I was watching Cure Dolly, and she (helpfully, IMO) pointed out that you could often tell “self-move” verbs from “other-move” verbs because the self-move verbs originally had their root in aru, if I recall correctly. And I’ve been applying that as I notice it, and it’s been most helpful. And I noticed (on my own, hopefully it’s right), that eru generally means doing-unto-others, the opposite. It’s not always the case, but often enough.
So today I’m learning “to be mixed,” and it’s spelled 混じる. I’m wondering if the じ might mean “oneself,” as it sometimes does, and more generally do the other various syllables that occasionally pop up before the final u-syllable mean something? Why is 食べる taberu, instead of pronouncing 食 as “tabe” for a shorter 食る … does the separate べ signal something obvious to Japanese speakers that I’m not getting yet?
I remember when learning English as a child my delight in discovering how the language worked, that un-, dis-, mis-, etc. could negate a concept, or that -ful, -ish, -al, -ious, etc., turned the quality into an adjective, for instance. As I aged and learned Latin, I could see so many helpful latin syllables inserting themselves into English words. Is there anything like that in Japanese? (Because if I could remember the rule, how much simpler than having to remember every verb ever!)
(I know about “conjugating,” so I don’t mean verb endings that convey meaning, I mean the syllables between the Kanji of the concept and the ending u-syllable. Or, heck, if the choice of u-syllable matters, I’d love to read about that too–it would awesome to learn that (to make up 2 totally fictitious examples) “-mu” means bringing something into the body and “-su” means moving locations, etc.).
I hope this makes sense,