Any patterns to exceptions using kun'yomi in words with okurigana?


I’m early in my time learning kanji, and I’m starting to get exposed to on’yomi versus kun’yomi pronunciations. I’ve searched old posts with tips to figuring out when to use on’yomi and when to use kun’yomi. It looks like there are some tells that show you which one you’ll need. I’ll try to learn those over time, but I have question to make sure I’m on the right track.

Is this correct? Kanji with okurigana will typically use kun’yomi pronunciation. Numbers are an exception. Another seemingly random exception is 大した - which uses the on’yomi pronunciation of 大(たい)

Is there some tell for an exception like that or is it simply memorization? It seems kind of like English’s “i before e except after c…and also except for these dozen or so exceptions.”, but I want to make sure I’m not just misunderstanding before I try to commit it to memory that way.

TLDR: Are exceptions to using kun’yomi when okurigana is present just random memorization or is there a way to easily spot it? Example: 大した (たいした)


Well, I find that sometimes you can kind of guess based on how strange the pronunciation would be if it were to use the normal kun’yomi. With the example of 大した you provided, おおした (what 大した would be if 大 used the kun’yomi) seems to be strange or incorrect for some reason I can’t articulate very well, so I would guess that おお is not the right reading of 大 in that case.

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A general rule (I think?) is when the okurigana is somehow similar to する or a conjugation (した like in your example), then it‘s on‘yomi.
„Somehow similar to する“ means ずる and じる, like 感じる, 禁ずる and many more. Some also don‘t have rendaku but just plain する (like 制する) instead (which is sometimes shortened to just す, and actually 制す is also correct. In these cases it might be tricky to guess that it‘s on‘yomi since most verbs ending in す are read kun‘yomi, but I guess you just get used to it over time.)


When I think about it, does indeed seem like it is the case more often than not, though it does not work in all cases. The counterexample of 混じる occurred to me, for the ま for 混 there is kun’yomi.

I couldn’t think of a counterexample, but you’re right. At least for ずる endings it should be unambiguous though :sweat_smile:

Both 混じる (まじる) and 混じる (こんじる) exist.


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