第249課: 他受動詞

If there is such thing as a 自受動詞, then 他受動詞 ought to exist as well. Unsurprisingly, they do. The only difference between the two is that 他受動詞have a minimum requirement of three arguments.

i. [I] am being taught [karate] by [my instructor.]
ii. [I] am borrowing [this pencil] from [my friend].
iii. [I] was entrusted with [the care of several animals] from [my neighbors].

Although Japanese has a high tendency of dropping things that are apparent in context such as first person and other elements of the sentence, with verbs that are 他受動詞, the three arguments of “subject,” “direct object,” and “indirect object” are always implied because they are absolutely required in the same sense that they are with their English equivalents in the examples above.

As you should have already gathered, the Japanese equivalents of the verbs in the examples above along with other verbs like them make up the topic of this lesson. The verbs to be looked at are categorized neatly below. As you can see, comparing them to their passive transitive counterparts will be the primary goal of this lesson. The dichotomy for 他受動詞 behaves the same as with 自受動詞. That means if you figured out the nuances discussed in the previous lesson, then this lesson should be a breeze.

Movement of Information

教わる vs 教えられる

Movement of Something

授かる vs 授けられる

預かる vs 預けられる

借りる vs 貸される

Carrying out Orders

言い付かる vs 言い付けられる

言付かる vs 言付けられる

Being Caught Doing Something

見つかる vs 見つけられる

捕まる vs 捕まえられる

Movement of Information

教わる vs 教えられる

Contrary to expectations, 教えられる is not that frequently used in the passive form. This is because its uses in light honorifics and as the potential form of 教える are more common than its passive meaning. When the passive meaning is employed, it is usually juxtaposed with 教える in some way, or the statement itself is personally indifferent.

1a. 私は李先生{に・から}韓国語会話を教わっています。
I’m learning Korean conversation from Mr. Lee.
1b. 私は李先生から韓国語会話を教えられていますよ(△)。
I’m being taught Korean conversation from Mr. Lee.
1c. 私は李先生{に・から}韓国語会話を教えてもらっています(よ)。
I’m having Mr. Lee teach me Korean conversation.

Grammar Note: When using the passive form as shown in 1b, the personal nature of the statement in combination with the relative lack of use of this form for such a personal comment requires that the particle から be used in order to make the sentence passable as natural. It’s also important to note that when there is a clear person stated as to who is teaching you, 教えてもらう is used more than 教わる. This is so the subjective nature of the flow of learning is emphasized since 教わるnaturally lacks a subjective feel to it because it is a 他受動詞.

2. 温室おんしつでの栽培さいばいのやりかたおそわっています。
I’m being taught how to cultivate in a greenhouse.

3. ネイティブから英語えいごきょうわらないほうがいいかもしれない。
It might not be best to learn English from a native.

4. 先輩せんぱいからおそわったことがなかなかおぼえられません。
I can’t seem to remember what I learned from my senpai.

5. 広州こうしゅうで、餃子ぎょうざめんつくかたおそわりました。
I learned how to make gyoza and noodles in Guangzhou.

6. 家庭教師かていきょうしほう英語えいごおそわっていました。
I had been learning English from a private teacher.

7. かれ間違まちがった歴史れきしおしえられているという認識にんしきがない。
He has no knowledge that he is being taught incorrect history.

8. おしえるがわおしえられるがわは、どちらの立場たちばうえですか。
Which standpoint is higher in rank, ‘teaching’ or ‘being taught’?

9. うたおしえられて浅瀬あさせわたる。
A fool may give a wise man counsel.

10. おしえたりおしえられたりするときに大切たいせつなのは理解りかいすることです。
What’s important when teaching or being taught is understanding.

11. 会話かいわおしえられても、つづりをきちんとけなければならない。
Even if you’re taught conversation, you still have to be able to properly spell.

12. 仕事しごとあきらかに間違まちがいをおしえられているとおもう(ん)なら、きちんと仕事しごとをして見返みかえしてやってはどうですか。
If you really think that you are being taught something clearly wrong at work, why not get back at the person by doing the job properly?

