A grammar of the eastern old Japanese dialects

Kupchik, John Everitt
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2011]
This dissertation is the first complete grammar of the Eastern Old Japanese (EOJ) dialects written in a modern descriptive linguistic framework, and the first ever in the English language. The EOJ dialects were spoken in the modern Kantō area of Japan during the Nara period (8th century CE), and are recorded in books 14 and 20 of the Man'yōshu poetry anthology. These dialects differ in many striking ways from the Nara dialect of Western Old Japanese, which is the main language of the ancient Japanese texts. The first half of the dissertation is the first comprehensive attempt to reconstruct the phonology of all eleven attested provincial speech varieties, and many new dialect-specific phonological mergers and shifts are presented based on a new hypothesis of innovative orthographic practices by the scribes. The second half is the grammar proper, with all noun, adjective, and verb morphology described in detail and once again examined independently in each of the eleven provinces. The complex system of particles is also described in detail, in a similar fashion. The dissertation concludes with a new dialect taxonomy firmly rooted in the study of shared linguistic innovations across the provinces. Also included are three appendices. Among these is a new, fully annotated EOJ corpus that was compiled based on the comparative analysis of four primary Man'yōshu manuscripts, using the oldest extant manuscript, the Genryaku Kōhon, as the main source. No previous linguistic study on EOJ has used the Genryaku Kōhon as the primary source, and this dissertation argues that many important features of the dialects are lost when other manuscripts, such as the Nishi Honganji-Bon, are taken as primary.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
Old Japanese
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