I'm interested in the ways in which words that can be prefixed with mi- might vary in accent. For instance, both mi-kokoro and mi-gokoro are attested (albeit rare and highly archaic), but mi-kokoro is L-H-H-H whereas mi-gokoro is L-H-L-L. My questions are as follows:

  • Are there other pairs that show this sort of alternation (i.e., deaccenting without sequential voicing vs. accent-preserving with sequential voicing)?
  • In general, o-prefixation is deaccenting. Is this the case with o-kokoro (again, rare but attested), in which it would become L-H-H-H?
  • In exceptional cases, we see nonstandard forms like o-mi-gokoro. Do these become L-H-H-H-H again?
  • 2
    Re: your first bullet, a (maybe?) opposing example: 山川(やまがわ{LHHH}) vs 山川(やまかわ{LHLL}). Obviously not related to mi-, but just in case you were considering a more general phenomenon. Aug 5, 2020 at 21:13
  • 1
    おこころ is pronounced accentless, although こころ is accented at the last mora. *おみごころ doesn't exist but there is おおみごころ{LHHHLL}/おおみこころ{LHHHLL}, where おおみ is the original form of お-. An example of お+み is おみあし, which interestingly has two accents おみあし{LHHH}/おみあし{LHLL}. Aug 6, 2020 at 7:50
  • Yes, I'm aware that o-mi-gokoro "doesn't exist" in the sense that it's a contested form. It does appear in a 1904 edition of the Japan Weekly Mail (google.com/books/edition/_/…), in which it is discussed as dubious/pleonastic. In any case, I am interested in whether this form, even if objectionable, would take heiban accent. (Native speakers are generally able to imagine what possible [distinct from actual, and distinct from impossible] words might sound like, what regular morphology they might take, etc.) Aug 7, 2020 at 20:01
  • @TadhgÓConaill The preview resolution as I can see is pitiful and the context is curtailed, but I guess what they mean is "O migokoro, o mitama, o mimegumi(?)", where the first parts stand for the interjection "oh", isn't it? Aug 8, 2020 at 15:15
  • No, that is not the case. If you read the footnote, you'll see that it's clearly analogized to other multiply honorificated forms. Aug 9, 2020 at 16:03


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