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11

Kanji were originally from Chinese. Japanese used extremely accented Chinese (sorta like what they do with English now) to pronounce Middle Chinese words, which eventually became 音読み. For example 日本 /njit.pon/ became /nippon/. For 訓読み, they simply find the nearest native Japanese word in meaning. You can imagine an English person seeing 走 and pronouncing it ...


10

I took a look at the book OP mentioned and following is a super-simplified summary of how "ン" was invented, as described in the book. I'm no historian nor linguist, so I can't guarantee this is true. There was no kanji for "ん/ン" at all in Man’yōgana (万葉仮名). This is partly because, in those days, the Chinese writing system also had no simple character for ...


10

Yes, it was one form. From here: 奈良時代には、「オ」は [o] 、「ヲ」は [wo] と発音されており明確な区別があった。借字(万葉仮名)では、オには意・憶・於・應(応)・隱(隠)・乙などの字が用いられる一方、「ヲ」には乎・呼・袁・遠・鳥・鳴・怨・越・少・小・尾・麻・男・緒・雄などが用いられていた Translation In the Nara period, オ was pronounced as "o" and ヲ was pronounced as "wo", and were clearly distinguished. [借字]{しゃくじ}(Manyogana) used 意・憶・於・應(応)・隱(隠)・乙, etc. for オ and ...


7

[Rewritten from comments above.] Regarding the annotation 一云左必之佐, page 353 in 萬葉集三 (ISBN 4-00-240003-4) in the 新日本古典文学大系 series says: 西本願寺本などには「一云左必之佐」の注記があるが、天治本・類聚古集・広瀬本など非仙覚本系の諸本にはそれがない。また、「左必之佐」の「必」は甲類の仮名であるが、「‌​寂しさ」の意ならば「び」の仮名は乙類でなければならない。「一云左必佐」の本文は、後世の鼠入と思われる(有坂秀世『国語音韻史の研究』)。 As indicated, an analysis of the various manuscripts shows that this ...


5

Actually 邪 has a long history of being used for its sound alone, going back at least to the Warring States Shakespeare, Zhuangzi: 天之蒼蒼、其正色邪。其遠而無所至極邪。 The sky looks very blue. Is that its real color, or is it because it is so far away and has no end? [tr. Burton Watson] Here the character 邪 is twice used simply to represent the sound of asking a ...


4

I presume this habit stems from times, when Japanese was written in 漢文. To make sure that 夢橋 is read with the Japanese reading, you would write a ノ in the column, resulting in 夢ノ橋 read as ゆめのはし. You would never read that as むのきょう, whereas 夢橋 could be read as either ゆめばし or むきょう. The only reason for the ノ being written in カタカナ is that annotations were ...


1

According to Wikipedia, it would appear that there were in fact a wide range of characters used for any given sound prior to the de-facto standardization that was the creation of the Kana syllabaries (keeping in mind, of course, that at their roots the kana characters are either cursive forms of characters [ひらがな] or isolated elements of characters [カタカナ]). ...



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