Questions tagged [old-japanese]

上代日本語. A historical stage of Japanese which has the oldest attestation in documents currently known. Typically seen in 万葉集 (Man'yōshū; late 8c).

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
3
votes
1answer
125 views

Old Japanese vowels in kana

The modern Japanese vowels /e,o/ each represent two Old Japanese vowels, arbitrarily written e ë o ö in romaji. I assume that Japanese philologists don't all use romaji, so is there a convention for ...
5
votes
1answer
146 views

Historical use of さん

In the song 宮さん宮さん (明治時代) 宮さん宮さん お馬の前に ひらひらするのは 何じゃいな As far as I can see it is referring to the emperor using さん、has its formality changed since that era? Or is it being ironic
1
vote
0answers
136 views

鵺 Chimera Bird in Making of Cyborg and Reincarnation

This question is related to my Sci-fi Fantasy question "Japanese Wedding Chant from Ghost in the Shell". That question is concerned with Japanese folk traditions and mythology, and please feel free to ...
4
votes
1answer
256 views

How difficult is the 万葉集 to read?

From my understanding, the 万葉集 is written in 万葉仮名 which uses a limited set of characters solely for their 音読み reading rather than for their semantic meaning. In light of this, I am curious how ...
0
votes
1answer
100 views

Is there a good reason why I can use a polite form before から but not before ので? [duplicate]

Does anybody know why - historically, etymologically or logically - one can use polite forms (e.g. -ます) in causal subordinate clauses before から, while one must use the plain form before ので?
2
votes
1answer
89 views

だ versus な in causal subordinate clauses

Why do causal subordinate clauses ending in -から take だ as a means to connect nouns and な adjectives (e.g. 日本人だから), whereas causal subordinate clauses ending in -ので take な (e.g. 日本人なので)? I read that だ ...
4
votes
2answers
205 views

Is there a good explanation for the forms 大きな, 小さな and 多くの?

Is there a good historical/etymological explanation why 大きい and 小さい can take the な ending in attributive position? Also, is there a good historic/etymological explanation why 多い in attributive use ...
2
votes
1answer
159 views

Is there a historical explanation why verbs fall into two categories of pitch accent?

Is there a good historical or logical explanation why all verbs fall into two categories of pitch accent: either accentless (such as 買う, 浴びる) or accented (such as 食べる, 書く)? I am having a hard time ...
2
votes
1answer
160 views

Is there a good historical explanation why we cannot generally use 言う in the 3rd person in the past tense?

Is there a good historical or logical explanation why we cannot generally use 言う in the 3rd person in the past tense? Why do we have to resort to 言っている for the 3rd person part tense (言っていた), unless it ...
5
votes
1answer
267 views

Is there a good etymological reason why the potential form in Japanese requires the が particle?

Is there a good etymological reason why the potential form in Japanese requires the が particle? When dealing with the -たい suffix, which also requires the -が particle for what in other languages would ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

Is there a reason why the passive and the potential form are identical (at least for える/いる verbs)?

Is there a reason why the passive and the potential form in Japanese are identical (at least for える/いる verbs)? I mean, does one etymologically derive from the other? Or were they perhaps modelled on a ...
5
votes
1answer
246 views

Question about verbs in Old Japanese

Does anybody with in-depth knowledge of Old Japanese know why vowel-based verbal stems could only end in -e or -i (leading to the える/いる or type 2 class of verbs in Modern Japanese)? Why are there no ...
3
votes
0answers
246 views

Word lists/sources for pitch accent in Middle Japanese

Is there anywhere I can find a list of words and what their reconstructed pitches were in Middle Japanese? Or especially what words we have tone dot information on (with a preference for the oldest ...
2
votes
2answers
88 views

The difference between もう and まふ

I have seen the poem title 君死にたまふことなかれ spelled 君死にたもうこと勿れ. I'm assuming given the poet's reputation, that まふ is some antiquated word analogous to the modern もう. What is it's use and meaning?
2
votes
1answer
102 views

Etymological Connection Between 帽子, 眸子 and 牟子

In Ryunosuke Akutagawa's short story "In a Grove", the monk talks about the girl on the horse wearing a type of hat called a 牟子 with the furigana むし. However, this word is not in the dictionary. But I ...
1
vote
2answers
235 views

Are the province names of Japan translatable into English?

When I travelled, I found I could translate the regions or cities into names in English, like in German Burg is "castle" so Hamburg might be "Castle of Ham", Novi Sad in Serbia is "New Farmland", ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the grammar behind this sentence in old Japanese

Here's the first sentence from the song Reincarnation from Kenji Kawai, part of the OST of Ghost in the Shell (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z64HCi2rQkE) A ga maeba, kuwashime yoinikeri ...
4
votes
3answers
681 views

What kind of Japanese “dialect” is this?

In a Japanese translation of exerpts of the Lotus Sutra, there is kanji which is used that is to varying degrees still used today. Some of them are relatively common in normal speech or writing, ...
4
votes
1answer
234 views

Older Jp had much fewer particles (助詞) ? — The modern “use ALL the particles” written style

. . . A perhaps pedantic comment: The idea that everything has a particle in theory, which is either "dropped" or not, is actually relatively modern. In earlier forms of Japanese, there were many ...
-3
votes
1answer
139 views

What is japanese? [closed]

I'm mostly a self-learner, i have never learned anything from taking courses or educational institutions. But instead, i have always managed to figure out "how to learn things" by either asking or ...
2
votes
1answer
82 views

What search term(s) should I use when looking for a pronunciation guide of ancient kanji?

I've recently developed interest in reading/studying the 古事記{こじき}, and simply searching for the term「古事記」gives plenty of results with the original text. However, I am having trouble finding any ...
4
votes
1answer
284 views

Why were Chinese readings imported along with kanji?

I have been studying Japanese for a little more than a year now,and I've been learning kanji for a few months. I understand the basics about readings, but I don't really get the historic reason of ...
7
votes
1answer
133 views

What is つ in 中つ国 and why is it equivalent to の?

According to Wikipedia: 中つ国(なかつくに)とは中間の国、中央の国を意味し、「つ」は現代語の「の」に相当する。中津国、中国とも書く。 I looked for 津 in a dictionary but it seems to be an 当て字 so I did not get new information. But I can't get why の was ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

What does 花つ月 mean?

緋【あか】色【いろ】の花【はな】つ月【づき】 I'm trying to figure out the meaning for this part of kanji in a title for a series. The red flower month? The red flower moon? The month of blossoming red flowers? I'm totally ...
15
votes
2answers
766 views

What is the correct veritable meaning of 水無月 and 神無月?

This question is the result of a conversation with Chocolate in chat, and also this Japanese calendar I have that lists the months according to the traditional Japanese names. For some reason, there ...