A Reconstruction of Old Okinawan: A Corpus-Based Approach

Lin, Chihkai
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2015]
The phonological inventory of Old Okinawan is often reconstructed according to modern Ryukyuan languages. Although the importance of historical resources is never ignored in the study of Okinawan historical linguistics, reconstruction based on historical sources is not well investigated yet, due to the two reasons that a) authors of previous studies mixed native historical sources with foreign historical sources in the reconstruction of Old Okinawan, and b) only sporadic examples are used for the reconstruction, and no general tendency of the examples is presented. The goal of this dissertation is to reconstruct Old Okinawan from a corpus-based approach, by concentrating on foreign sources from China and Korea in the 15th and 16th century. The two foreign sources present Old Okinawan materials transcribed by Chinese characters and Korean hangeul. The foreign sources reflect more faithfully than native sources in the phonetic value of Old Okinawan. The two types of foreign sources are first elaborated respectively, and reconstructions based on Chinese sources and Korean source will be proposed accordingly. Then entries that appear both in Chinese sources and Korean source are sorted and compared. A reconstruction on the basis of the comparison is also proposed. This dissertation concludes with a revised phonological inventory in accordance with the results achieved by internal reconstruction and the comparative method. This dissertation is the first study that limits dataset to only foreign sources from China and Korea for the reconstruction of Old Okinawan, and this dissertation is also the first one that employs a corpus-based approach to the reconstruction of Old Okinawan. The phonological inventory proposed in this dissertation will be not only a comprehensive reconstruction of Old Okinawan in the 15th and 16th century, but also a significant contribution to the study of Okinawan historical linguistics.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2015.
Includes bibliographical references.
Old Okinawan, reconstruction, corpus, phonology
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