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Japanese "Bikkuri Adverbs"


In Japanese there is an interesting set of adverbs which are all made up of four hiragana, the second of which is the small tsu, which "doubles" the following consonant, and the fourth of which is ri. I have asked a few Japanese if there is a name for this set of words, but have received only negative replies, which is surprising to me because there are so many of them. Since I feel that they need a name, and since it is surprising to me that they don't have one, I have decided to call them "bikkuri adverbs" because bikkuri means "surprise" and is itself a good example of one.

As with most points of grammar, there are exceptions. I call these adverbs because of the role they play in most Japanese constructions. Some of these are seen or heard as adjectives; some are combined with the verb suru (usually as shite iru or shita) to create adjectives. Some are "specialized" and only appear with a certain verb as a set phrase. Some of these are followed by to when used by some people. (The optional to does not change the meaning.) And there are some that don't sound right unless they are followed by to.

There are a couple in here that are not adverbs, but I include them because they fit the pattern.

I have created three groups. Group 1 is what I would call the "everyday group": the ones which are used the most and so should be learned first. The ones in Group 2 should be tackled next. They are also used often enough, but not as often as the ones in Group 1. I would call Group 3 the "obscure group." I personally have rarely or never heard these used, but they are in the dictionary. The words are arranged in Japanese alphabetical order within each group, followed by an example sentence or two.

These groupings have been done totally from my own experience. Your experience with the language will most likely be different to a certain degree. Good luck!

© Tim R. Matheson


Group 1

gakkari: to be disappointed

  • Sean wa shiken o subeta kara gakkari shite iru. (Sean is disappointed because he failed the exam.)
  • Sonnani gakkari shinaide! Mata tsugi no chansu ga aru kara. (Don't be so bummed out! You will have a second chance.)

gussuri: to sleep soundly

  • Sakuya gussuri nemashita. (I slept great last night.)

shikkari: strong, firm, solid

  • Shikkari shite kudasai. (Get a hold of yourself. / Snap out of it. / Don't die.) (This is always said to dying people in movies and dramas.)
  • Shikkari shita hako aru? (Do you have a sturdy box?)

sokkuri: just alike; identical (or close to it)

  • Kanojo wa Michiko ni sokkuri. (She looks just like Michiko.)

hakkiri: clear; plain; distinct

  • Iitai koto o hakkiri iinasai. (Clearly say what you want to say.)
  • Kare wa hakkiri kotowatta. (He distinctly refused.)

bikkuri: to be surprised

  • Mayonaka denwa ga natta node, bikkuri shita. (I was surprised because the phone rang in the middle of the night.)
  • Ano you ni bikkuri sasenaide! (Don't shock me like that!)

pittari: tightly; fit perfectly; exactly

  • Kono boushi wa pittari au. (This hat fits perfectly.)

yappari (slang form of yahari, and not an adverb): as expected; of course

  • Yappari, Kumiko wa okurete kita. (As usual, Kumiko came late.)
  • Yappari... (It figures...) (used to show that something dreaded has happened)

yukkuri: slowly; taking one's time

  • Douzo, yukkuri shite kudasai. (Please relax and make yourself at home.)
  • Motto yukkuri hanashite kudasai. (Please speak more slowly.)

Group 2

assari: simple, light, frank; light (food)

  • Ojii-san wa assari shita tabemono ga suki. (Grandpa likes light, simple food.)
  • Kanojo no seikaku wa assari shite iru. (She has a frank personality.)

ukkari: carelessly, absent-mindedly; by mistake

  • Sumimasen. Ukkari shite jisho o wasureta. (I'm sorry. I carelessly forgot my dictionary.)
  • Kanojo wa ukkari shite machigatta densha ni norimashita. (She took the wrong train by mistake.)

gisshiri: tight, full, close

  • Kyou no densha wa gisshiri desu ne. (The train is packed today, isn't it?)

kitchiri: punctually, sharp

  • Kitchiri shichiji desu. (It's now seven o'clock sharp)
  • Sono tokei wa itsumo kitchiri desu yo. (That clock is always right on.)
  • Kare wa kitchiri juuji ni kita. (He arrived at ten exactly.)

