Journal of East Asian Linguistics

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 219–228 | Cite as

On one more source of Old Japanese i 2

  • Alexander Vovin


The goal of this article is to provide further and systematic evidence for an idea suggested only in passing that the Old Japanese vowel i 2 derives diachronically not only from *əy and *uy, as traditionally believed, but also from *oy. This solution proves to be a key to solving some puzzles in the phonological history of a number of common Old Japanese words.


Western Old Japanese Eastern Old Japanese Ryukyuan Vocalism Monophthongization 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


Primary sources

  1. HFK.
    Harima Fudoki, ca. 713 ADGoogle Scholar
  2. KJK.
    Kojiki, 712 ADGoogle Scholar
  3. KJGC.
    Kōtai Jingū Gisiki chō, 804 ADGoogle Scholar
  4. KK.
    Kojiki kayō, 712 ADGoogle Scholar
  5. KKF.
    Kinkafu, eighth century ADGoogle Scholar
  6. KKHS.
    Kakyō hyōsiki, 775 ADGoogle Scholar
  7. KKWS.
    Kokin waka shū , 921 ADGoogle Scholar
  8. KMJ.
    Shōsōin komonjo, from 702 ADGoogle Scholar
  9. M.
    Man’yōshū, ca. 759 ADGoogle Scholar
  10. MS.
    Makura-no sō shi, ca. 1000 ADGoogle Scholar
  11. NK.
    Nihonshoki kayō, 720 ADGoogle Scholar
  12. NR.
    Nihon ryō iki, 824 ADGoogle Scholar
  13. NSK.
    Nihonshoki, 720 ADGoogle Scholar
  14. RJKS.
    Ruijū koshū, mid to late twelfth century ADGoogle Scholar
  15. SJ.
    Shinsen jikyō, ca. 898–901 ADGoogle Scholar
  16. SM.
    Senmyō, seventh–eighth centuries ADGoogle Scholar
  17. TM.
    Taketori monogatari, late nineth or early tenth centuryGoogle Scholar

Secondary sources

  1. Bentley, John R. 1997. MO and PO in Old Japanese. MA thesis, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Honolulu.Google Scholar
  2. Frellesvig, Bjarke, and John Whitman. 2008. Evidence for seven vowels in proto-Japanese. In Proto-Japanese: Issues and prospects, ed. B. Frellesvig and J. Whitman, 15–41. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  3. Hattori, Shirō. 1978–1979. Nihon sogo ni tsuite [On Proto-Japonic]. Gekkan Gengo 1–22.Google Scholar
  4. Hayata Teruhiro. (1998) Jōdai Nihongo no onsetsu kōzō to o-retsu kō-otsu no betsu [The syllabic structure of Old Japanese and kō-otsu distinctions in the o row]. Onsei kenkyū 2(1): 25–33Google Scholar
  5. Hirayama, Teruo, ed. 1966. Ryūkyū hōgen no sōgōteki kenkyū [A comprehensive study of the Ryukyuan dialects]. Tokyo: Meiji shoin.Google Scholar
  6. Mabuchi Kazuo (1957) Kojiki no SI, O, PO no kana [The Kana signs SI, O, PO in Kojiki]. Kokugogaku 31: 61–90Google Scholar
  7. Mabuchi, Kazuo. 1972. Jōdai no kotoba [Old Japanese]. Tokyo: ShibundōGoogle Scholar
  8. Majtczak, Tomasz. 2008. Japońskie klasy czasownikowe w perspektywe diachronicznej [Japanese verbal classes in a diachronic perspective]. KrakóW: WydaWnictwo Universytetu Jagiellońskiego.Google Scholar
  9. Martin Samuel E. (1987) The Japanese Language through time. Yale University Press, New Haven and LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. Miyake Marc H. (2003) Old Japanese: A phonetic reconstruction. RoutledgeCurzon, LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. Murayama, Shichirō. 1988. Nihongo no kigen to gogen [The origins and etymology of the Japanese language]. Tokyo: San’ichi shobō.Google Scholar
  12. OGJ. 1998. Okinawa go jiten [A dictionary of the Okinawan language]. Tokyo: ōkurashō.Google Scholar
  13. Omodaka, Hisataka et al., eds. 1967. Jidai betsu kokugo dai jiten. Jōdai hen [A big dictionary of Japanese by periods. Ancient period]. Tokyo: Sanseidō.Google Scholar
  14. Ōno, Susumu. 1977. On’in no hensen [Phonological changes]. In Iwanami Kōza Nihongo [Iwanami lectures on the Japanese Language], ed. S. ōno and T. Shibata, Vol. 5, 148–219. Tokyo: Iwanami.Google Scholar
  15. Russell, Kerri. 2003. Contraction and Monophthongization in Old Japanese. In Nihongo keitōron no genzai [Perspectives on the Origins of the Japanese Language], ed. A. Vovin and T. Osada, 511–539. Kyoto: International Center for Japanese Studies.Google Scholar
  16. Saeki, Umetomo, and Kazuo Mabuchi. 1969. Kogo jiten [A dictionary of premodern Japanese]. Tokyo: Kōdansha.Google Scholar
  17. Serafim, Leon A. 2008. The uses of Ryukyuan in understanding Japanese language history. In Proto-Japanese: Issues and prospects, ed. B. Frellesvig and J. Whitman, 79–99. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  18. Shirafuji, Noriyuki. 1987. Nara jidai no kokugo [The Japanese language in the Nara period]. Tokyo: Tōkyōdō.Google Scholar
  19. Thorpe, Maner L. 1983. Ryūkyūan language history. PhD diss., University of Southern California, San Diego.Google Scholar
  20. Uchima, Chokujin, and Arakaki, Kumiko. 2000. Okinawa hokubu nanbu hōgen no kijutsuteki kenkyū [A Descriptive Study of Northern and Southern Okinawan dialects]. Tokyo: Kazama shobō.Google Scholar
  21. Unger, J. Marshall. 1993[1977]. Studies in Early Japanese Morphophonemics. Bloomington: Indiana University Linguistics Club.Google Scholar
  22. Vovin, Alexander. 1993. A reconstruction of Proto-Ainu. Leiden & Köln: Brill.Google Scholar
  23. Vovin, Alexander. 2005. A descriptive and comparative grammar of Western Old Japanese. Part 1: Phonology, script, lexicon, and nominals. Folkestone: Global Oriental.Google Scholar
  24. Vovin, Alexander. 2010. Koreo-Japonica. A re-evaluation of a common genetic origin. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press.Google Scholar
  25. Whitman, John B. 1985. The phonological basis for the comparison of Japanese and Korean. PhD diss., Harvard University, Cambridge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of East Asian Languages and LiteratureUniversity of Hawai’i at MānoaHonoululuUSA

Personalised recommendations