13. 教師きょうしから間違まちがいをおしえられました。
I was informed of my mistake by a teacher.

14. 道徳どうとくおしえられるのか。
Can morals be taught?

15. 先生せんせいなにおしえられているんですか。
Teacher, what is it that you teach?

Movement of Something

授かる vs 授けられる

The verbs 授かる and 授けられる have the following meanings.

  • 授かる: To be awarded; to receive (a title); to be blessed with (a child).
  • 授ける: To grant; to award; to teach (a secret).

Together, they create an intransitive-transitive verb pair even though both utilize the particle を. Both words are quite literary and are rarely employed in the spoken language. As for 授けられる, it is not used nearly as often as 授かる, but when it is, the context is usually religious and/or text translated from European languages.

授かる being more objective and 授けられる being more subjective is certainly applicable here, but as you will see in the examples, 授かる tends to be more natural; however, there are many instances in which another verb altogether is more common. Even so, one nuance that 授かる and授ける would share that another verb wouldn’t necessarily have is emphasizing how what is being bestowed is something worth more than what can be bought by money. Essentially, price tags aren’t placed on what is being given.

16. 女王陛下じょおうへいかから爵位しゃくいを{あたえられる・さずかる・さずけられる}。
To be awarded a court rank from Her Majesty.

17. 弟子でしたちは、神様かみさま{に・から}さずけられた権威けんいって悪霊あくりょうし、やまいいやし、かみくにつたえるためにつかわされた。
The disciples, with power granted to them [by/from] God, were sent to cast out evil spirits, heal disease, and proclaim God’s kingdom.

18. 戒名かいみょうとは、元々もともと仏教徒ぶっきょうととなったときにさずけられる名前なまえで、本来ほんらい生前せいぜんさずかるものです。
A (posthumous) Buddhist name, was originally a name granted to someone once he became a Buddhist, and so originally, it was something awarded during one’s lifetime.

19. 戒名かいみょうかならずしも僧侶そうりょから{さずかる・さずけられる}ものではない。
A posthumous Buddhist name is not something you are granted by a monk.

20. 人間にんげん理性りせい良心りょうしん{あたえられている・さずけられている} 。
Humans are given reasoning power and a conscience.

21. ロシア皇帝こうていから勲章くんしょうを{ける・さずかる・あたえられる・さずけられる}。
To [receive/be granted] a medal from the Russian emperor.

Aside from the disciples, no man has been bestowed the secrets of God’s kingdom.

23. この称号しょうごう王家おうけ認証状にんしょうじょうさずけられ、特許状とっきょじょうによってさずけられるのではない。
This title is granted by royal charter; it is not granted by a patent.

Grammar Note: Ex. 23 demonstrates how 授けられる is the correct form when using the 連用中止形. However, another reason that makes it the appropriate verb choice is that the entity granting the title is bureaucratic in nature, although royal. Although homage is being paid to the royal establishment, the sentence sounds procedural and not one of glorification.  

24. 教会きょうかいどもに洗礼せんれいさずけました。
I baptized the children at (the) church.

25. 子供こどもさずからない人生じんせいえらんできたのです。
I’ve chosen a life of not being blessed with children.

預かる vs 預けられる

The verbs 預かる and 預ける create an intransitive-transitive verb pair for “to take care of” and “to leave in someone’s care.” Incidentally, both verbs utilize the particle を. However, the “who” does what isn’t the same. For 預かる, it is either the speaker taking care of something for someone or the speaker telling someone to look after someone. For 預ける, the speaker is leaving something in someone’s care. The something is often money, kids, or other things that need taking care of that you entrust with someone.

Although 預かる typically translates as “to take care of/to look after,” 預けられる typically translates as “to be given custody/to be left…to look after/to be entrusted with…” It turns out that from the standpoint of English phrasing, there shouldn’t be much reason why you would ever confuse the two.

26. わすものあずかっています。
I’m looking after lost belongings.

