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Old 10-03-2010, 06:06 AM   #4
Josh Reyer
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Location: Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi
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Re: Grammar question: toru -> tori

Christopher Creutzig wrote:
This is probably a simple question for the large group of people with better Japanese than me, but I just can't figure it out: The 取り (tori) in 片手取り (katate tori) etc. comes from 取る (toru; grab, catch), right? Is this a verb form my books fail to mention or an abbreviation?

I did notice that there are quite a few compounds such as 取り上げる (toriageru; to pick up) that also use 取り seemingly from 取る -- is this the same usage pattern?
"Tori" is what's known as a stem form. What are known as "godan doushi" (five-level verbs) form their stem by turning their final "-u" into an "i". Other verbs, for example, "taberu" (stem = tabe-) or "miru" (stem = mi-) don't do this. Some verbs can form nouns from their stem forms. "Toru" is one of them. Not all verbs can do this.

Words such as "toriageru" are compounds -- in compounds the second verb is attached to the stem of the first. This words are essentially similar to what we call phrasal verbs in English -- "pick up", "eat out", "run away", "turn on".

So while "tori" can be used in some contexts as a noun, it's not quite the same process as when it's used in a compound. As another English example, the word "meeting" in the sentences has the same form, even though the parts of speech are quite different.

"I have a 10:00 meeting."
"It was nice meeting you."

Christopher Creutzig wrote: View Post
Which probably shows what a poor way of learning a language books are. They only tell me to create nouns from verbs by using the -te form.
I don't believe they are telling you that. The "-te" form is a conjuctive form that links the verb to the next verb or phrase. It does not form nouns. The difference between the "-te" form and the above compound form can be seen below:

toriageru - to pick up
totte ageru - to take and raise/lift (also an idiom for "to take for someone")

There are two ways to make nouns from verbs in Japanese:

1. Use the stem. This doesn't work with all verbs. With the verbs it does work on it can create either a gerund-like form, or a complete separate noun related to the verb, or both. Tori is an example of both; it can refer to either a hold (thus katate-dori), or the person doing the holding.
2. Add "koto" or "no" to the dictionary form to create a gerund-like noun. For example, I cannot simply use the stem of "taberu" (tabe-) to mean "(the act of ) eating". So if I want to say, "I like eating", I have to say, "Taberu koto ga suki" or "Taberu no ga suki."

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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