteru-n-dakedo....
    I've been stabbed in the hip, too, but [you haven't healed me?]....
    (passive voice.)
  • shittemasu
    [I] know.
    • shitte-imasu 知ってます with ~i ~い removed.

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.

There's a sort of contraction in which a syllable disappears that's analyzed as a special grammatical thing, in which the vanished syllable is said to have been replaced by a "null" or "zero" something, which can be represented by ∅ (empty set) or φ (Greek letter phi).

  • {mita} koto ga nai
    [I] have never {seen [it]}.
  • {mita} koto φ nai
    (same meaning.)
    • Here, the ga が particle was replaced by the "null particle," or "zero particle."
    • The word nai predicates a subject, and subjects are normally marked by a particle in Japanese.
    • Since there's a predicate, there must be a subject, and since there is a subject, there must be a particle marking it, but one isn't pronounced or written, so we say it's a null particle..
    • This also happens in phrases such as kankei nai 関係ない, ~ni chigai nai ~に違いない, machigai nai 間違いない, and so on.
  • ore wa Tarou da
    I'm Tarou.
  • ore wa Tarou φ
    (same meaning.)
    • Here, the da だ predicative copula is replaced by the "null copula," or "zero copula."
    • Again, there must be a copula linking Tarou to the subject ore, but one isn't pronounced or written, so we say it's a null copula.

It's not clear if the above really counts as a contraction or not. For example, there may be nuance in explicitly uttering ga が or da だ when one could use the null instead, but then again, there's also a nuance in pronouncing "I do not" separately instead of the normal, contracted "I don't."

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.
  • mite-iru
    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.
  • tabe-teru (?)
    To eat (??).
    • teru
      (auxiliary verb???)
    • Nope. It's actually:
    • tabete-iru
      To be eating.
なんかツノ生えたー!! あと尻尾!! 生えてる はえそろってるーー 意思でうごくーー!!
Manga: Machikado Mazoku まちカドまぞく (Volume 1, Page 10, 体で学べるてこの原理)
  • Context: Yoshida Yuuko 吉田優子, Shamiko シャミ子, grew horns and a tail overnight, becoming a monster girl.
  • nanka tsuno haeta--!!
    Horns sprouted [out]!!
  • ato shippo!!
    [Also] a tail!!
  • haeteru
    [They're] sprouted. (literally.)
  • hae-sorotteru--
    [They're both] sprouted.
    • From hae-sorotte-iru 生え揃っている.
    • A compound verb of haeru and sorou 揃う, "to complete [a set]," in the sense that horns and tail make a full set.
  • ishi de ugoku--!!
    [They] move by will--!! (literally)
    • In the sense Shamiko can move them like she can move a limb, i.e. they're part of her body.

でいる to でる

A godan 五段 verb with te-form ending in de で forms ~de-iru ~でいる instead, contracting to ~deru ~でる.

  • yonde-iru
    To be reading.
  • yonderu
    (same meaning.)
おまえはもう死んでる・・・・・・・・・ なにィ~~!?
Manga: Fist of the North Star, Hokuto no Ken 北斗の拳 (Chapter 1, 心の叫びの巻)
  • omae wa mou shinderu.........
    You're already dead.
    • From shinde-iru 死んでいる.
  • nanii~~!?

ていく to てく

A verb in te-form plus the auxiliary iku いく forms ~te-iku ~ていく, contracting to ~teku ~てく.

  • kawatte-iku
    To go on changing.
    To keep changing.
  • kawatteku
    (same meaning.)

Sometimes, ~teku is a contraction of ~te-oku ~ておく instead.

でいく to でく

A godan verb with te-form ending in de で forms ~de-iku ~でいく, contracting to ~deku ~でく.

  • manande-iku
    To go on learning.
  • manandeku
    (same meaning.)

Sometimes, ~deku is a contraction of ~de-oku ~でおく instead.

ておく to とく

A verb in ~te form plus the auxiliary ~oku ~おく forms ~te-oku ~ておく, which normally contracts to ~toku ~とく.

