Monday, November 25, 2019

Ichidan Verbs

In Japanese, ichidan verbs are verbs that end in ~eru and ~iru, which undergo ichidan katsuyou 一段活用, "one-column conjugation." This means that, when conjugated, their stem ends at the vowel, ~e or ~i, and it's always that same one vowel, no matter what suffixes are attached to it.

They're also called "group 2 verbs," among the three groups of verbs that exist in Japanese.

上一段・下一段

The term "ichidan verb" actually refers to two different types of verbs:
  • kami-ichidan
    上一段
    Upper ichidan, which end in ~iru.
  • shimo-ichidan
    下一段
    Lower ichidan, which end in ~eru.

For example, niru 似る, "to resemble," is a kami-ichidan verb, while neru 寝る, "to sleep," is a shimo-ichidan verb.

In modern, standard Japanese, there's absolutely no difference in how these two types are conjugated.

In some dialects, there are differences. Historically, there are differences, too. But, in general, there's no difference. They're the same thing.

Conjugation

The ichidan verbs always end in ~eru or ~iru. In other words, they always end in ~ru ~る. Their conjugation is done by removing the ~ru ending and replacing it by something else.

The six basic forms of a kami-ichidan verb would be:
  1. ~i ~i
    mizenkei 未然形.
  2. ~i ~i
    ren'youkei 連用形.
  3. ~iru ~iる
    shuushikei 終止形.
  4. ~iru ~iる
    rentaikei 連体形.
  5. ~ire ~iれ
    kateikei 仮定形, or izenkei 已然形.
  6. ~iro ~iろ
    ~iyo ~iよ
    meireikei 命令形

A shimo-ichidan verb is the same thing, except the stem is ~e, not ~i:
  1. ~e ~e
  2. ~e ~e
  3. ~eru ~eる
  4. ~eru ~eる
  5. ~ere ~eれ
  6. ~ero ~eろ
    ~eyo ~eよ

Note that the six basic forms include the suffixes ~ru ~る, ~re ~れ, ~ro ~ろ, and ~yo ~よ. However, the stem which all six forms branch from is the vowel ~i or ~e. Therefore, they're vowel-stem verbs.

Since it's always the same one vowel, they're called ichidan 一段, "one column." This contrasts with godan 五段 verbs, which have a consonant stem, and the vowel changes across all five columns: a-i-u-e-o.

Like other inflectable words in Japanese, ichidan verbs are conjugated by agglutinating these six basic forms with jodoushi 助動詞 suffixes, and other auxiliaries. Observe:
  • taberu
    食べる
    To eat. (non-past form, predicative form, shuushikei, attributive form, rentaikei.)
  • tabeta
    食べ
    Ate. (past form.)
    • tabetara
      食べたら
      If ate. (tara-form.)
    • tabetari
      食べたり
      Ate and. (tari-form.)
  • tabenai
    食べない
    To not eat. (negative form.)
    • tabenakatta
      食べなかった
      Did not eat. (past negative form.)
  • tabe
    食べ
    Eating. (noun form, ren'youkei.)
    To eat and.
  • tabemasu
    食べます
    To eat. (polite form.)
    • tabemashita
      食べまし
      Ate. (past polite form.)
    • tabemasen
      食べませ
      To not eat. (negative polite form.)
      • tabemasen deshita
        食べませんでした
        Didn't eat. (past negative polite form.)
  • tabete
    食べ
    To eat and. (te-form.)
  • tabetai
    食べたい
    To want to eat. (desiderative tai-form.)
    • tabetakatta
      食べたかった
      Wanted to eat. (past desiderative form.)
    • tabetakunai
      食べたくない
      To not want to eat. (negative desiderative form.)
      • tabetakunakatta
        食べたくなかった
        Did not want to eat. (negative past desiderative form.)
  • taberareru
    食べられる
    To be eaten. (passive form.)
    To be able to eat. (potential form.)
    • tabereru
      食べれる
      To be able to eat. (potential form, ra-nuki-kotoba ら抜き言葉.)
    • taberareta
      食べられ
      Was eaten. (past passive form.)
      Could eat. (past potential form.)
    • taberarenai
      食べられない
      Is not eaten. (negative passive form.)
      Isn't able to eat. (negative potential form.)
  • tabesaseru
    食べさせる
    To cause to eat. (causative form.)
    To make [someone] eat [something].
    To let [someone] eat [something].
    • tabesasenai
      食べさせない
      To not let [someone] eat [something]. (negative causative form.)
    • tabesaserareru
      食べさせられる
      To be caused to eat. (passive causative form.)
      To be made eat [something] by [someone].
      To be let eat [something] by [someone].
  • tabeyou
    食べよう
    Let's eat. (volitional form.)
  • tabero
    食べろ
    Eat. (imperative form, meireikei.)
  • tabenasai
    食べなさい
    Eat. (imperative nasai-form.)
  • tabereba
    食べれ
    If eat. (conditional ba-form.)
  • tabenu
    食べ
    To not eat. (negative nu-form.)
    • tabeneba
      食べね
      If not eat. (conditional ba-form on nu-form.)
  • tabezu
    食べ
    Without eating. (zu-form.)

