上がる vs 上げる, and 下がる vs さげる

I have a question about verb conjugations. Specifically, with the transitive and intransitive forms. I know that the difference between 上がる and 上げる is that the suffixes がる and げる control whether or not the verb acts upon other objects, but every time I do the reviews this always just manages to slip out of my mind. The meaning mnemonic only helps describe which is which, but doesn’t provide any way to memorize it. Should I just trial and error until it sticks or is there a better way to memorize it?

2 Likes

I found this article really helpful, especially for the ~える / ~ある pairs:

6 Likes

Ohh, I got stuck on these too a lot before I read another mnemonic somewhere on WK forums for 上がる and 下がる. Props to whoever posted that. :slightly_smiling_face:

So now, I just think the “rise” and “fall” (of "ga"laxies). Then, the "ge"s would only be “raise” and “to lower”. Also, 上 = a(bove) while 下 = sa(gs down/below).

Of course, the link above is more comprehensive.

3 Likes

I post the following every time this comes up. I had 100% accuracy on these until they were burned ever since I first learned them over a year ago so it works pretty well:

  1. Say 上がる
  2. Stand up.
  3. Say 上げる
  4. Raise your right hand.
  5. Say 下がる
  6. Sit down.
  7. Say 下げる
  8. Lower your right hand.
    Repeat this a few times and it should stick. Feeling silly while doing it will also help it stick. As will saying it in a sing-song voice.
8 Likes

Seeing them one at a time confused me at first too. I could nail the readings, but confused the definitions. But when I looked at them side-by-side and compared them I noticed that the transitive form had an E and intransitive had an A. You could say the transitive verbs have a “cause-and-effect” relationship–my water bottle will not move itself, but because I grip the water bottle and move my arm the effect is that I raise the water bottle. So my mnemonic for remembering which is which is “E stands for Effect.” So far in my studies this seems to work pretty well. If it fails at some point, then I can come up with a new rule, and by then I will already have the previous transitive/intransitive pairs memorized.

2 Likes

Yes, kawajapa AKA cure dolly sensei! She taught me those 3 rules and ever since I haven’t had any trouble remembering which is which! Also, remember that in Japanese there’s so such thing as intransitive and transitive verbs. They’re called 自動詞 (jidoushi) or 他動詞(tadoushi), which in other words means self move verbs and other move verbs. Those words come from european languages, I guess, and they are used because it makes it easier for european languages speakers.
There are some instances where we believe a verb to be, for instance, transitive and then we see it working as intransitive. Please learn them as such!
pd> mistakenly replied to someone else, sorry lol

1 Like

I can’t stand this claim that there’s no such thing as intransitive and transitive verbs in Japanese, just because one person finds it convenient to teach them as “self move” and “other move” verbs. That’s like saying there’s no such thing as bicycles in Japanese because 自転車 is really a self rotate car.

Such as?

1 Like

I feel it’s more like the pendulum swing of learning. The CD stuff provides some shattering insights to people at a certain stage of learning, but the delivery leaves something to be desired. As you refine your understanding, the pendulum swings back around.

I think the main point of that lesson in particular is that transitivity in Japanese is different enough that you should stop referring to the English words and use 自動詞 and 他動詞 in order to keep that difference in mind.

That’s kind of true. Instead of a dual (bi-) wheel (cycle) thing, it’s a self-rotate-vehicle. And even cycle can mean rotation or revolution, so dual-rotate thing is accurate to some degree.

These are two viewpoints of the same physical object built up independently. While they can be 99% similar in cases, it’s not the same, and that’s what I see as the advantage of the CD type of teaching. It shows you the difference in the mindset so that you can better understand it.

You’re not actually suggesting that 自転車 and “bicycles” are different types of objects that just overlap a lot, are you?

EDIT: Okay, you did say you don’t think that… but that’s kind of the whole point of the Cure Dolly stuff, though. That they really are two different things, so that’s why they recommend against not using the English word.

1 Like

Dude I feel you. I always end up guessing every time I review these. This past week I was watching an episode in Naruto and they said あげる! to raise some barrier up when fighting. Now that I heard one of the words used with context, I can remember it better.

1 Like

No, I’m suggesting that the process in going from “physical object -> mental model -> expression as language” is similar but not exactly the same when applying a label to an object from different languages/cultures.

Why is it called a bicycle? Because of the Greek and Latin roots of the words. I first learned it as “uila”, which literally just means wheels. But in every case, you apply a label to the physical object based on your understanding of that object.

No frame of reference is superior to the other, but thinking in another frame of reference is useful for understanding it.

In the case of a bicycle, it’s seems too simple because each frame of reference agrees on the exact physical object. But when you get to abstract concepts like transitivity where there isn’t agreement, then you have to step back and look at the process to understand the frame of reference.

Why do they call them 自動詞 and 他動詞? That’s the question that’s opens up the avenue to understanding, I think.

And I think that’s great. Breaking down the language to help understand it can really help at times. But that doesn’t change the fact that they are still simply intransitive and transitive verbs.

1 Like

Eh… Japanese people themselves use 自動詞 and 他動詞 to talk about intransitive and transitive verbs in English…

For instance, in these definitions of “project”

(自動詞) 突き出る。突出する。
(他動詞) 投影する。映写する。
(他動詞) 突き出す。突出させる。
(他動詞) 計画する。企画する。
(他動詞) 見積もる。予測する。
(他動詞、 再帰動詞) 印象づける。示す。

I guess this means we need to decide who wants to be the Cure Dolly of English. (though now that I think about it, there are already lots of Youtube channels with annoying robot voices).

And yeah, I don’t think it’s wrong to just think about how they formed the concept… most native speakers of English don’t think about what an intransitive or transitive verb is, so learning the concept in Japanese can be eye-opening. But yeah, it’s mostly just that I can’t stand Cure Dolly, so I’ll stop harping on it.

2 Likes