化物語 pronunciation

Why is 化物語 pronounced ばけものがたり and not ばものがたり?
Isn’t 化 pronounced either ば or か/け?

The ばけ reading comes from 化ける.

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You can write 化物 as 化け物.

I’m assuming it’s related to 化ける - to appear in disguise, to take the form of

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化物 can also be written as 化け物 (it’s actually usually written that way according to Jisho). This happens a fair bit with Kanji compounds, a common example is ()()り written as 締切 (しめきり).

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Since it’s just the words 化物 and 物語 combined, my guess would be because those words are read that way which means the title wouldn’t work as intended otherwise(unless I’m just misunderstanding the question and that’s not what’s being asked about)

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Everyone else has answered your main question, so I figured I’d just raise something: actually, okurigana (the kana added to a kanji to indicate the pronunciation of the rest of the word) usage is quite flexible. For example, 表れる and 表われる are both valid ways of writing ‘arawareru’, and 番組 is preferred to 番組み. It ultimately comes down to common okurigana usage for each compound, and sometimes okurigana are removed altogether for these sorts of multi-word compounds, leaving only the kanji.

Another hint as to the reading is that ばけもの and ものがたり are common compounds on their own, so given that the reading of 物 had already been suggested by 語, it makes sense to use the ばけ reading for 化.

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Thank you @Wonkyth, @ekg and @Lahoje! I did not know that the Okurigana can be sometimes dropped in writing but still pronounced. Does this way of dropping but still pronouncing have a name?

Also I am surprised how fast the answer came, this community is the best, I love you guys <3

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My question was about the dropped け in 化(け)物. But I have to admit that it looks and sounds better the way the title is pronounced.

That is helpful, thank you very much.

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I don’t know that there’s a specific word for it.
I found a source that appears to be a style guide about it, and it seems to just use 送り仮名を省く (“omitting okurigana”), with the options in general being 送り仮名の付け方

In my experience reading, I’ve seen writers from around the 1920s omit okurigana between compound verbs much more frequently than modern sources (although I don’t know anything about how the original text would have compared to the modern editions I was reading). So anecdotally I would expect to see it happen more often with older sources, or with titles like the one you brought up (where it just looks cooler to be all-kanji). (and where the reading is still unambiguous of course).

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In Judo, the terminology is primarily from the 1880’s and is all like this. eg 送足払 = 送り足払い = おくりあしはらい. I think it was a deliberate stylistic choice to sound more ‘respectable’.
I read an article about different usage of Chinese influenced vocabulary and structure by time period, genre and gender (C19th men using more Chinese and less kana for example) but I can’t find it again for the life of me.

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