  • oboete-oku
    To leave remembered. (for later.)
    [I'll] remember [it].
  • oboetoku
    (same meaning.)
何でしたら入り次第お宅へお届けいたしましょうか そうしてくれる? 代金はその場で払うようにしとくから
Manga: Historie, ヒストリエ (Chapter 6, 図書室・2)
  • Context: a boy wants to buy a book, but it's out of stock.
  • nandeshitara hairi shidai otaku e otodoke itashimashou ka
    [If you want] [I] will deliver [it] to [your] house [as soon as] [it] enters [stock].
    • shidai
      Depending on. In this case, when he delivers the book depends on when it enters stock. As soon as.
    • otaku
      [Your] house.
      You. (second person pronoun.)
      A hobbyist, specially someone who likes anime.
  • sou shite kureru?
    [You] will do so for [me]?
  • daikin wa {{sono ba de harau} you ni} shitoku kara
    As for the payment, [I] will make [it] {so [that] {[it] is paid there}}.
    • i.e. the payment will be ready at his home for when it arrives.
    • sono ba
      That place.
      The aforementioned place, in this case otaku, "[your] home," or, from the perspective of this character: "[my] home."
    • sono ba de harau
      X pays in my home. (dispositional habitual.)
      X can pay in my home. (potential habitual.)
      [Someone] pays, can pay X in my home. (non-nominative habitual.)
      (stative predicate.)
      • Compare with:
      • taberu
        X eats. (dispositional.)
        X can eat. (potential.)
        [Someone] eats, can eat X. (non-nominative.)
      • {taberu} mono
        Something [that] {eats}. (dispositional.)
        Something [that] {can eat}. (potential.)
        Something [that] {[you] eat}. (non-nominative dispositional.)
        Something [that] {[you] can eat}. (non-nominative potential.)
    • X you ni suru
      To make [it] so that [a habitual predicate] will true in the future.
    • {sono ba de harau} you ni suru = to make it so that {[someone] pays [the payment] in my home} in the future (because nobody would pay it right now, at present moment, since I haven't informed them about it.)
    • ~suru is replaced by ~shite-oku ~しておく because if the books arrives and nobody is told they have to pay it, that would be problematic, so, in preparation for the book's arrival, the character will tell his servants to give the money to the merchant or something like that, making it so that the book is paid at his home when it arrives at a future date.

でおく to どく

A godan verb with te-form ending in ~de ~で forms ~de-oku ~でおく, contracting to ~doku ~どく instead.

  • yonde-oku
    To leave read. (for later.)
  • yondoku
    (same meaning.)

ておけ to とけ

The meireikei 命令形 conjugation te-oke ておけ contracts to ~toke ~とけ.

  • 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

Similarly, ~de-oke ~でおけ contracts to ~doke ~どけ.

  • yonde-oke
    Read [it].
  • yondoke
    (same meaning.)

ておく to てく

A verb in te-form plus oku おく forms ~te-oku ~ておく, which sometimes to ~teku ~てく.

  • kaite-oku
    To leave written.
  • kaiteku
    (same meaning.)

This is ambiguous with the ~te-iku contraction.

でおく to でく

A godan verbs with te-form ending in de で, forms de-oku でおく, contracting to ~deku ~でく.

  • yonde-oku
    To leave read.
  • yondeku
    (same meaning.)

This is ambiguous with the ~de-iku contraction.

られる to れる

The potential form of ichidan 一段 verbs ends in ~rareru ~られる, which is sometimes contracted to ~reru ~れる, skipping the ~ra~ ~ら~.

  • 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.)

The potential form and the passive form of ichidan verbs is identical—they're both ~rareru—however, only the potential form can be abbreviated to ~reru, i.e. ~reru is never the passive form.

  • kore ga taberareru
    This is eat-able.
    This is edible.
    (potential form.)
  • kore ga tabereru
    (same meaning.)
  • ookami ni taberareru
    To be eaten by a wolf.
    (passive form.)
  • *ookami ni tabereru

This is due to this contraction being people conjugating ichidan verbs, which always end in ~ru, as if they were godan verbs with ~ru ending.(大辞林:ら抜き言葉)

With a godan verb, the potential form ends in ~eru ~eる (also known as "potential verbs," kanou-doushi 可能動詞), while the the passive form ends in ~areru ~aれる.

  • kaku
    To write.
  • kakeru
    To be able to write.
    (potential verb.)
  • kakareru
    To be written.
    (passive form.)

