見返る intransitive usage


#1

I noticed in the example sentence for 見返る the particle を is used to indicate what’s being looked back on. Am I reading this wrong?
ガシャーンと大きな音がして、私は思わず後ろを見返った。

I was thinking you can only use を with the direct object of a transitive verb, but I don’t see one in this sentence, only the intransitive 見返る. I would have expected 思わず後ろに見返った.


#2

Hmmm, I couldn’t say =/. I’m having enough trouble translating it correctly, haha. I think it goes something like this?:

“After a loud crash and a bang, I reflexively looked behind me.”


#3

I believe that this is just a natural collocation for 見返る. I’ve looked at both through google searches and 後ろを見返る is more common that 後ろに見返る. In addition, I found 後ろを見返る entered in two separate dictionaries as examples. But I’m sure the phrase itself isn’t as widely used though because there weren’t many hits for it compared to other things I’ve searched for in the past. With that being said, 後ろを見返る still goes together when it is used.


#4

This collocation database gives を as the most commonly used particle with 見返る:

In fact, you can see 後ろを見返る as the 5th most common collocation in the middle column.

http://nlt.tsukuba.lagoinst.info/headword/V.09193/


#5

見返る and 見返す are different from the usual transitive/intransitive pair. In these pairs, the transitive one is often about causing the intransitive one to happen to the object (e.g. 始める means basically “to cause 始まる”; 返す means “to cause 返る”). That’s not so here. 見返す does not mean “to cause 見返る”. In this case, 見返る is only intransitive because no object is needed: the 後ろ object is already implied by the verb itself. So there is some redundancy in saying 後ろを見返る, but that’s not necessarily wrong.

We should also consider the secondary meanings of 見返る and 見返す, when we’re not talking about physically looking back. 見返す has a more neutral sense of “review”, or a sense of “showing off when you win” (if you win, your opponent is, metaphorically (if not literally), behind you, so you look ‘back’ at them to humiliate them). 見返る, on the other hand, has more of a secondary sense of “being emotionally hung up over something” - this is where a secondary meaning of を itself comes into play: When you’re talking about a verb of emotion, を is often used to mark the cause of that emotion, even if it’s not a direct object. (This probably explains why 後ろ isn’t the top collocation in the chart @toc linked.)


#6

Awesome, those are really good explanations, thank you! The University of Tsukuba web corpus is especially useful, I’m definitely bookmarking that one. Knowing whether a verb is transitive vs intransitive has been really tricky for me, and I like that in the WaniKani reviews I’m able to learn the difference between ‘to return something’ and ‘to be returned’ instead of just learning ‘to return’ for both 返る・返す

Thanks again!


#7

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