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Saturday, April 9, 2022

~ru ~る Verb Suffix

In Japanese, ~ru is a syllable found at the end of many verbs in nonpast form (or dictionary form, shuushikei 終止形, rentaikei 連体形). All ichidan 一段 verbs end in ~ru, so they're also called ru-verbs. Some godan 五段 verbs (a.k.a. u-verbs, for they all end in ~u) also end in ~ru. Consequently, the nonpast form is also known as the ru-form. What's interesting is that ~ru ~る is sometimes used to create new verb words as some sort of verbalizing suffix, typically out of gairaigo 外来語 or other loan words written in katakana カタカナ, leading to verbs that are a mix of katakana and hiragana ひらがな, like:(some examples from news.nicovideo.jp)

  • memoru
    メモる
    To take note of. (from memo メモ, a "note.")
  • misuru
    ミスる
    To make a mistake. (omae no misu da! お前のミスだ!, "that was your miss (mistake)!")
  • toraburu
    トラブる
    To get into trouble. (from "trouble," toraburu トラブル.)
    • To LOVEる is the title of a manga and anime series that's a pun on this word. It's read toraburu とらぶる, "to" as to と, "love" as its katakanization rabu ラブ, and lastly the ~ru suffix, which means "to love"-ru is a verb in the title, i.e. literally "to 'to love'."
  • tenparu
    テンパる
    To be one tile away from winning. (in mahjong 麻雀マージャン, which is kind of a card game but with "tiles," hai 牌, where you have to form a pattern to win, the term tenpai 聴牌 テンパイ refers to being one tile away from completing the pattern and winning the round.)
    To be frustrated. To be at one's wits' end.
  • guguru
    ググる
    To google. (from "Google," guuguru グーグル)
  • saboru
    サボる
    To skip work. (from French "sabotage," sabotaaju サボタージュ)
ケンカ 人数 多い ちょっと待てや 今ググってるから
Manga: Gokushufudou 極主夫道 (Chapter 8)

Conjugation

New verbs created through the ~ru ~る suffix are conjugated like godan verbs, which is kind of awkward, considering it's ichidan verbs that are called ru-verbs in English. Anyway, for reference, the conjugation of Google:

Form Conjugation
mizenkei
未然形
gugura~
ググ
(e.g. ~nai ~ない.)
guguro~
ググ
(e.g. ~u ~う.)
ren'youkei
連用形
guguri~
ググ
(e.g. ~masu ~ます.)
shuushikei
終止形
guguru
ググ
rentaikei
連体形
kateikei
仮定形
gugure~
ググれ~
(e.g. ~ba ~ば.)
meireikei
命令形
gugure
ググ

Its tensed forms:

Tensed form Plain form Polite form
hikakokei
非過去形
Nonpast form
guguru
ググる
Googles.
Will google.
gugurimasu
ググります
(same meaning, polite.)
kakokei
過去形
Past form
gugutta
ググった
Googled.
gugurimashita
ググりました
(same meaning, polite.)
hiteikei
否定形
Negative form
guguranai
ググらない
Doesn't google.
Won't google.
gugurimasen
ググりません
(same meaning, polite.)
kako-hiteikei
過去否定形
Past negative form
guguranakatta
ググらなかった
Didn't google.
gugurimasen deshita
ググりませんでした
(same meaning, polite.)
kanou-doushi
可能動詞
Potential verb.
gugureru
ググれる
Can google.
guguremasu
ググれます
(same meaning, polite.)
ukemikei
受身形
Passive form.
gugurareru
ググられる
To be googled.
guguraremasu
ググられます
(same meaning, polite.)
shiekikei
使役形
Causative form.
guguraseru
ググらせる
To make [them] google.
To force [them] to google.
To allow [them] to google.
gugurasemasu
ググさせます
(same meaning, polite.)
~te-iru form. gugutte-iru
ググっている
To be googling.
To have googled.
gugutte-imasu
ググっています
(same meaning, polite.)
gugutteru
ググってる
(contraction.)
guguttemasu
ググってます
(contraction, polite.)
~te-aru form. gugutte-aru
ググってある
To have googled.
gugutte-arimasu
ググってあります
(same meaning, polite.)
~te-shimau form. gugutte-shimau
ググってしまう
To end up googling.
gugutte-shimaimasu
ググってしまいます
(same meaning, polite.)
gugucchau
ググっちゃう
(contraction.)
gugucchaimasu
ググっちゃいます
(contraction, polite.)

Other forms:

Form Conjugation
tai-form guguritai
ググりたい
[I] want to google.
ba-form gugureba
ググれば
If [I] googled.
gugurya
ググりゃ
(contraction.)
tara-form guguttara
ググったら
If [I] googled.
Volitional form. gugurou
ググろう
Let's google.
zu-form gugurazu
ググらず
Without googling.

Grammar

There isn't really much one can say about the grammar of this ~ru ~る. It simply creates new verbs, neologisms that are basically portmanteaus from random foreign words or parts of foreign words together with a ~ru suffix.

It's worth noting that this isn't the only way to create new verbs. The verb suru する can be used to create a verb by turning a noun into a suru-verb. For example:

  • copii suru
    コピーする
    To do a "copy."
    To copy.
  • copipe suru
    コピペする
    To copy-paste.
  • bijinesu wo suru
    ビジネスする
    To do business.
  • reberu appu suru
    レベルアップする
    To level up.

You can do it with any noun, so one could say:

  • guuguru suru
    グーグルする
    To do a "Google."

But whether people understand what that means depends on whether the word is used that way or not, and for some reason guguru, with the ~ru suffix, ended up being common than guuguru suru, with the suru verb, so people don't say the latter, they say the former.

ケンカ 人数 多い ちょっと待てや 今ググってるから
Manga: Gokushufudou 極主夫道 (Chapter 8)
  • Context: Masa 雅 finds himself surrounded, pulls out his smartphone.
  • kenka, ninsuu, ooi
    ケンカ  多い
    Fight, number-of-people, many.
  • chotto mate ya, ima gugutteru kara
    ちょっと待てや 今ググってるから
    Wait a bit, [I] am googling right now.

Considering the above, one may wonder if guguru isn't some sort of abbreviated form of guuguru suru, and likewise, memoru of memo suru, and so on, such that the ~ru suffix is actually the ~ru ending of suru.

That doesn't seem to be the case, considering that when you conjugate ~ru-suffix-verbs, they match the godan verb conjugation, but suru doesn't match the godan verb conjugation, so you don't, for example, remove the first syllable of suru and attach it to gugu~/memo~. Observe:

  • Negative form: guuguru shinai グーグルしない vs. guguranai ググらない. Where does that ~ra~ in ~ranai come from?
  • Potential form: guuguru dekiru グーグルできる vs. gugureru ググれる. Okay this one feels like cheating.
  • Passive form: guguru sareru グーグルされる vs. gugurareru ググられる. Again, where does the ~ra~ come from?
  • te-form: guuguru shite グーグルして vs. gugutte ググって. Where does the small tsu come from? From sokuonbin 促音便, of course.

Lastly, the ~i ~い ending found in i-adjectives may also be similarly suffixed to random stuff to create new adjectives, e.g.:

  • emoi
    エモい
    Emotional.

References

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