More specifically, in a godan verb we replace the ending vowel ~u with something else (e.g. ~eru, ~areru), while in an ichidan verb we replace the ending syllable ~ru with something else (e.g. ~rareru).

See also: godan vs. ichidan verbs.

It just happens that godan verbs that end in ~ru in passive form remove the ~u of ~ru, and add ~areru, which gets you ~rareru, the exact same conjugation ichidan verbs would have, hence the confusion.

godan ichidan
~u/~ru kir-u
To cut.
To wear.
Passive form.
To be cut.
To be worn.
Can wear.
Potential form.
Potential verb/~ra-nuki
Can cut.
Can wear.

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
      Because. (secondary meaning.)
    • bikkuri
      (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.)

もの to もん

The word mono もの is sometimes contracted to mon もん.

なんだよ 見せもんじゃねーぞ ぴー いや どうみても見せもんだろ
Manga: Mairimashita! Iruma-kun 魔入りました!入間くん (Chapter 54, 正反対の入間)
  • Context: Suzuki Iruma 鈴木入間 makes Valac Clara ウァラク・クララ sit on his lap in class. The entire class stares at them. In response, Iruma says:
  • nanda yo
    What is [it]?
    [What are you looking at]?
  • mise-mon janee zo
    [This] isn't a show.
    • mise-mon - contraction of mise-mono 見せ物, a "thing," mono, that you "show," miseru, others.
  • pii
    *head smoke noises*
  • Hearing this, Andro M. Jazz アンドロ・M・ジャズ retorts, making a gesture slapping the air:
  • iya, {dou mitemo} mise-mon daro
    いや どうみても見せもんだろ
    No, {no matter how you look at [it]} [it] is a show.
    • iya - "no" in the sense of "no, what you said is wrong:" this is clearly a show, and you're obviously doing it in front of everybody for everybody to see it.

This also happens when mono is used as a sentence ending particle, e.g. in the form of ~da mon ~だもん, which is particularly used by small children.

Manga: Rozen Maiden, ローゼンメイデン (Chapter 14)

るの to んの

A verb that ends in ~ru る plus no の, forming ~ru no ~るの, contracts 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.)
やっぱし なに?人んちのペットの名前に文句あんの? あんた何様?
Manga: Azumanga Daioh あずまんが大王 (Volume 1, Chapter 6, June, Page 48, 命名)
  • Context: Kasuga Ayumu 春日歩 is a transfer student who came from Ōsaka 大阪. Because of this, Takino Tomo 滝野智 nickname her Ōsaka. Ayumu asks Tomo if she ever had a pet, and what was the pet called. Tomo answers she had a hamster, whom she named Hamu-chan.
  • yappashi
    [Just as I thought].
    • Her naming sense is too simplistic!
  • nani?
  • hito-n-chi no petto no namae ni monku φ an'no?
    Do [you] have a problem with the name of [other] people's pets?
    • hito-n-chi - contraction of hito no uchi 人の家, "a person's home," in this case in the sense of the pet of someone else's family.
    • monku an'no - contraction of monku aru no, "to have a complaint," "to have a problem with."
  • anta nani-sama?
    [Who do you think you are]?
    • nani-sama - literally "what"-sama, in the sense of something you attach the respectful honorific suffix ~sama ~様 to.
    • Tomo is saying Ayumu is acting as if she were important enough to be entitled to complain about other people's pets, as someone of such importance would get the ~sama suffix, e.g.: okyakusama お客様, a "client," "customer," ou-sama 王様, a "king," kami-sama 神様, a "god," and so on.
なあ 彼女ってどうやったらできんの?
Manga: Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou 男子高校生の日常 (Chapter 2, 男子高校生と放課後)
  • naa, kanojo tte {dou yattara} dekin'no?
    なあ 彼女ってどうやったらできんの
    Hey, {what do [you] have to do} to make a girlfriend?

