見つかる

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kachibi

Senior Member
Chinese
I know 見つかる is a verb, but in dictionaries, it means "to be found", so it is per se a passive verb?

In English, all verbs are in default "active" ones, e.g., "to eat", "to play", "to fly", etc., unless you turn the relevant sentences into passive voice ones yourself, e.g., "an apple is eaten...", "the doll is played by...", etc.

So, does the example of 見つかる, which itself already is a passive-form verb, mean there are other alike verbs in the Japanese language?
 
  • Techref

    Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    見つかる is a intransitive verb.
    For the passive form見つけられる, it is usually used on the transitive verb 見つける.
    At least for me personally.

    Eg: He was caught cheating in the exam.
    彼は、試験中に不正行為・カンニングをしていて見つけられました。
     

    kachibi

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    OK. But I want to know if there are also other "defaulted to be passive" verbs in the Japanese language as well?

    As a second language user of English, I have not come across an "originally passive" verb like 見つかる in English. Like in English we don't have "found" (which should be "find") as the basic form of the verb conjugation.
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    Here is an exhaustive list of intransitive and transitive verbs pairs. In some pairs transitive verbs are the base forms and in other pairs intransitive verbs are the base forms. There are pairs still where both are the derived forms. Have fun:
    http://nihon5ch.net/contents/ch5/kosatsu/47.html

    If you look up English verbs such as decoy, factor, fasten, and film in the WordReference English-Japanese Dictionary, you will find out how they are both transitive and intransitive in single forms.
     

    kachibi

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    OK thanks, now I try to accept that such kind of verb exists in the Japanese language. And as I have seen the examples of 見つかる, I realize the use of が/ は instead of を, I think it's pretty reasonable because を is used to present a passive voice sentence. Now since 見つかる itself is already a "passive" verb, it is not correct or necessary to use を, が or は is instead the correct one. Just like the example below.

    あなたの時計みつかった。

    Is my understanding correct?
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    Your example sentence is okay, but you are confused in the following:
    I think it's pretty reasonable because を is used to present a passive voice sentence.
    Particle -o marks the direct object of a transitive verb in an active sentence. Passivisation causes a transitive verb to be unable to take an object and dethrone the agent (the one who does the action to the object) as the subject. The new subject in a passive sentence is the object of the active version. Intransitive verbs (more precisely, unaccusatives) are of a different but similar ilk. They tend to be used with inanimate subjects.
     

    kachibi

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    OK, thanks! But if just talking about the following sentence, is my understanding correct?

    Now since 見つかる itself is already a "passive" verb, it is not correct or necessary to use を, が or は is instead the correct one.
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    You cannot take out a single sentence from your argument like this. I don't understand what you mean by the quoted "passive." As I said, 見つかる is an intransitive verb of the unaccusative type. Whatever your reasoning is, an intransitive verb cannot have an object. In other words, it cannot mark a noun with -o.

    Edit: Well, in a sense, intransitive 見つかる is like the passive 見つけられる. If that is what you meant, you are probably on the roght track.
     
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    kachibi

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thanks for the reply, @Flaminius. Perhaps I should start everything (of solving my question) with a simple question first:

    How do you translate "見つかる" in English? Just like 食べる is "to eat".

    In dictionaries, I normally see it translated as "be found".
     

    Techref

    Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    Thanks for the reply, @Flaminius. Perhaps I should start everything (of solving my question) with a simple question first:

    How do you translate "見つかる" in English? Just like 食べる is "to eat".

    In dictionaries, I normally see it translated as "be found".
    Hi
    I guess very much you answered it yourself.
    "見つかる" in English is "to be found/discovered"

    It sounds passive in English, but in fact it is not.

    Let me try to put it simple ( 日本語のネイティブスピーカー の 皆様、間違っていましたら、ご訂正ください ) :
    as a transitive verb
    1. 警察が泥棒を見つけました。(The police is the subject)

    as an intransitive verb
    2. 泥棒が警察に見つかりました。(The robber is the subject)

    as a passive verb (seldom used by a 3rd speaker. But the robber himself would say this and he regrets)
    3. 泥棒(私)が警察に見つられました。
     

    Yokozuna

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    I agree with Techref for #10.
    I feel some emphasis on 'passiveness' in 見つけられる = getting annoyed or implying there is some effort in the finding process.
    (I think 見つけられる is usually used as 'be able to find' rather than as a passive form)

    So, does the example of 見つかる, which itself already is a passive-form verb, mean there are other alike verbs in the Japanese language?
    Yes, I think we do have several intransitive verbs which have passive nuance(Passive-like Verbs), other than 見つかる.

