I started a longish post but couldn’t find the mojo to finish it this weekend, so instead here’s a funny picture:
Sometimes people ask from what variety of Chinese did each of the traditional kanji “readings” came. Short answer, according to Miyake:
- Late Old Chinese, Early Middle Chinese probably through Sino-Paekche → go-on;
- Chang’an Late Middle Chinese → kan-on;
- Song/Yuan Late Middle Chinese onwards → tôsô-on.
Long answer: it’s complicated.
(This is about modern transcriptions using the Latin alphabet; if you’re looking for historical Old Japanese transcription techniques, might I interest you in this other post?)
Because I’m quoting material from different works in this blog, I can end up citing various transcriptions and romanizations, which can be confusing. In fact I am confused. This post is to attempt to set things straight about how people represent Old Japanese (OJ) words in modern texts.
In discussions of Japanese, the secondary number system (hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu &c.) is often described as “remnants of an older, native system” without further explanation. Kudos to Miller 1967 for actually describing the older, native system—at least as far as the limited written records allow us. I often want to refer to it so I’m copying it here.
I’m unsatisfied with the low frequency of posts in this blog. My worries about quality have been working as a writing-block more than anything else. So I decided to take a different approach in 2012 and blog regularly, even if this means making more personal or casual posts, or just quoting books I’m reading &c.
For now I’ll strive to publish something every Sunday ; let’s see what such a rhythm feels like.
I love this apparently archaic phenomenon of Japanese (it only
happens with native, yamato-kotoba words). Here are