What are the principles behind turning foreign language words into verbs?(e.g. ググる and サボる)


I have a decent grasp on the basics, but I'm not quite clear on the details. Anyone know?

Roy Fuentes

Posted 2015-05-15T20:35:13.387

Reputation: 1 694



We can find several patterns in these derivations:

  1. Long words are often clipped:

    ハーモニー   → ハーモ
    スターバックス → スターバ
    サボタージュ  → サボ

  2. Long vowels (with ) and geminate consonants (with ) are shortened:

    グル    → ググル
    コピ     → コピ
    モ     → ハモ
    スタバ    → スタバ
    パニク    → パニク

  3. If final ル is already present, it is reanalyzed as る:

    ググ     → ググ
    トラブ    → トラブ
    ダブ     → ダブ

  4. Otherwise, final る is added:

    ハモ      → ハモ
    コピ      → コピ
    サボ      → サボ
    スタバ     → スタバ
    パニク     → パニク

Most of these verbs end up 3 moras long counting the final る. A few end up 4 moras long, or occasionally even longer.

This process is relatively productive colloquially, but most of the words people invent this way don't catch on, and only a few become well-established words. Some have been very successful, though, like your example of ググる.

These patterns aren't absolute, but they describe most of these derivations pretty well. There are exceptions. For example, people have said both ローソる (from ローソン), keeping its long vowel, and the shorter ロソる you might expect from the patterns described above.

Interestingly, these verbs always conjugate as consonant-stem verbs (五段動詞), even with examples like コピる that could conceivably be interpreted as vowel-stem verbs (一段動詞).

Learners are generally not advised to coin words like this themselves.


Posted 2015-05-15T20:35:13.387

Reputation: 42 628

2Just adding that there is a difference in pronunciation between 「トラブル」 and 「トラブる」, 「ダブル」 and 「ダブる」, etc. – l'électeur – 2015-05-15T23:42:55.140

「バグる」[software in the state of having a computer bug] is also listed in some dictionaries, but seems to be used only in the form バグってる – Craig Hicks – 2017-02-07T00:08:56.870