A reconstruction of the accentual history of the Japanese and Ryukyuan languages

Shimabukuro, Moriyo
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
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This dissertation reconstructs the accentual history of the Japonic languages (i.e., the Japanese and Ryukyuan languages). Applying the comparative method, the reconstruction of Proto Japonic (PI) accent is based on modern dialects of Japanese and Ryukyuan and also on the dialect of the Ruiju Myogi-sho (a text written in the 11th century). The author looks into 'natural' accentual changes in the Japonic languages and formalizes them. Using these changes or rules, he accounts for the developments of the accent systems of descendant dialects or languages from PJ. Furthermore, he takes typology of accent (i.e., locus and register) into account and explains how typologically different accent systems develop. The dissertation has revealed that Hattori Shiro's accentual subcategories for disyllables are seen not only in Amami and Okinawa Ryukyuan, as he claims, but also seen in Yaeyama and Miyako Ryukyuan. Based on this, the author argues that Proto Ryukyuan (PR) and PJ must have had these distinctions, although Hattori did not reconstruct them. Therefore, there are in total eight accent categories for PJ disyllables - it had been thought that there were only five distinctions. Kyoto dialect has been thought to have evolved directly from the dialect of the Ruiju Myogi-sho. Because of this, it was difficult to account for the development of Kyoto dialect. However, based on accentual correspondences, the author contends that Kyoto dialect is not a direct descendant of the dialect of the Ruiju Myogi-sho, and that the development of the Kyoto dialect is explained by the aforementioned natural changes. The correlation between a long vowel in the initial syllable and word-initial register has been suggested by Samuel E. Martin and Hattori. However, the register in relation to the length has not been reconstructed. This dissertation gives more evidence to support the register hypothesis, and reconstructs a register system in PR and PJ.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2002.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 389-397).
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xii, 400 leaves, bound maps 29 cm
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Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Linguistics; no. 4271
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