起きる vs. 起こる - "To occur"


#1

So, when I learned these two words back during my high school study/minor, I always distinguished them as being “to wake up” and “to occur,” respectively. These are also the primary definitions offered by Wanikani.

However, in practical reading, I’ve seen a few instances of 起きる being used in the “to occur” sense. I see most dictionaries also list it as having an alternate definition of “to occur,” usually in reference to unfavorable events.

What’s the nuance here? Is 起こる the go-to for occurrences while 起きる is generally favored to convey displeasure? Thank you to anyone who can help me sort this out!


#2

As I read some examples given, my impression is using 起きる for “to happen” seems to have a more dramatic flair. I’d say your impression is right.

http://www.weblio.jp/content/起きる
「大地震が-・きた」 「奇跡が-・きる」 「火災が-・きる」

It seems like those are some pretty intense things happening, rather than any old mundane thing.


#3

There is a slight nuance and image difference, that’s about it. Keep 発生する in mind too, you’ll hear that a lot in the news when there was an accident or something like that but using that in normal conversation is quite stiff.

There’s good discussion about 起きる/起こる at https://oshiete.goo.ne.jp/qa/1087820.html
The first reply is a very good answer and goes in detail at the nuance/image differences.


#4

Thanks, all! Very detailed answers.

Thank you for the heads up on 発生する as well.


#5

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