Alternations of Japanese (standard)

Alternations
Alternation name Description Examples Verbs
C
y Most typically coded alternation; some verbs alternate with no morphological change. Argument-increasing alternation involves a change from an intransitive to a transitive verb; sometimes from a transitive to a ditransitive verb. Here, the verb on the list is taken to be a base form, and its directionality does not necessarily reflect the actual morphological derivation.
(90)
Ken-ga booru-o korogasi-ta.
Ken-ga
Ken-nom
booru-o
ball-acc
korogasi-ta
roll-past
‘Ken rolled the ball.’
7
U
n Uncoded alternation; there is a variety of oblique markings, and the choice of oblique markers is largely determined by the thematic property of the argument.
(95)
Ken-ga Mari-to at-ta.
Ken-ga
Ken-nom
Mari-to
Mari-com
at-ta
meet-past
‘Ken met with Mari.’
19
C
y This alternation can be made with the addition of the morpheme -(r)e or -(r)are, but when the verb is suru 'do', dekiru 'can do' is used for the potential verb. The potential forms express two major meanings: they can refer to the agent's ability to perform the described action or a circumstance where the described event can happen.
(85)
Uma-ga hasir-e-ru.
uma-ga
horse-nom
hasir-e-ru
run-pot-pres
‘The horse can run.’
64
C
y This can be done with the addition of the passive morpheme -(r)are. The erstwhile accusative object is promoted to the nominative case; the demoted subject is only realized otionally and is marked with -ni, -niyotte, or -kara.
(88)
Syasin-ga sensei-ni mise-rare-ta.
syasin-ga
picture-nom
sensei-ni
teacher-dat
mise-rare-ta
show-pass-past
‘Pictures were shown to the teacher.’
48
C
y This can be done with the addition of the passive morpheme -(r)are. The erstwhile ni-marked argument is promoted to the subject and is marked with nominative case; the demoted subject is realized optionally, and is marked with -ni, -niyotte, or -kara. The difference in passivizability emerges mainly because ni is homonymous, and is used for marking a dative argument as well as a locative.
(4)
Sensei-ga syasin-o mise-rare-ta.
sensei-ga
teacher-nom
syasin-o
picture-acc
mise-rare-ta
show-pass-past
‘The teacher was shown a picture.’
8
C
y Most typically coded alternation; some verbs alternate with no morphological change. Argument-decreasing alternation involves a change from a transitive to an intransitive verb. Here, the verb on the list is taken to be a base form, and its directionality does not necessarily reflect the actual morphological derivation.
(104)
Musume-ga huku-o ki-ta.
musume-ga
daughter-nom
huku-o
clothes-acc
ki-ta
put.on-past
‘The daughter put on the clothes.’
12
U
n Uncoded alternation: Two distinct alternation patterns are observed for locative alternation verbs. One type is found in verbs of filling, which can have either <loc, acc> or <instr, acc> frame, and the other is found in verbs of removal, which can have either <abl, acc> or <acc>. In the removal type, no oblique marking for the theme is available, and as such, the theme cannot be expressed overtly when the location is realized as an object.
(98)
Ken-ga mizu-de koppu-o mitasi-ta.
Ken-ga
Ken-nom
mizu-de
water-instr
koppu-o
cup-acc
mitasi-ta
fill-past
‘Ken filled the cup with water.’
1