Although this sort of contraction typically occurs at sentence end, it can also occur before a no の nominalizer mid-sentence. For example:

自分で売った喧嘩やろ 自分で片つけんのが筋ちゃうんか! Do it yourself!!
Manga: Gokushufudou 極主夫道 (Chapter 8)
  • Context: Masa 雅 asks Tatsu たつ for help in a fight, who responds:
  • {jibun de utta} kenka yaro
    [That]'s a fight {[you] picked yourself}, [wasn't it]!
    • kenka wo uru
      To sell a fight. (literally.)
      To pick a fight with someone.
  • {jibun de kata-tsuken}'no ga suji chau-n-ka!
    {To clear [your mess] yourself} [is only logical], [am I wrong]?
    • kata-tsuken'no - contraction of kata-tsukeru no 片つけるの.
    • suji - reason, logic, besides other meanings, can be used to refer to something that you're supposed or expected to do in response to something else because it's the reasonable thing.
    • chau-n-ka - contraction of chau no ka.
    • chau - Kansai dialect, equivalent to chigau 違う, "to differ," "to be wrong about something."
  • Do it yourself!!
    Do it yourself!!
    (I have no idea what this means.)

ているの to てんの

The te-iru form plus no の forms the phrase ~te-iru no ~ているの, which contracts to ~teru no ~てるの, which then contracts to ten'no てんの. For example:

  • wakatte-iru no ka?
    Do [you] understand?
  • wakatten'no ka?
    (same meaning.)
ねえ、西方。 な、何!?高木さん!? 何してんの? 別に・・・何も・・・ ふーん。
Manga: Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san からかい上手の高木さん (Chapter 1, 消しゴム)
  • Context: Takagi 高木 catches Nishikata 西片 acting suspiciously.
  • nee, Nishikata.
    Hey, Nishikata.
  • na, nani!? Takagi-san!?
    W-what [is it]!? Takagi-san!?
  • nani φ shiten'no?
    What are [you] doing?
  • betsu ni... nani-mo...
    Nothing... in particular...
    • betsu ni nani-mo shite-inai
      [I] haven't done anything in particular.
  • fuun.
    *humming skeptically.*
Left: Ruki ルキ
Right: Alba, アルバ
Anime: Sen'yuu. 戦勇。 (Episode 7)
  • Context: Ruki thinks Alba didn't do anything the last battle, then Alba tells her she wasn't paying attention, reminding her of his heroic feats. Convinced, she says:
  • sou da na, Aruba-kun mo ganbatta ne
    [That's right], Alba-kun worked hard, too, huh.
  • *her overly long sleeves extend monstrously so she can give him a head pat.*
  • arigatou Ruki.. tte nani kore!? ude dou natten'no!?
    Thank you, Ruki.. wait, what is this!? [What is going on with] [your] arm!?
    • dou natten'no - contraction of dou natte-iru no どうなっているの, literally "what has [it] become."

ているのだ to てんだ

The phrase ~te-iru no da ~ているのだ contracts to ~teru no da ~てるのだ (removing i い), which contracts to ~ten'no da ~てんのだ (~ru no to ~n'no), which contracts to ~tenda ~てんだ (~no da to ~nda).

  • nani wo yatte-iru no da?
    What are [you] doing?
  • nani φ yattenda?
    (same meaning.)
何なんだよその顔!! やめろーーーーっ! 何でそんな別の生き物見るような目で俺を見てんだ
Manga: Kimetsu no Yaiba 鬼滅の刃 (Chapter 20, 我妻善逸)
  • Context: Kamado Tanjirou 竈門炭治郎 looks at Agatsuma Zen'itsu 我妻善逸 like he's looking at a pile of garbage.
  • nan'nanda yo sono kao!!
    What's up with that face!!
    (emotive right-dislocation)
  • yamero--------'!!
  • nande sonna {{betsu no iki-mono φ miru} you na} me de ore wo mitenda
    Why are [you] looking at me with such eyes [that] {look like {[they] see a different species}}.
    Why are you looking at me as if I'm a different creature. As if I'm not a human being like you.
    • ore wo mite-iru no da
      To be seeing me.
      To be looking at me.

ておる to とる

The phrase ~te-oru ~ておる contracts to ~toru ~とる. This phrase has the same meaning as ~te-iru ~ている, except that it seems to be more dialectal and older, being used by ancient or elder characters in fiction. The contraction works the same as ~teru ~てる.

  • neko ga shabette-oru
    The cat is speaking.
  • neko ga shabettoru
    (same meaning.)

