178 - Get Out of Here!

If you have been learning Japanese for a while, you have realized that the verb is the most important part of a Japanese sentence. In fact, verbs are so important that whole Japanese sentences can be made from just one verb.

食べる?
たべる?
Will you eat?

So I am sure you have been studying tons of verbs… Right?
Aaaand because Japanese is hard, just when you think you have this verbs thing down, you suddenly run into compound verbs like 乗り換える(のりかえる).
乗る(のる) “to ride” + 換える(かえる)”to change.” So 乗り換える means “to change trains/buses; to transfer.”

There are tons of these compound verbs in Japanese that are used every day. And even worse, sometimes the compound verb has almost no relation to the two verbs that make it up.

For example:
落ち着く(おちつく)is made up of 落ちる(おちる)meaning ”to drop” and 着く (つく)meaning ”to arrive.”
However, the meaning of 落ち着く is “to calm down.”

But I wouldn’t be telling you all this if there wasn’t hope!
Most common verb compounds have specific rules you can learn, so you can easily group and remember them.

Today, I want to go over one of the most common verbs used in these compounds ~出す(だす).

出す on its own means “to go out, to take out, to get out, to remove.”

~出す has 3 different meanings when it is connected to other verbs:


1.) Something is starting
降り出す(ふりだす) “to start raining
言い出す(いいだす)"to start saying
燃え出す(もえだす)"to start burning

私は、列車が動き出すのを感じた。
わたし は、れっしゃ が うごきだす のを かんじた。
I felt the train start to move.
Literally: “I + は + train + が + start to move + のを + felt.”


2.) Something comes out of somewhere naturally
噴き出す(ふきだす)"to spout/shoot out
流れ出す(ながれだす)"to flow out
わき出す(わきだす)"to spring out

炎が窓から噴き出した。
ほのお が まど から ふきだした。
Flames shot out of the window.
Literally: “flames + が + window + from + spouted.”

びんが割れてワインが流れ出した。
びん が われて わいん が ながれだした。
The wine flowed out of the broken bottle.
Literally: “bottle + が + broken + wine + が + flowed out”

*Note: Since we're talking about something emerging naturally, we could also use the verb suffix ~出る(でる)instead of ~出す(だす)for all of the examples under #2. For some of these, it might even be a bit more common. Remember that 出る(でる // to go out; to leave; to exit)is the intransitive version of the transitive verb 出す(だす // to take out; to get out). Niko briefly talked about transitive and intransitive verbs back in Lesson #4.


3.) Something comes out from somewhere by your own volition
押し出す(おしだす)"push out
引き出す(ひきだす)"pull out
取り出す(とりだす)"take out

未来の目標の計画を書き出す。
みらい の もくひょう の けいかく を かきだす。
Write out a plan for your future goals.
Literally: “future + の + goals + の + plan + を + write out.”
Note: In some contexts, 書き出す can also mean "to start to write."

すぐに答えを考え出した。
すぐに こたえ を かんがえだした。
I came up with the answer right away.
Literally: “instantly + answer + thought out.”
Note: In some contexts, 考え出す can also mean "to start to think."

Note: The difference between the last 2 meanings can be a bit tricky. Number 2 has a natural meaning; when lava is emitted from a volcano, or when steam comes from a kettle, it's something you have no control over. Number 3 is something you are doing on your own like running out of a room or searching for a pen in your bag.


Once you know some of the rules for these kinds of verbs, they become much easier to understand. Keep an eye out for future lessons about compound verbs. Learning just a few of these can give you a huge leg up when trying to make sense of more complicated Japanese words and phrases.

This lesson was written by Cassy L., a guest contributor:

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