Philological evidence for *e and *o in Pre-Old Japanese
Many Japanese historical linguists reconstruct a four-vowel system without *e and *o for Proto-Japonic (PJ), the ancestor of the Japanese and Ryukyuan languages. However, a few (Unger 1993 , Hattori 1978–79, Thorpe 1983, Serafim 1999a, 1999b) have reconstructed PJ *e and *o. Until now, arguments for PJ *e and *o have been based on (a) Japonic internal and comparative reconstructions and (b) Japonic languages attested from the eighth century onward. In this paper I test the PJ *e and *o hypothesis using two other types of evidence: pre-eighth century transcriptions and Sino-Japanese readings borrowed prior to the eighth century.
Keywords: Chinese, Old Japanese, Ryukyuan, Japonic, transcription, vowels, vowel raising, historical phonology
Published online: 14 August 2003
Cited by 2 other publications
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