Sunday, November 10, 2019


In Japanese, renjoudaku 連声濁 is a change in pronunciation similar to rendaku 連濁, where the first syllable of a suffix gets a "diacritic," dakuten 濁点. Unlike rendaku, renjoudaku merges a nasal or voiced syllable with another syllable, and can affect syllables beyond suffixes.

For example: nado, "et cetera," comes from nani-toにと, or nantoんと. While shinda 死ん, "died," comes from shini-taにた.


In essence, renjoudaku works the same way as rendaku. The difference is that rendaku only changes the first syllable of a suffix, while renjoudaku merges the sounds together.

To elaborate: rendaku makes the suffix easier to pronounce after a stem that's full of hard syllables. For example, shini-kami しにみ becomes shini-gami しにみ, "god of death."

Meanwhile, renjoudaku happens when you have a nasal sound, like n ん, nu ぬ, mu む, or a a voiced sound, which is any syllable that already has a diacritic, like gu ぐ, bu ぶ, and so on, and it merges this sound with the one following it.(肥爪, 2003:107)

Overwhelmingly, rendaku is more common than renjoudaku. The word renjoudaku isn't even in the dictionaries. There's no Wikipedia article about renjoudaku, either.

Furthermore, note that there's a third thing, renjou 連声, which happens when you have a nasal stem plus a vowel in the suffix.


Basically the only place where renjoudaku is relevant at all is with the ren'youkei 連用形 form of godan verbs. When verbs in the ren'youkei form connect to the jodoushi 助動詞 ta た and te て, to create the past form and the te-form respectively, sometimes they suffer renjoudaku, sometimes not.

But that's not all, this ren'youkei form is also riddled with other changes in pronunciation: the i-onbin イ音便, sokuonbin 促音便, and hatsuonbin 撥音便, which add an i い, a sokuon 促音, represented by the small tsu, and a hatsuon 撥音, which is the term for the nasal n ん.

For reference:(肥爪, 2002:101)
  • kaku, kaki-te, kaite
    書く, 書きて, 書
    To write. (i-onbin.)
  • tsugu, tsugi-te, tsuide
    継ぐ, 継て, 継いで
    To succeed. To inherit. (i-onbin, renjoudaku.)
  • tatsu, tachi-te, tatte
    立つ, 立ちて, 立
    To stand. (sokuonbin.)
  • shinu, shini-te, shinde
    死ぬ, 死て, 死んで
    To die. (hatsuonbin, renjoudaku.)
  • kau, kai-te, katte
    買う, 買いて, 買
    To buy. (sokuonbin.)
  • yobu, yobi-te, yonde
    呼ぶ, 呼て, 読んで
    To call. (hatsuonbin, renjoudaku.)
  • yomu, yomi-te, yonde
    読む, 読て, 読
    To read. (hatsuonbin, renjoudaku.)
  • toru, torite, totte
    取る, 取りて, 取
    To take. (sokuonbin.)

Beyond the above, some yodan verbs can also get an u-onbin ウ音便, which adds an u う.
  • kafu, kahi-te, kaute
    買ふ, 買ひて, 買
    To buy. (u-onbin.)
  • yobu, yobi-te, youde
    呼ぶ, 呼て, 呼うで
    To call. (u-onbin, renjoudaku).
  • yomu, yomi-te, youde
    読む, 読て, 読うで
    To read. (u-onbin, renjoudaku.)

In the conjugations above, the only verbs that were affected by renjoudaku are those whose ren'youkei forms ended with ~ni ~に or ~mi ~み, which are nasal sounds, and those that had a dakuten to begin with: ~bi ~び and ~gi ~ぎ.

As mentioned before, this also applies to the ~ta ~た jodoushi, which creates the past form. For example: shinda 死ん, "died." not shinta 死んた.

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.

Similarly, it also affects the conditional ~tara ~たら form, which is related to ~ta ~た. For example: shindara 死んら, "if died," not shintara 死んたら. And the ~tari ~たり form, also related, shindari 死んり.

However, it doesn't affect the desiderative ~tai ~たい form, because ~tai ~たい is somehow unrelated to ~ta ~た. For example: shinitai 死にい, "[I] want to die," not shinidai 死にだい.

Other Words

The renjoudaku affects words besides the ren'youkei form of verbs. However, I've got only a few examples of that, and most of them are some really old words.

I'm putting them here for reference anyway:(肥爪, 2003:107)
  • kaubashi
    • From ka-kuhashi 香細し.[かぐはし -, accessed 2019-11-10]
    • kaguhashi
      (this is rendaku.)
    • kaubashi
      (this is renjoudaku.)
  • waraudzu
    A kind of sandal made out of straw.
    • wara-kutsu
      Literally: straw-shoe.
    • waragutsu
      (this is rendaku.)
    • waraudzu
      (this is renjoudaku.)
  • toji
  • kiji

    Green pheasant. (a bird.)
    • kigishi
    • kiji
  • obosu
    To feel.
    • Synonymous with omou 思う.
    • omohosu
    • obosu
  • nado

    Et cetera. And so on.
    • nani-to
    • nado


Changes in Pronunciation

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