Anyone interested in the Classical Japanese verbal system should hie themselves to this post at IbaDaiRon Blog and the subsequent lengthy analysis at No-sword (1, 2). I can grasp only the basics myself, but here’s a summary of current thinking (at least on Matt’s part):
A CJ verb consists of stem + ending. There are three main types of verbs:
* C-type verbs are consonant-stem (sC) (e.g. omoh.u).
* V-type verbs are vowel stem (sV) (e.g. mi.ru, ke.ru).
* D-type verbs have a consonant stem (sC) and a vowel stem (sV) (e.g. sug.u/sugi, at.u/ate) The vowel stem is used whenever “available” (usually for MZ, RY and MR) and the consonant stem otherwise, but for some reason the RT and IZ consonant stems always take the post-vowel allomorphs.
Those of you who know what’s going on will definitely enjoy the discussion and perhaps want to contribute. Doozo!