|Kanji in this term|
Literally, 下二段 (shimo nidan, “lower bigrade”) refers to how the inflected endings are located in the gojūon table. 下 (shimo, “lower”) means the vowel e, which is written “below” the vowel i, the other inflection-related vowel. 二段 (nidan, “two grades”) means two vowels are involved, since each 段 (dan, “row”) of the table contains one vowel. Thus this can be understood as “two-voweled conjugation in e”.
- (Classical Japanese grammar) a verbal conjugation class with the following inflections: -e/-e/-u/-uru/-ure/-e[yo]. Examples:
|得 (-, “to gain”)||得 (e)||得 (e)||得 (u)||得る (uru)||得れ (ure)||得 (e)|
得よ (eyo2 → eyo)
|受く (uk-, “to receive”)||受け (uke2 → uke)||受け (uke2 → uke)||受く (uku)||受くる (ukuru)||受くれ (ukere)||受け (uke2 → uke)|
受けよ (uke2yo2 → ukeyo)
|植う (uw-, “to plant”)||植ゑ (uwe → ue)||植ゑ (uwe → ue)||植う (*uwu → uu)||植うる (*uwuru → uuru)||植うれ (*uwure → uure)||植ゑ (uwe → ue)|
植ゑよ (uweyo2 → ueyo)
The subscripts in the table above indicate differences in vowel class that were already being lost in Old Japanese. It remains unclear what those different vowel classes may have meant. See the Syllables section in the Wikipedia article on Old Japanese for more details.
- Verbs in this class are superseded in modern Japanese as transitive 下一段活用 (shimo ichidan katsuyō, “lower monograde conjugation”) verbs:
- Some verbs in this class also make way in modern Japanese as intransitive 五段活用 (godan katsyō, “quintigrade conjugation”):
- 受く (uku) → 受かる (ukaru, “to pass (an examination)”)
- 植う (uu) → 植わる (uwaru, “to be planted”)
- 蹴う (kuu) → 蹴る (keru, “to kick”)