The archaic Japanese word bateren 伴天連 / 破天連 (referring to a missionary [Jesuit] priest) is derived from the Portuguese padre.

The Portuguese word notably does not contain or end in a nasal consonant, and all other Portuguese loans to Japanese I'm familiar with only end in ん when the Portuguese word itself has an n/m or nasal vowel.

Given this, why was it adapted as bateren as opposed to the expected *batere / *patere?


My hypothesis is that it was influenced by the similar word, iruman (イルマン / 入満 / 伊留満 / 由婁漫) (from pt. irmão, "a layman or scholastic training for the priesthood", note the nasal vowel), as this word was borrowed at the same time and in the same context.

However, I found no direct evidence to support this claim.

- Japanese Traditions of Christianity (p.10, n.12, 13)
- The Kakure Kirishitan of Japan: A Study of Their Development, Beliefs and ... (p.69)
- Women Religious Leaders in Japan's Christian Century, 1549-1650 (p.2, n.6)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.