    捕まる=be caught
    負ける= be defeated
    やぶれる=be torn or be defeated
    知れる=be known
    授かる= be given
    教わる=be taught
    ,etc.
    受動詞の意味的特徴に関する一考察 - 筑波大学
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    I think the unaccusatives are best explained with inanimate subject. Consider the following triplets:
    Transitive: お茶を入れたよ。(where the implied subject is the speaker.)
    Intransitive: お茶が入ったよ。
    Passive: お茶が入れられたよ。

    Transitive and intransitive versions are both sound, but people tend to choose the intransitive in order not to appear ingratiating. The intransitive version focuses on the result and little cares who or what has brought it about.

    In contrast with the former two, the passive version sounds awkward. The implied subject is never construed as the speaker, nor is the listener expected to avail themselves of the brewed tea. If I borrow from Mr. Meng's idea (link supra) about the passive construction being the most subjective of the three types, お茶が入れられた goes to show that it is a subjective statement about an event that is not immediately relevant to either of the interlocutors. Passive sentences are, in fact, quite common in texts that require objectivity. Writings of technical, academic, or administrative nature usually depict a world where I and You are not given special treatment. This is where the passive voice comes to the fore.

    Edit: one more example
    Intransitive: 窓が開いた。
    Passive: 窓が開けられた。
    The intransitive version means either 1. The window opened by itself; or 2. The sentence describes the result of a foregoing action. E.g., 私が力一杯押したら、やっと窓が開いた。 In understanding 2, it is clearly the strength of the speaker that brought about the result, the window being open, but it's not said with the same nuances as in the speaker opening it.

    The passive version always supposes someone that opened it. Understanding 1 (opened by itself) is impossible.
     
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    kachibi

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thanks for all. OK, now I first accept the meaning of 見つかる as "to be found". I think it may be much easier to learn it from simple examples first, like this one:

    北斗七星は簡単に見つかる

    First, can someone tell me your translation of the above sentence?
     

    SoLaTiDoberman

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    北斗七星を簡単に見つける。 (The abbreviated subject) find(s) the Big Dipper easily.
    -->(私は)北斗七星を簡単に見つける I find the Big Dipper easily.
    -->(彼女は)北斗七星を簡単に見つける She finds the Big Dipper easily.
    -->(私たちは)北斗七星を簡単に見つける We find the Big Dipper easily.
    -->(彼らは)北斗七星を簡単に見つける They find the Big Dipper easily.
     
    The intransitive version means either 1. The window opened by itself; or 2. The sentence describes the result of a foregoing action. E.g., 私が力一杯押したら、やっと窓が開いた。
    I have been pondering for days.
    I think 窓が開いた and お茶が入った are not strictly comparable to ~が見つかった. They differ in the degree of control an agent has over an event.

    お茶を入れる and 窓を開ける are so-called 意志動詞. The agent has full control over the situation to achieve the intended result.
    ~を見つける is less so. It is most often an accidental result, although sometimes the agent may manage to complete the event as a result of attempting something else.

    In a context where the result's point of view is called for, お茶を入れる and 窓を開ける are less likely to be used, because when viewed from the action agent's perspective, he himself carrying out the actions is not a result only known after being observed, but a process known before/while being initiated.
    Therefore when the action initiator confirms the result to himself, he is most likely to say お茶が入った and 窓が開いた.

    ~を見つける seems different in this regard. One cannot control and predict when he finds something but realizes it afterwards. It is very common to use 見つける to confirm to oneself his own actions.

    Let's consider your example again,
    私が力一杯押したら、やっと窓が開いた
    Is the transitive version ① as natural as as your original example?
    ①私が力一杯押したら、やっと窓を開けた”
    And compare the following sentences
    ②探して探して、やっと見つけた
    ③探して探して、やっと見つかった
    ④やっと見つけることができた
    ②見つけた version is as valid as the ③見つかった version despite a what you called forgoing action explicitly mentioned in the context.
    The ④ seems to mean something like "I finally managed to accomplish my original goal of finding it with some difficulty". ③ can be similar to ④
    But how does ② やっと見つけた differ from ③ やっと見つかった in this particular context?

