By John R. Bentley

The oldest written degree of the japanese language kinds the topic of John Bentley's vital quantity. The underlying texts (also awarded the following) are these of the non secular liturgies (norito) and imperial edicts (A.D. 685). half one bargains with the liturgies, the writing process, texts, and phonology and the relationship challenge. the most chapters of the ebook are an outline of nominals, verbs, verbal suffixes, auxiliary verbs, debris, and conjunctions. A bankruptcy at the lexicon, detailing many hapax legomena and engaging phrases, makes this right into a significant reference paintings on early eastern.

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Extra resources for A Descriptive Grammar of Early Old Japanese Prose (Brill's Japanese Studies Library)

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6 Many Chinese-Japanese character dictionaries state that the go'on of and is ku, but I have not been able to find a single compound with these characters where the reading is ku. I have thus left the go'on reading as ko. 42 CHYAPTER THREE Fig. 9. ) It is clear that each graph used to transcribe a specific Japanese syllable used a certain Chinese syllable to make the distinction. There is some apparent vocalic confusion, but considering that the orthography as a whole was imported into Japan in several stages over the course of two centuries, we know that various strata of characters have become intermixed.

12. Correspondences for Vowel /iy/ Id An upper-mid front unrounded vowel. While I have reconstructed the vowel as [*e], the interpretation of these Sino-Xenic data are not 8 Sino-Korean is from Cenun okphyen (Ch. Quanyin yupian, 1868). PHONOLOGY 45 without some difficulties. Below is a simple chart with Sino-Korean and Sino-Japanese and the eight graphs under consideration (figure 13). Fig. Vowel/ye/Chart This chart suggests that perhaps the sound was [e]. These data as presented above likely preserve various strata of Chinese data that have not been sufficiently sifted.

In the vernacular, this graph is used for a man's genitals. " If this interpretation is valid, then the inscription takes on a more vulgar meaning, with kuri 'chestnuts' having two meanings. 18 CHAPTER TWO These clues have not been fully exploited yet, and a comprehensive linguistic study of norito has not been undertaken to date. There are several reasons for such casual indifference to the linguistic value of these liturgies: a) norito are often viewed as originating from the Heian era rather than the Nara, so scholars assume these liturgies do not preserve the Old Japanese eight vowel system (ko-otsu distinction), b) The liturgies are primarily written in Chinese, thus obscuring the actual nature of the underlying Japanese, c) The very fact that the liturgies are written in Chinese infers that these religious texts have little native literary merit, because it is difficult to extract native Japanese from the text.

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