kossori: secretly, quietly

  • Ano futari ga maiban kossori atte iru. (Those two meet secretly every night.)
  • Kare wa jugyouchuu kossori zasshi o mite ita. (He was hiding a magazine and looking at it during class.)

sappari: neat, clean, orderly; frank, open; refreshed; entirely, completely (usually with negatives)

  • Sappari shita hito ga suki. (I like frank, uncomplicated people.)
  • Ofuro ni haitte sappari shita. (I took a bath and now feel refreshed.)
  • Tanaka-san no iu koto wa sappari wakaranai. (I can't understand a word Mr. Tanaka says.)

shakkuri: (noun) hiccup (hiccough)

  • Shakkuri shite iru. (I have the hiccups.)

sukkari: completely, all

  • Aa! Sukkari wasureta! (Oh, no! I completely forgot about it!)
  • Kanojo wa sukkari kawatte shimaimashita yo. (I tell you, she has completely changed.)

sukkiri: neat, clear, refreshed

  • Sachiko no heya wa sukkiri shite iru. (Sachiko's room is neat and tidy.)
  • Kare no iu kotoba niwa itsumo sukkiri shinai tokoro ga aru. (There's always something unclear in everything he says.)

tappuri: full; plenty of...

  • Tabemono ga tappuri aru yo. (There is plenty to eat.)
  • Jikan tappuri aru. (We have lots of time.)

battari: suddenly; with a thud; to run into someone unexpectedly

  • Kouen de Suzuki-san ni battari atta. (I ran into Mrs. Suzuki in the park.)
  • Kare wa battari taoreta. (He suddenly fell over.)

bisshori: get wet, soaked

  • Kasa o wasureta node, bisshori nureta. (We forgot our umbrellas, so we got soaking wet.)

yuttari: easy; comfortable; relaxed

  • Kore wa hontou ni yuttari shita heya desu. (This really is a comfortable room.)

Group 3

uttori: entranced, fascinated

  • Mina wa kanojo no subarashii ensou ni uttori shimashita. (Everyone was entranced by her wonderful performance.)

ottori: gentle, quiet, calm

  • Bob wa ottori shite imasu. (Bob is an easy-going guy.)

kakkiri: prompt, sharp; exactly (same as kitchiri)

  • Kono jitensha wa kakkiri san man en deshita. (This bicycle cost exactly 30,000 yen.)
  • Watashi no hikouki wa goji kakkiri ni touchaku shimashita. (My plane arrived right at five o'clock.)

gakkuri: collapse; break down

  • Shiken no kekka de Kenji wa gakkuri kita. (Kenji collapsed in shock after finding out about the exam results.)

gasshiri: stout, strong, solid (same as shikkari)

  • Kono furui isu wa totemo gasshiri dekite imasu. (This old chair is very sturdy.)

gatchiri: firmly, securely (usually used in connection with being tightfisted in money matters)

  • Ichirou oji-san wa saifu o gatchiri nigitte iru. (Uncle Ichirou is tight with his money. [Literally, "...has a tight grip on his wallet."])

kikkari: exactly, punctually (same as kakkiri)

  • Hachiji kikkari ni demashou. (Let's leave right at eight o'clock.)

kippari: definitely, positively; (refuse) flatly

  • Bob no teian wa kippari kotowarareta. (Bob's suggestion was flatly refused.)
  • Kanojo wa kippari to henji shimashita. (She gave a definite answer.)

kukkiri: distinctly, clearly

  • Kyou wa Fuji-san ga kukkiri to mieru. (Today Mt. Fuji stands out clearly.)

guttari: be dead tired

  • Mou guttari da. (I'm dead tired.)
  • Kare wa guttari to beddo ni taoreta. (He collapsed exhausted onto his bed.)

kokkuri: nod; doze (Kokkuri is usually doubled when used. It conveys the motion of "nodding off.")