27. 斉藤さいとう元妻もとつまから子供こども無理むりやりあずけられて困惑こんわくした。
Saito was bewildered from being forcibly given custody of his kids by his ex-wife.

Spelling Note: 無理やりmay also be spelled as 無理矢理.

28. 叔母おばにおかねあずけました。
I entrusted money to my aunt.

29. かぎあずかってください。
Please hold onto the key.

30. きゅう用事ようじ出来できたので、保育所ほいくじょ短期間たんきかんだけ子供こどもあずかってもらえるでしょうか。
I’ve got a sudden matter to attend to, so could I have my kids looked after for just a short period of time at a nursery?

31. ちいさいうちから保育園ほいくえんあずけられている子供こどもって可哀想かわいそうじゃないですか。
Aren’t kids who are left in the care of a nursery school from a young age pitiable?

32. ペットホテルには、予防接種よぼうせっしゅをしていない動物どうぶつあずけられているため、自分じぶんのペットが感染かんせんしてしまうかもしれないというリスクがあることをご理解りかいください。
At the pet hotel, because there are also animals in its care that are not immunized, please understand that there is the risk that your pet may become infected with something.

33. 荷物を彼に預けました。
I entrusted my luggage to him.

34. あずけられない手荷物てにもつはありますか。
Is there any baggage that can’t be kept?

35. 子供こどもあずけられないのでれていくつもりでいますが、大丈夫だいじょうぶでしょうか。
I’ve been planning to bring my children along because I can’t leave them somewhere, but would that be okay?

借りる vs 貸される

The verbs 借りる and 貸す create an intransitive-verb pair for “to borrow” and “to lend” respectively. Etymologically speaking, 借りる is the intransitive counterpart of 貸す. In fact, for most of its history, it’s actually been 借る, which is still a valid form of the verb in most of West Japan. Incidentally, both the concept of borrowing and the concept of lending involve the particle を.

The two verbs technically become synonymous when す becomes 貸される. This is because “to be lent” is the same thing as “to borrow.” The only difference is that “to borrow” always implies that one is purposely having someone loan something to oneself whereas if one is lent something, the lender could just be providing a kind gesture without seeking any word as to whether the act is necessary in the first place. Incidentally, this nuance splicing creates problems with the frequency of use for 貸される. It turns out that its only practical application is with the set phrase 手を貸す (to lend a hand). As you will see, a foreseeable situation to use the passive form is when an opponent/adversary offers a hand to you, but you don’t necessarily like the fact that the person did so.

36. 住宅じゅうたくローンをりています。
I’m borrowing a home loan.

37. 友達ともだちしたおかねかえってこない。
The money I lent my friend has yet to return.

38. されることがきらいながいれば、積極的せっきょくてき大人おとなりるもいます。
If there are kids that hate having a hand lent to them, there are also kids that positively borrow a hand from adults.

39. 相手あいてからされたら屈辱くつじょくだとおもわない?
Do you not think it’s a disgrace to be lent a hand from an opponent?

40. わたし年収ねんしゅうでいくらりられるんですか。
How much can I borrow with my annual income?

Carrying out Orders

言い付かる vs 言い付けられる
仰せ付かる vs 仰せ付けられる

The verbs 言い付かる and 言い付ける create an intransitive-transitive verb pair meaning “to be told to/ordered to” and “to tell to do/order to do/to tell on someone.”

The objective/subjective dichotomy between 他受動詞 and the passive forms of their transitive counterparts becomes very evident with 言い付かる and 言い付けられる. 言い付かる is rather objective and it is safe to assume that the order is legitimate and deserves being followed trough. In Ex. 43, you can see how it would be used in reference to an order from a superior. 言い付けられる, on the other hand, almost always refers to orders people essentially drag you down with. Most contexts involve the speaker being annoyed at the person making all the orders.