In order to conjugate another ichidan verb, like neru 蹴る, just remove the ~ru of the verb, remove tabe~ from the above, and join the two things. For example, the ba-form of taberu is tabe-reba, so the ba-form of neru must be ne-reba.

The same applies to kami-ichidan verbs: ni-reba, ni-ta, ni-nai, ni-masu, ni-you, and so on.

Besides the forms above, there are other forms created from auxiliary verbs and auxiliary adjectives.

Those that attach to the ren'youkei create compound words:

The hojo-doushi 補助動詞 and hojo-keiyoushi 補助形容詞 are those that attach to the te-form.
  • tabete-iru
    食べている
    To be eating.
    • te-iru form.
  • tabete-oku
    食べておく
    To eat [in preparation for something].
    • te-oku form.
  • tabete-ageru
    食べてあげる
    To eat [for someone].
    • ageru あげる auxiliary verb of giving.
  • tabete-kudasai
    食べてください
    Please eat [for me]..
    • kudasai ください auxiliary verb of requesting.
  • tabete-hoshii
    食べてほしい
    [I] want [you] to eat [something].
    • hoshii ほしい auxiliary adjective.

With this we've covered pretty much all forms of an ichidan verb.

Dialects

In some regions of Japan, shimo-ichidan and kami-ichidan verbs have different conjugations.

For example, in Kyoto 京都, a negative form of ichidan verbs ending in ~eru gets an ~ehen ending, while a negative form of ichidan verbs ending in ~iru gets an ~ihin ending.
  • taberu
    食べる
    To eat.
  • tabehen
    食べへん
    To not eat.
  • okiru
    起きる
    To happen.
  • okihin
    起きひん
    To not happen.

History

In classical Japanese, there's only ONE shimo-ichidan verb: keru.

This leads some resources to say that keru is the only shimo-ichidan verb at all, which is kind of confusing, since taberu 食べる, "to eat," oshieru 教える, "to teach," ukeru 受ける, "to receive," semeru 攻める, "to attack," and so on are all ichidan verbs that end in ~eru.

Even more confusing yet, if you check the dictionary, it will say that keru 蹴る is a godan verb, not an ichidan verb. What's up with that? Why would someone lie so baldly and boldly like that?

Well, it turns out that classical Japanese isn't modern Japanese.

The only shimo-ichidan verb in classical Japanese is a godan verb in modern Japanese. So what are the shimo-ichidan verbs in modern Japanese? They're shimo-nidan 下二段 verbs in classical Japanese.

Furthermore, kami-ichidan and kami-nidan 上二段 verbs in classical Japanese have all turned into kami-ichidan in modern Japanese.

As the name implies, nidan verbs conjugate to "two columns." The conversion from nidan to ichidan verbs was done simply by conjugating the nidan verb to its ren'youkei form, which ends with ~i or ~e, and adding a ~ru to it. Observe:
  • iku
    生く
    (a kami-nidan verb.)
  • iki
    生き
    (its ren'youkei form.)
  • ikiru
    生きる
    To live.
    (the modern kami-ichidan version.)
  • nu

    (a shimo-nidan verb.)
  • ne

    (its ren'youkei form.)
  • neru
    寝る
    To sleep.
    (the modern shimo-ichidan version.)

Auxiliaries

Sometimes, things that aren't exactly verbs are conjugated like ichidan verbs, too.

This happens with the passive and causative jodoushi, ~rareru and ~sareru, and with the potential one, too, specially the potential form of godan verbs. Observe:
  • tabe-ru
    食べる
    To eat.
  • tabe-rare-ru
    食べられる
    To be eaten. (passive.)
    To be able to eat. (potential.)
  • tabe-nai
    食べない
    To not eat.
  • tabe-rare-nai
    To not be eaten.
    To not be able to eat.
  • tabe-ta
    食べた
    Ate.
  • tabe-rare-ta
    食べられ
    Was eaten.
    Was able to eat.

In godan verbs, the potential form is supposed to end in ~areru, but in practice it actually ends in ~eru.
  • koros-u
    殺す
    To kill.
  • koros-are-ru
    殺させる
    To be killed. (passive)
    To be able to kill. (potential.)
  • koros-e-ru
    殺せる
    To be able to kill. (potential.)

This one is conjugated like an ichidan verb, too.
  • koros-e-ta
    殺せた
    Was able to kill.
  • koros-e-nai
    殺せない
    Not able to kill.

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