Sunday, November 10, 2019

撥音便

In Japanese, hatsuonbin 撥音便 is a change in pronunciation of a word where a kana 仮名 is changed to the nasal n ん, also known as hatsuon 撥音. This mainly happens in the conjugation of certain verbs.

For example: shindaだ, "died," is supposed to be shini-ta 死にた, but ni に and ta た are pronounced merged together.

Note: not to be confused with hatsuon 発音, "pronunciation," which is a homonym.

連用形

In verbs, hatsuonbin manifests when the ren'youkei 連用形 form of godan verbs ending in ~nu ~ぬ, ~bu ~ぶ, or ~mu ~む, is suffixed by the jodoushi 助動詞 ta た or te て.

This ren'youkei form ends in ~i for all godan verbs. Compare below:
  • korosu
    殺す
    To kill.
  • koroshi-ta
    殺した
    Killed.
  • shinu
    死ぬ
    To die.
  • shini-ta
    死にた
    (undergoes hatsuonbin.)
  • shinda
    んだ
    Died.
  • asobu
    遊ぶ
    To play.
  • asobi-ta
    遊びた
    (undergoes hatsuonbin.)
  • asonda
    んだ
    Played.
  • nomu
    飲む
    To drink.
  • nomi-ta
    飲みた
    (undergoes hatsuonbin.)
  • nonda
    んだ
    Drank.

Above, ~ni ~に, ~bi ~び, and ~mi ~み became a hatsuon (n ん). This is what's called hatsuonbin.

Note that ~ta ~た also became ~da ~だ, that is, it gained a diacritic, a dakuten 濁点, every time the suffix was fused with stem. This has nothing to do with hatsuonbin, though. This is a separate phenomenon called renjoudaku 連声濁 and it can happen without hatsuonbin.
  • oyogu
    泳ぐ
    To swim.
  • oyogi-ta
    泳ぎた
    (this word undergoes i-onbin イ音便, not hatsuonbin.)
  • oyoida
    いだ
    Swam.
    • Here, ~ta changed to ~da, too, so we have renjoudaku, too.

Besides the past form, the hatsuonbin also applies to the te-form, which is used, among other things, to connect verbs to auxiliary verbs like kudasai ください, "please."
  • shinde-kudasai
    んでください
    Please die.
  • asonde-kudasai
    んでください
    Please play.
  • nonde-kudasai
    んでください
    Please drink.

It also applies to the conditional ~tara ~たら form, since it's related to ~ta ~た.
  • shindara
    んだ
    If died.
  • asondara
    んだ
    If played.
  • nondara
    んだ
    If drank.

However, it doesn't apply to the desiderative ~tai ~たい suffix, because ~tai ~たい isn't related to ~ta ~た, despite looking so very similar.
  • shinitai
    死にたい
    [I] want to die.
  • asobitai
    遊びたい
    [I] want to play.
  • nomitai
    飲みたい
    [I] want to drink.

Nouns

The hatsuonbin phenomenon isn't limited to verbs. Some nouns feature it, too. For example:
  • kami-sashi
    髪挿し
    Hair-insert. (literally.)
  • kanzashi

    Hairpin.

References

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