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there is perhaps some historical connection between the く sound and い sound, either phonologically or semantically. I think the answer from blutorange addresses this. Maybe these two classes of words [〜い adjectives and 〜く verbs] diverged from the same class of words somehow? I'll disagree with blutorange about this part, as his answer is (I believe) ...


It’s just because the kanji 西班牙 sound like スペイン. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/西班牙: “The kanji are ateji (当て字), from Chinese 西班牙 (Xībānyá).”


Yes, for example consider the beginning of 枕草子【まくらのそうし】: 美【うつく】しきもの。瓜【うり】に描【か】きたる稚児【ちご】の顔【かお】。 If you rewrite the adjective and verb forms to their modern form: 美しいもの。瓜に描いてある稚児の顔。 Observe that an adjective such as 美しい was originally 美しき (before a noun, 美し at the end of a sentence), with a shift of き→い, see イ音便. 咲いて was originally 咲きて, where you can ...

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