As for 仰せ付かる and 仰せ付けられる, the only difference is that the element of the verbs meaning “to say” is replaced with the honorific form of 言う, 仰せる, usually seen as 仰る (a contraction of 仰せられる). However, as you may be able to deduce from what’s been said thus far, the concept of respecting the order of a superior and being melodramatic about being bossed around don’t mix together. As such, 仰せ付けられる is essentially not used. However, you might find it in obscure text from older translation works from European languages. In which case, it would come from a literal translation in which the passive is used with an explicitly stated indirect object. Overall, it is important to note that 仰せ付かる  is not really used aside from contexts such as Ex. 44.

41. 用事ようじけてこないでください。
Please don’t come telling me to take care of something.

42. 夜勤明やきんあけでかえってきたばかりなのに、いぬ散歩さんぽいつけられた。
I was told to walk the dog despite having just gotten home from night shift.

43. たな整理せいりを{かった・けられた}が、整理能力せいりのうりょくがまったくないのでこまっています。
I was [ordered/told to] arrange the shelves, but because I have absolutely no organization skills, I’m in a bind.

44. 大役を仰せ付かりました。
I’ve been appointed an important task/major part.

45. つま浴槽よくそう掃除そうじいつけられた。
I was told to scrub the tub by my wife.

言付かる vs 言付けられる

The verbs 言付かる and 言付ける have the following meanings:

  • 言付かる: To be entrusted with; to be asked to.
  • 言付ける: To have a word/item sent; to make an excuse.

Both words are meant to be formal. The former may be seen in business settings in which one is entrusted with a message to relay information. Ex. 47 is exemplary of honorifics that is slightly out-of-date, not because of the word choice but because of the situation in which one implies you’re going to meet someone of importance outside one’s inside group because one is following orders. In the minds of people today, that takes away from one’s sense of humility towards a client.

言付ける, alternatively spelled as 託ける, has two rather different meanings. The first is translated in a way that makes it seem to be passive in nature, but this is only an issue with English phrasing. In actuality, it simply refers to entrusting a word/item to someone so that it may be passed to the right person. The second usage meaning “to make an excuse” has for the most part been entirely taken over by the verb , which incidentally is also spelled as 託ける. This coincidence likely has a reason for why the verb overall is usually not used, being substituted for an explanation of the circumstances. The passive form 言付けられる is hardly ever used. Although it can be used in completely grammatical sentences, it is simply out of style.

46. なに伝言でんごん言付ことづかっておりません。
I have not been entrusted with any messages.

47. 橋本が只今出張中の為、佐々木様によろしくお伝えくださいと言付かって参りました。
Mr. Hashimoto is currently on a business trip, and so I have come to convey his best regards to you, Mr. Sasaki, per his request.

48. 山本殿やまもとどの境内けいだいまでおれするよう言付ことづかってまいりました。
I have come here under orders that I lead you into the compound, Lord Yamamoto.

49. よう言付ことづかってました。
I have been brought here under orders of service.

50. よう言付ことづけられてやってきた。
I came here under the pretext of a task.

Being Caught Doing Something

を見つかる & を捕まる

With the addition of what one is caught “doing” 見つかる and 捕まる can be used as 他受動詞. It is important to note that although some speakers will occasionally use them anyway, the passive transitive counterpart forms are not compatible in this situation. This is because there is no intent involved with the speaker being caught doing something. The situation is spontaneous and there is no logical reason for subjectivity to be interjected. People sometimes just get caught red-handed.

51. ベッドでているところをつかったねこおどろいてした。
The cat caught sleeping on the bed was startled and ran off.

52. まちでデートしているところをつかった。
I was caught on a date in town.

53. 親に酒を飲んでいるところを見つかった。
I was caught drinking by my parents.

54. 活動家かつどうか25にじゅうごにん油田ゆでんのプラットフォームをおそっているところをつかまった。
Twenty-five activists were captured assaulting an oil platform.

55. かれらは女性じょせい難民なんみんのふりをしているところをつかまった。
They were captured pretending to be women and refugees.

56. かれ運転中うんてんちゅう携帯けいたい使用しようしているところをつかまった。
He was caught using his cellphone while driving.