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."
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."