  • Ano gakusei wa jugyouchuu kokkuri kokkuri shite ita. (That student was dozing off during class.)

gossori: all, entirely

  • Houseki ten ni dorobou ga hairi, houseki o gossori nusunde ita. (A thief broke into a jewelry store and stole everything.)

kotteri: thick, heavy, rich (opposite of assari)

  • Bataa o tsukatta ryouri wa kotteri shite iru. (Food made with butter is rich.)

zakkuri: thick and rough

  • Kare wa zakkuri shita fuku ga suki. (He likes roughly made clothes.)

shikkuri: suit; agree exactly (usually used negatively)

  • Bokutachi wa shikkuri shinai. (We don't get along well.)

jikkuri: closely, carefully; without hurry

  • Jisho o tsukatte, jikkuri shiraberu no ga taisetsu. (Using your dictionary and studying carefully without hurry is important.)

shittori: gentle, graceful; moist, damp

  • Watashitachi wa shittori shita funiki de hanashita. (We spoke together in a quiet way.)
  • Shibafu wa ame de shittori nurete iru. (The lawn is wet from the rain.)

suppari: flatly; once and for all

  • Kare wa tabako o suppari yameta. (He quit smoking completely.)

suppori: cover one's head completely

  • Kimiko wa suppori zukin o kabutte ita. (Kimiko covered her head completely with a hood.)

chakkari: nervy, cheeky

  • Kanojo niwa chakkari shita tokoro ga aru. (There is something shrewd and cheeky about her.)

choppiri: a little bit (slang for chotto)

  • Obaa-chan wa ame o choppiri kureta. (Grandma gave me just a little candy.)

tekkiri: surely, beyond doubt

  • Tekkiri Bob wa issho ni iku to omotta. (I was certain that Bob would go with us.)

deppuri: portly, plump

  • Sore wa deppuri futotta neko desu ne. (That's a fat cat, isn't it?)

dosshiri: composed; dignified

  • Kare wa itsumo dosshiri shite iru. (He is always composed.)

nikkori: smile at; beam at

  • Kanojo wa nikkori shite aisatsu shimashita. (She greeted us with a smile.)

nettori: sticky; clammy

  • Kare no te wa nettori shite kimochi warukatta. (His hands were clammy and felt gross.)

nossori: heavily; sluggishly

  • John wa nossori okiagatta. (John got up sluggishly.)

pattari: abruptly, suddenly

  • Kare wa kanojo to pattari tsukiawanakunatta. (He suddenly stopped seeing her.)

patchiri: having bright eyes or eyes wide open

  • Yumiko wa me o patchiri aketa. (Yumiko opened her eyes wide.)

hissori: quiet, silent

  • Machi wa kurakute hissori shite ita. (The town was dark and quiet.)

hyokkori: by chance (like battari); unexpectedly

  • Kinou kaimono shinagara hyokkori Nagao-san ni atta. (Yesterday I ran into Mr. Nagao while shopping.)
  • Kenji wa hyokkori boku no ie ni kita. (Kenji came to my place unexpectedly.)

puttsuri: entirely; utterly

  • Kanojo kara no renraku wa puttsuri nakunatta. (All communication from her totally ended.)

bettari: sticky; thick

  • Ano futari wa itsumo bettari shite iru. (Those two are always together.)

bettori: soaked; covered with

  • Kare no shatsu wa bettori penki ga tsuite ita. (His shirt was covered with paint.)

pokkiri: only; no more than

  • Watashi wa gohyaku en pokkiri shika motte inai. (I've only got 500 yen with me.)

pokkuri: to die suddenly

  • Kare wa pokkuri shinimashita. (He died suddenly.)

hossori: slim; slender

  • Kanojo wa hossori shite imasu ne. (She's slim, isn't she?)

potteri: plump; chubby (opposite of hossori; same as deppuri)

  • Potteri shita inu desu ne. (That's a chubby dog, isn't it?)

misshiri: hard, earnestly, severely

  • Sensei wa gakusei ni eigo o misshiri oshieta. (The teacher earnestly taught the students English.)

mitchiri: hard, earnestly, severely (same as misshiri above)

mukkuri: get up suddenly (opposite of nossori)

  • Neko ga mukkuri okiagatta. (The cat got up suddenly.)

mutchiri: portly, plump (same as deppuri and potteri)

muttsuri: glum; sulky

  • Kare wa kanojo no kotoba o kiitara, muttsuri damatte shimatta. (After listening to her, he became moody and silent).

mekkiri: considerably; remarkably

  • Saikin mekkiri samukunatta. (It has recently become quite cold.)

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