か vs した Example?

Hi Everyone!

I had a question in regards to the on’yomi and kun’yomi reading of 下 . I was wondering if anyone could provide example sentences of when to use the か pronunciation vs the した pronunciation? I’ve been getting the reading wrongs because I can’t seem to wrap my head around it.

1 Like

Welcome!

When 下 (meaning “below” / “under”) is a word on its own, it will always be read as した. For example, 椅子いすした means “under the chair”.

When used in many (but not all) compound words, 下 is pronounced か. For example, 落下 is pronounced らっか and 地下鉄 is pronounced ちかてつ.

3 Likes

Well if you are saying 下 for ‘below’ it’s した. In any other cause, you have to learn the reading of the word as it can be:

か as in 廊下
した as in 年下
げ as in 下品
くだ as in 下さい
さ as in 下がる
etc.

Then there are words with exception readings that use neither its on or kun readings like 下手.

But you would never just say か as if its a word unto itself.

4 Likes

Also, before @athomasm’s post scares you too much, it’s important to note that 下 is one of the worst offenders for being a kanji with many common readings. Most kanji don’t have that many.

7 Likes

Yeah, it’s pretty ridiculous when it comes to kun readings.

Okay I definitely was a little scared after seeing the post about all the different possible pronunciations so thank you for the reassurance about 下 being one of the kanjis with A LOT of different readings. So if I understand correctly, the か pronunciation will only be used with combination kanji similar to 下さい and 下がる while the した pronunciation will be used when the 下 kanji is by itself?

1 Like

Yes, か will only be used in compound words and as a suffix. した will be the reading for the word ‘below’.

Got it! Thank you so much @seanblue and @athomasm! Really appreciate the help.

2 Likes

Well, I’m not sure if it’s just going to be confusing, but your two examples are closer to being like the word した than they are to being like words that contain か.

You picked words that are not compounds.

か appears in compounds.

2 Likes

Yeah I think I used kanji with okurigana as an example? And I think that’s different from compound Kanji? As you can see, I’m only level 1 so it’s still a learning process. I haven’t really ran into many compound kanji like the example that was provided above. I guess what confused me initially was the Wanikani ‘Please come down’ sentence example: ‘下に下りてきてください’

The two 下 kanji in the beginning made wonder if I use か for one and した in the other, but I probably just overthought it. Can’t wait to learn more as I level up and for an update that reads the example sentences aloud as well.

2 Likes