Learn triple Japanese with compound verbs

Many want to increase their vocabulary in the Japanese language, the verb being one of the main focuses, since it allows people to express actions. There is a simple technique that can triple your Japanese learning called compound verbs.

Compound verbs are nothing more than two verbs that together form a third different verb. Compound verbs in Japanese are called Fukugou doushi [複合動詞] where [複] means double and [合] means join.

When studying compound verbs, you learn 3 words at once, the compound verb in addition to the 2 verbs that make up the compound verb. Studying using compound verbs can enrich your Japanese and even triple the speed of your learning.

Learn triple Japanese with compound verbs

Understanding compound verbs in Japanese

There are verbs composed just to express two actions happening at the same time, but there are also verbs that together form a new action that can only be written using this composition of two verbs.

In reality, compound verbs can work in several ways:

  • Combination of verbs that express sequential or simultaneous actions;
  • The second verb adds meaning to the first verb;
  • The first verb acts as a prefix and modifies the second verb;
  • The 2 verbs come together to form a new word with a new meaning;

Remembering that a compound verb is not necessarily a verb together with another verb. Sometimes a verb can be composed of a particle, adjective, noun, but there are other cases apart.

There is no standard used to differentiate the function of these compound verbs, you need to understand the meaning and function of each verb. Some examples of compound verbs are:

  • Hashiri-tsuzukeru [走り続ける] which means keep running;
  • Yomi-hajimeru [読み始める] which means to start reading;
  • Hanashi-au [話し合う] which means to discuss, talk and negotiate;
  • Omoi-dasu [思い出す] which means to remember and remember;

Note that the first verb usually appears in the form of a noun. For example, if we take hanashi in Hanashi-au, we have the noun conversation which is hanashi [話]. Similarly oh [思い] can mean thoughts.

So in addition to learning 3 verbs at once, we can try turn the verb into a noun. This is easy because most verbs are conjugated in a form similar to the noun, except in cases like hanashi [話] which appears without [し] when it is a noun.

A tip to find out the meaning of the compound verb is to paste it into Google Images. Sometimes the dictionary has so many meanings that we are totally confused, google images can help in this regard.

List of compound verbs - Fukugou Doushi

Kuichigau [食い違う] - Disagree, run against, defer, collide, go wrong; 
  • Kuu [食う] - Eating;
  • Chigau [違う] - To differ, it is wrong, different;
Kumikomu [組み込む] - Insert; include; incorporate
  • Kumu [組む] - Cross, trace, unite;
  • Komu [込む] - Fill, fill, shake, place, dive, continue;
Detekuru [出て来る] -Exit, appear, emerge, come out; 
  • Deru [出る] - Leave;
  • Kuru [来る] - Come;
Ochitsuku [落ち着く] - Calm down, recover, compose, establish; 
  • Ochite [落ちる] - Fall, decrease, fail;
  • Tsuku [着く] - Arrive, sit down, reach;
  • Things like coming to your senses, getting somewhere;
Aogimiru [仰ぎ見る] - respect, look upwards (sky); 
  • Aogu [仰ぐ] look up;
  • Miru [見る] see;
Aoritateru [煽り立てる] - to alarm, to worry, to be agitated; 
  • Tateru [立てる] - lift, place, lift, push;
  • Aoru [煽る] - Shake, instigate, hit;
Naguriau [殴り合う] - Two people punching each other; 
  • Naguri [殴り] - hit;
  • Au [合う] - Join, merge, combine;
  • Literally a punching match;
Atehamete [当てはめて] - Fill; 
  • Up until [当あて] - objective, purpose;
  • Hameru [嵌める] - Insert, place;
Asobiniiku [遊びに行く] - Play outside; 
  • Asobu [遊ぶ] - Play, play;
  • Iku [行く] - Go;
  • に - Particle;
  • This does not seem to be quite a compound verb, since it has a particle, but it is good to leave an example.

You might prefer to peruse a site made by NINJAL that shares over 2759 compound verbs in English, Japanese and Korean. The sites in question are: db4.ninjal.ac.jp/vvlexicon and nlb.ninjal.ac.jp/headword

I hope these tips help you improve your Japanese. Isn't it much better to learn several words and verbs at once? If you liked the article, share and leave your comments.

Share This Article:

Leave a Comment