ておるのじゃ to とんじゃ

The phrase ~te-oru no ja ておるのじゃ contracts to ~tonja ~とんじゃ by the same process that ~te-iru no da ~ているのだ contracts to ~tenda ~てんだ.

柿とピーナッツの割合は7:3に決まっとるやろーがァァ!! 世の中の事は全てコレ 7:3でピッチリうまく分けられるよーなっとんじゃ!! 7:3が宇宙万物根元の黄金比じゃボケコラカスぅ!!
Manga: Gintama 銀魂 (Chapter 105, 柿ピーはあんまり食べ過ぎちゃダメ)
  • Context: Kurogoma Katsuo 黒駒勝男 explains the perfect ratio of rice crackers to peanuts.
    • Note: kakipii 柿ピー is common mixture of two snacks, kaki no tane 柿の種, which is rice cracker shaped as a "persimmon seed," and peanuts.
  • kaki to piinattsu no wariai wa hichi tai san ni kimattoru yaroo gaaa!!
    The ratio of rice crackers to peanuts is [obviously] 7:3!!
    • hichi - same as shichi 七, "seven."
    • kimattoru yarou - same as kimatte-iru darou 決まっているだろう.
  • yo no naka no koto wa subete kore, hichi tai san de picchiri umaku wakerareru yoo nattonja!!
    世の中の事は全てコレ 7:3でピッチリうまく分けられるよーなっとんじゃ!!
    Everything in the word is this (like his hair), [created so that] [it] can be perfectly divided into seven to three!
    • wakerareru yoo ni nattonja - same as wakerareru you ni natte-iru no da 分けられるようになっているのだ.
    • An eventivization of the stative verb wakerareru, "to be able to divide," which is the potential form of wakeru 分ける, "to divide."
  • hichi tai san ga uchuu banbutsu kongen no ougonhi ja, boke kora kasuu!!
    Seven to three is the golden ratio of the origin of all creation in the universe, *expletives*!!

るな to んな

A verb ending in ru る plus the na な sentence ending particle forms ~ru na ~るな, which contracts 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

The negative form of a godan verb with ~ru ending, which ends in ~ranai ~らない, contracts to ~n'nai ~んない.

  • wakaranai
    [I] don't know.
  • wakan'nai
    (same meaning.)
Manga: World Trigger, ワールドトリガー (Chapter 6, 嵐山隊)
  • Context: Kuga Yuuma 空閑遊真 knows your habits.
  • omae...... tsuman'nai uso φ tsuku ne
    おまえ・・・・・・つまんないウソ つく
    You...... tell boring lies, [don't you]?
    • tsumaranai
      • Negative form of tsumaru つまる.
生徒会室誰もいないし~ 聞いてないし~よーじおわんないし~マジ卍~ てなわけでヒマジンは図書室にシューゴー
Character: Hayasaka Ai 早坂愛
Anime: Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai? ~Tensai-Tachi no Ren'ai Zunousen~ かぐや様は告らせたい?~天才たちの恋愛頭脳戦~ (Season 2) (Episode 1, Stitch)
  • Context: Hayasaka writes a message online.
  • seitokai-shitsu φ dare mo inai shi~
    There's nobody in the student council room.
  • kiitenai shi~
    [I] didn't hear [about this].
  • yooji owan'nai shi~
    The things [I] have to do don't end~. (i.e. Hayasaka's errands don't end.)
    • youji ga owaranai shi
      (same meaning.)
      • owaru
        To end.
  • maji-manji~
    [This is the worst]~
  • te na wake de himajin wa toshoshitsu ni shuugoo
    [Given that], people with free time meet up in the library.
    • himajin
      A person who is hima 暇, being "free," not busy.
    • shuugou suru
      To assemble. To convene. To meet up.

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
      No good. (among dozens of other meanings.)
  • kore ja dame da
    (same meaning.)
  • dewa, hajimeyou
    Then, let's start.
  • ja, hajimeyou
    (same meaning.)

In de-wa では you can analyze de で as the te-form of the da だ copula, and wa は as the wa は particle.

