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May
31
comment What is the difference between 美しき and 麗しき?
Yeah, I would very much bet that the mismatch between -i and -ku has to do with the move of the government to Edo and the subsequent shift of the prestige dialect from Kyouto to Edo.
May
31
comment What's the relationship between 'e' and 'wa' in some words?
Also, the Ryuukyuuan languages all form adjectives with root+*-sa+*-aru, and *-ku is just an adverbialiser (not a ren'youkei form); which suggests that Proto-Japonic didn't have Old Japanese's verbal adjective system (though it doesn't prove it).
May
31
comment What's the relationship between 'e' and 'wa' in some words?
I'm less sure of that - I know it's been argued that those are evidence of a different adjective strategy (more like English's), though I sadly cannot remember where I read it. The evidence seems clear to me, though, as adjectives are quite badly integrated into the verbal system: they compound as bare roots, not as ren'youkei; and they're missing a number of stem forms - the mizenkei, izenkei and meireikei are all supplied with forms of ari.
May
31
comment Is verb ending ない shortened to ん?
Some of Kansai keeps it, not all - the stereotypical Kansai negative is -へん, a soundchanged form of the above-mentioned せぬ.
May
12
comment How are the noun 方【へ】 and the particle へ related?
The common romanisations use <ye> for /e/ for some reason, so it doesn't actually reconstruct to *pje, just *pe (though that's probably from a Proto-Japonic *pja or *pia). Just so you know! ^_^
Apr
30
comment -ei/-you alternation in some kanji: what's going on?
Originally the -you ones ended in -eu, so there's more similarity between the two than is immediately apparent.
Apr
10
comment is “こっかい” a heteronym?
@Szymon - if you look at tone crosslinguistically, there's no real justification for the term 'pitch-accent', since there's no reason to believe 'pitch-accent' is fundamentally different from normal tone. Basically, Japanese has a very small number of tone distinctions per word (due to things like tones spreading across several syllables), whereas Chinese has tone distinctions on every syllable. Japanese isn't the only tone language that doesn't allow tone to change within a syllable - most Athabaskan and Bantu languages are the same.
Apr
8
comment Appropriate context for お前【まえ】
I've also had Japanese teachers tell me to NEVER use certain words, when really they're quite fine in the right contexts. I'm not sure what causes this phenomenon.
Apr
8
answered How do you say “funny”?
Apr
8
comment Are 万葉仮名 (man'yōgana) chosen consistently?
I know Marc Miyake's 'Old Japanese: A Phonetic Reconstruction' has a discussion of this, though I don't remember the details. I do remember that he sees some definite patterns in man'yougana choices over time.
Apr
3
comment Explain how 向{む}く “to face” can take “上{うえ}” as a direct object using を?
I'll have to take a look at those when I get to the library next.
Apr
3
comment Explain how 向{む}く “to face” can take “上{うえ}” as a direct object using を?
Am I the only person that sees all of these as just transitive verbs? (or verbs that are optionally transitive?)
Apr
2
awarded  Citizen Patrol
Mar
29
awarded  Enlightened
Mar
29
awarded  Nice Answer
Mar
28
comment If 校 is the kanji for school, why do I need 学 to actually say school?
This is a fairly normal process in languages - if a word gets too short to be distinguishable, compound it with a synonym. Chinese has vast numbers of these compounds; I don't know how many Japanese has borrowed versus created.
Mar
25
comment What exactly does the grammatical form NがNなだけに mean?
Would the English translation `X being what it is' make sense for this?
Mar
23
comment Rosetta Stone uses は instead of わ
Rosetta Stone's format involves presenting a phrase in audio and text and the image/video it's a description of, and leaving you as the student to figure out what's going on. I haven't used it much, but what I've seen of it is that it has no explanations at all - it might have a few, I don't know. It's a very strange system.
Mar
18
comment What does さあ (saa) mean?
There's also the さあ in response to a question, which basically means 'I have no idea'.
Mar
14
comment Do Japanese's sister languages have equivalents of the particles は and を?
Oh, and be warned - the table-of-contents hyperlinking in that pdf is -terrible-.