    On second thought, when the choice of both normal/active form and potential/intransitive form are possible, potential/intransitive might have to do with the fulfillment of an intended goal or realization of a desired outcome, whereas the normal/active form simply renders the situation as an unexpected/unanticipated/accidental development.
    君に会って最悪だ
    君に会えてよかった
    いいこと(が・を)思いついた。
    嫌なこと(を)思い出した

    The problem becomes more complicated when we deal with other narrative styles. Transitive/active verbs are used even when the desired result is achieved with great difficulty. Is it because the view point is shifted from the action agent's perspective from the action recipient's perspective?
    見ぃつけたっ♪
    とうとう追い詰めたぞ
    捕まえたぞ
    I had a difficult time wrapping my head around it and decide to pause here.
     
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    Yokozuna

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    I think 窓が開いた and お茶が入った are not strictly comparable to ~が見つかった. They differ in the degree of control an agent has over an event.
    ↑I agree with your explanation about the difference between 見つかる and 開く/入る, but for other parts, I think Flaminius is right.

    {Edit:
    見つかる usually takes an animate agent, and it is easier to describe who is the agent in one sentence.
    We need によって to indicate who/what is the agent of 開く, whereas に is enough for 見つかる.
    (I think this gives the impression 見つかる is more passive-like than 開く)
    e.g.
    隠していたものが母見つかった
    さび付いた鍵が名人によって開いた.

    For 見つける/開ける/入る, whether an agent is intentional depends on the context, not on the verbs.
    (You can not control when you find something, but it doesn't mean 見つける is less intentional than 開ける/入る.)
    'うっかり開けた', 'あっ、いいもの見つけた'←unintentional, by chance
    ’やっと開けた’, 'とうとう見つけた'←intentional}

    ② 探して探して、やっと見つけた ← Focusing on the action 'to find' or 'I did'
    ③ 探して探して、やっと見つかった ←Focusing on 'what was found'

    How difficult it was to find doesn't seem to be different because it is already emphasized in '探して探して、やっと'.

    {Edit: There is no big difference between ② and ③.
    In ②, you are enjoying the fact you've found what you were looking for. In ③, you are happy to get what you were looking for.

    But it doesn't mean 見つけた and 見つかった are always interchangeable.
    When you and your friends are looking for a missing cat and you see one of the searcher returning, you would usually say '見つかったか?' because you are focusing on the result of the search and also you are not focusing on who finds the cat.
    While in hide-and-seek, you would say '見つけた!', because you are focusing on the fact 'I' find.}

    Transitive/active verbs are used even when the desired result is achieved with great difficulty
    ↑ I think this is not strange.
     
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    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    I enjoyed reading your oeuvre, YangMuye. Yes, 見つける is less volitional than 開ける or 入れる, and that can account for some of its exceptional behaviours.

    A few comments ensue.
    ①私が力一杯押したら、やっと窓を開けた
    This sounds wrong. The clause-linking たら expects other subjects for the protasis than that of the apodosis. I'd expect the intransitive version in the apodosis; hence my original.

    ③探して探して、やっと見つかった
    ④やっと見つけることができた
    The same goes for 探して in ③, but the constraint feels considerably weaker than it does for たら (Edit: I tend to use the te-form like the English present participle. What I feel here may be akin to an English speaker's discomfort for dangling participles). I slightly prefer やっと見つけた. Once, however, I accept the syntax of 3, it is only different from 4 in the intensity of the perceived difficulty of achieving the same goal.

    The problem becomes more complicated when we deal with other narrative styles. Transitive/active verbs are used even when the desired result is achieved with great difficulty. Is it because the view point is shifted from the action agent's perspective from the action recipient's perspective?
    見ぃつけたっ♪
    とうとう追い詰めたぞ
    捕まえたぞ
    It's not so difficult. If an utterance takes place in such a way that the only contextually relevant persons are the first and the second (starring only you and I), the Japanese language is far more comfortable with I being the subject than with you being the same. Of course, this has not been always the norm in the history of the language. But 汝は吾に欺かえつ (the traditional reading of 汝者、我見欺 in 古事記 [上-4]) sounds definitely weird to the modern ears.
     
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