In godan verbs with a te-forms ending in de で, when they come before wa は, forming ~de wa ~では, that contracts 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

The te-form before the wa は particle forms ~te-wa ~ては, which contracts 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.)
オレはバカだ あの時から少しも成長しちゃいない
Manga: Fullmetal Alchemist, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi 鋼の錬金術師 (Chapter 6, 破壊の右手)
  • Context: Edward Elric エドワード・エルリック sulks over his ineptitude.
    • taiiku-zuwari
      The preferred sitting position of sulking characters.
  • ore wa baka da
    I'm an idiot.
  • ano toki kara sukoshi mo seichou shicha-inai
    [I] haven't matured even a little since that time.
    • ano toki kara seichou shite-iru
      To have matured since that time.
    • seichou shite wa inai
      To not have matured. (but to have done other things.)

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.

This usage and contraction is also more common in the negative form, with ~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]!
    (incomplete sentence.)
    • 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.)
一ついいことおせえてやるよ。 こんなもんはな、撃てて当たりゃいいんだよ。
Manga: Black Lagoon (Chapter 8)
  • Context: Two-Hands succinctly elaborates her argument against the notion of which the appearance and/or background history pertaining to a firearm is of any importance.
  • hitotsu ii koto oseete yaru yo.
    [I'll] teach one good thing.
  • konna mon wa na,
    This sorta thing, [you see],
  • utete atarya ii-n-da yo.
    [If you] shoot and [it] hits, [it's] good.
    • That's enough.
    • utete atareba ii
      Good if shoot and hit.

ければ to けりゃ

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

The phrase ~kereba ~ければ also contracts to ~kya ~きゃ.

  • kawaikya ii-n-da
    (still same meaning.)

In particular, ~nakereba ~なければ contracts to nakya なきゃ.

らなければ to んなきゃ

The ba-form of the negative form of a godan verb ending in ~ru, which ends in ~ranakereba ~らなければ, contracts to ~n'nakereba ~んなければ (~ranai ~らない to ~n'nai ~んない), which contracts to ~n'nakya ~んなきゃ.

やかましいっ!!! オレ様が、なんであんな低レベルな奴らと友達になんなきゃいけねーんだよっ!!?
Manga: Zatch Bell!, Konjiki no Gash!! 金色のガッシュ!! (Chapter 1, 清麿、正義の味方)
  • Context: Takamine Kiyomaro 高嶺清麿 speaks to his concerned mother.
  • yakamashii'!!!
    [You're] noisy!!!
    [Stop annoying me!!!]
  • ore-sama ga, nande anna {tei-reberu na} yatsura to {tomodachi ni} nan'nakya ikenee-n-da yo'!!?
    Why do I have to become {friends} with {low-level} guys like those!!?
    • {tomodachi ni} naru
      To become {friends}.
    • {{tomodachi ni} naranakereba} ikenai
      {If [I] don't become {friends [with them]}}, [it] can't go. (literally.)
      I must become friends with them.
      I have to become friends with them.

ておけば to ときゃ

The phrase ~te-okeba ~ておけば contracts to ~tokeba ~とけば (~te-oku to ~toku), which contracts to ~tokya ~ときゃ.

  • benkyou shite-okeba yokatta
    It would have been better if I had studied.
    I wish I had studied.
  • benkyou shitokya yokatta
    (same meaning.)
そう・・・カルシウムだ カルシウムさえとっときゃ全てうまくいくんだよ いちご牛乳 受験戦争 親との確執 気になるあの娘 とりあえずカルシウムとっときゃ全てうまく・・・ いくわけねーだろ!! 幾らカルシウムとってたってなァ車にはねられりゃ骨も折れるわ!!
Manga: Gintama 銀魂 (Chapter 11, べちゃべちゃした団子なんてなぁ団子じゃねぇバカヤロー)
  • Context: Sakata Gintoki 坂田銀時 being the boke ボケ for Shimura Shinpachi's 志村新八 tsukkomi ツッコミ.
  • sou... karushiumu da
    [That's right]... calcium.
  • {karushiumu sae tottokya} subete φ {umaku} iku-n-da yo
    {If [you] just took calcium}, everything would go {well}, [you see].
    All you need to do is ingest calcium, and everything will go well.
    • totte-okeba
      If [you] took [calcium].
      If [you] ingested [calcium].
    • toru
      To take.
      To ingest [a medicine].
  • ichigo gyunyuu
    Strawberry cow-milk.
  • juken sensou, oya to no kakushitsu, {ki ni naru} ano ko
    受験戦争 確執 気になるあの
    The exam war, discord with [your] parents, that girl [that] {[you] are interested into}.
    • Exam war refers to university entrance exams and the competition surrounding it.
  • toriaezu {{karushiumu tottokya} subete φ {umaku}...
    Anyway {if [you] take calcium} everything [will go] {well}...
    (incomplete sentence.)
  • iku} wake φ nee daro!!
    [There's no way that's true]!!
    • There's no way to translate the phrases above literally, because one completes the other, and the first one ends in the adverb umaku, "well."
    • subete ga {umaku} iku
      Everything will go {well}. (what Gintoki intended to say.)
    • {subete ga {umaku} iku} wake ga nai
      There's no way [that] {everything will go {well}}. (how Shinpachi completed the sentence.)
  • {ikura karushiumu tottetatte} naa, {kuruma ni hanerarerya} hone mo oreru wa!!
    {No matter how much calcium [you] take}, [you see], {if [you] get hit by a car} [your] bones break!!

