Download An historical grammar of Japanese by G. B. Sansom PDF

By G. B. Sansom

First released in 1928, this path-breaking paintings continues to be of significance and curiosity to eastern students and linguists.

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Additional resources for An historical grammar of Japanese

Example text

712. is a long and consecutive history of Japan, commencing with the creation of Heaven and Earth, and proceeding, in an ascending scale of credibility, to the year a. d. 628. That the compiler of the Kojiki was under strong Chinese influence His preface is, is abundantly clear from internal evidence. as Chamberlain points out, a tour de force meant to show that the writer could compose in the Chinese style if he chose but this very fact tends to prove, as many other to do so indications confirm, that his aim in the body of the work was to write in such a way as would allow him to incorporate in the text the native names and phraseology which it was desired to preserve the 'ancient words' referred to in the Imperial decree.

Both these works are mainly in Chinese, but the Shoku Nihongi contains a number of Imperial edicts written by a method similar to that used for the Shinto rituals, and evidently intended as an exact record of the Japanese phraseology employed when these edicts were pronounced in public. The system of writing is not entirely regular, but the words of the edicts can be restored with a high degree of accuracy. Thus the phrase akitsu mikami, 'a manifest god', is written Ig, $p jji$ which and phrases we can ; ; INTRODUCTION OF WRITING is unintelligible in Chinese.

Another syllabary, which came into use at about the same period as the hiragana, is made up of what are called katakana or side kana' These are abbreviations of the square, and not the cursive type of Chinese character, generally formed by one part or side (kata) being taken to represent the whole. Thus, while tp is the hiragana for i, formed by a cursive abbreviation of the character J£J (which is pronounced i), the corresponding katakana form is J, which is the side of the character ffi, also pronounced *.

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