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, contracts to ~chau ~ちゃう.

  • owatte-shimau!
    It'll end up ending!
    It's going to end! (oh no!)
  • owacchau!
    (same meaning.)

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.)

てしまう to ちまう

The phrase ~te-shimau ~てしまう also contracts to ~chimau ~ちまう.

  • owachimau
    It'll end up ending!

でしまう to ぢまう

Similarly, ~de-shimau ~でしまう also contracts to ~dimau ~ぢまう. This is pronounced the same way as ~jimau ~じまう in standard dialect.

See yotsugana 四つ仮名 for details.

  • shinjimau
    [He'll] end up dying! (oh no!)

れは to りゃ

The kosoado pronouns kore, sore, are これ, それ, あれ before the wa は particle contract to korya, sorya, arya こりゃ, そりゃ, 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 isn't the contraction of dore wa どれは, since 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.)
  • kakko-ii
  • kakkee
    (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."

お!若ェな・・・ 兄ちゃん・・・言っとくが出航したら一年は陸に戻らねぇ・・・ 海ではお前の“男”が試される・・・ それは分かってるんだろうな? ギロッ
Manga: School Rumble, スクールランブル (Chapter 88, SOULS AT SEA)
  • Context: Harima Kenji 播磨拳児 goes join a ship crew to sail the seas.
  • o! wakee na...
    Ooh! Young, [aren't you]...
    • wakai
  • niichan... ittoku ga shukkou shitara ichinen wa oka ni modoranee...
    Kiddo... [let me warn you], after [we] set sail, [we] won't be back shore in [at least] one year.
    • modoranai
      To not come back.
  • umi dewa omae no "otoko" ga tamesareru...
    In the sea, your "man" will be tested...
    (passive voice.)
    • In the sense of how much of a man he is, i.e. if he's man enough to brave the seas, or if he'll chicken out.
    • See also: otoko, quotation marks.
  • sore wa wakatteru-n-darou na?
    [You] understand that, [right]?
  • giro'
    (mimetic word.)

~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.)

~い Removal

Sometimes, the ~i ending of an i-adjective is dropped altogether. In this case, the word is typically spelled without kanji.

  • sugo
    Amazing. (sugoi 凄い.)
  • kowa
    Scary. (kowai 怖い.)
  • haya
    Quick. (hayai 早い, 速い.)
  • samu
    Cold. (samui 寒い.)
The Legendary Yamada Tae 山田たえ, example of overly long sleeves (moe-sode 萌え袖).
Character: The Legendary Yamada Tae 山田たえ
Anime: Zombieland Saga: Revenge (Episode 6)
  • Context: a random social media user comments on the legendary Yamada Tae, who is also known by the pseudonym "number 0," zero-gou ゼロ号.
  • zero-gou kami-kawa!!!!!!!
    Number 0 is super cute!!!!!!!
    • kami

      God. Deity.
      Epic. Super. Top-level. (slang.)
    • kawaii
      Cute. Adorable.
      (~kawa is kawaii with the ~ii part clipped off.)

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
    To go. (polite form.)
  • iku-ssu
    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

Although highly unusual, the wa は particle contracts a ぁ, written in small kana, when it's pronounced quickly enough to skip the w~ consonant.

  • boku wa shiranai
    I don't know.
  • boku a shiran
    I dunno.
なんにせよ自分の体に触れられたのは褒めてやるが いい加減不快だ 言い残しておくことはあるか? “武器を捨てて手を上げろ” おたくは刀だがオレぁ銃を突きつけてる 勝ち目はないぜ
Manga: Busou Shoujo Machiavellianism, 武装少女マキャヴェリズム (Chapter 1, 素晴らしき刃「鬼瓦輪」)
  • Context: Nomura Fudou 納村不道, who uses otaku as second person pronoun, fights Onigawara Rin 鬼瓦輪.
  • nanni se yo, {jibun no karada ni furerareta} nowa homete yaru ga
    [In any case], [I] will praise [you] for {having been able to touch [my] body}.
  • ii-kagen fukai da
    [It] is unpleasant [already, stop it].
  • {ii-nokoshite-oku} koto wa aru ka?
    Do [you] have anything {to leave said}? (literally.)
    Any last words?
  • "buki wo sutete te wo agero"
    "Drop [your] weapon and raise [your] hands."
  • otaku wa katana da ga ore a juu wo tsuki-tsuketeru
    You [have] a sword but I [have] a gun.
    • Example of contrastive wa, except the second wa は is an a ぁ.
    • tsuki-tsukeru
      To thrust [a weapon] at [someone].
  • kachi-me wa nai ze
    [You] have no chance of winning.
    Give up.

は to ゃ

The wa は particle contracts to a small ya ゃ when the marked word is a pronoun ending in ~shi ~し, for the diphthong ~sha ~しゃ.

See also: compound kana.

  • atashi wa
  • atasha
    (same meaning.)
わしゃあんたらが生まれる前から運転しとるんじゃ わしが免許を取った頃には あんな標識なかったぞ!!
Manga: Taiho Shichau zo 逮捕しちゃうぞ (Chapter 22, 問答無用のチューンアップじいさん)
  • Context: an old man gets stopped by a couple of policewomen for not obeying a traffic sign.
  • washa {anta-ra ga umareru} mae kara unten shitoru-n-ja
    I have been driving since {before you [two] were born}.
    • shitoru - a contraction of shite-oru しておる, in this case synonymous with shite-iru している.
    • ja じゃ - same as the da だ copula, typically used by old men.
  • {washi ga menkyo wo totta} koro niwa anna hyoushiki φ nakatta zo!!
    わしが免許を取った頃には あんな標識なかった!!
    When {I took [my] license} that [traffic] sign didn't exist!!

Above, the pronoun washi わし is pronounced normally in washi ga わしが, but merges into washa わしゃ when marked by wa は.

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 conjugation of godan verbs involves contractions such as the sokuonbin. For example, to conjugate katsu 勝つ, "to win" to the past form, you attach the tajodoushi 助動詞 to the ren'youkei of katsu, which is kachi 勝ち, forming kachi-ta 勝ちた, and that contracts to katta 勝った, "won."

Similar changes in pronunciation are called i-onbin イ音便 (kaitaた), renjoudaku 連声濁 (oyoida 泳い), and hatsuonbin 撥音便 (asondaだ).

Past form conjugation of godan verbs. 殺す, 殺した, 書く, 書いた, 泳ぐ, 泳いだ, 遊ぶ, 遊んだ, 死ぬ, 死んだ, 読む, 読んだ, 切る, 切った, 買う, 買った, 勝つ, 勝った, 行く, 行った. The くぐ endings are affected by イ音便. くぐぬむ are affected by 連声濁. ぶぬむ are affected by 撥音便. るうつ, and the verb 行く are affected by 促音便.

The modern de で particle is 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
      The "Self-Defense Force." The Japanese army.
    • kanochi
      That land.
    • nite
      Marks the place where an action occurred.
      In [that land].
    • de

      (same meaning.)
    • Kaku Tatakaeri
      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:

  • honto
    Really. Truly.
  • hontou
    (same meaning, long vowel shortened.)
  • sumimasen
  • suimasen
    (same meaning.)
  • de arimasu
    Is. Are. To be.
  • de arinsu
    (same meaning.)


Changes in Pronunciation


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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!

  3. Holy cow poo! Man that's some serious work! Thank-in-you!