Ramat newa Kamuy

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This short text is devoted to the analysis of ramat and kamuy which are the key words/basic concepts of Ainu religion and Ainu traditional life. This text is written in Ainu language and it is the first scientific article in Ainu language during the whole history of Ainu studies. Ramat is the first and the main concept of Ainu religion. According to my data this word consists of two morphemes: ram which means ''soul''/''mind''/''heart'' and at which is similar to such verbs as an/oka and oma which mean ''to be''/''to exist''. So the concept of ramat can be interpreted as ''soul exists''. Ramat exists everywhere and fills everything. Every thing and every being has ramat. One thing has a lot of ramat, another-little but nothing can exist without ramat. Ramat cannot be annihilated. When beings die or when things are broken their ramat leaves them but doesn't disappear and goes to another place. Following to Neil Gordon Munro it is possible to state that ramat is very much alike to the Polynesian mana. Kamuy is the second basic concept of Ainu religion. According to my data word kamuy doesn't have any connection to the Japanese kami ''deity'' because kamuy belongs to the most important and old part of Ainu lexics. The Ainu and Japanese languages differ in their linear model of word form: Ainu has linear model of word form of the American type while Japanese demonstrates this of the Altaic type, i.e. in Japanese prefixation is strictly prohibited while in Ainu it is permitted. I think serious word-change process cannot take place between such different languages. Moreover it is worth noting that the Ainu had not known paper before they met Japanese, so in the Ainu language the word for paper was borrowed from Japanese. In Japanese paper sounds the same way as ''deity'', i.e. kami but in Ainu it became kampi. In this connection I think that Ainu kamuy cannot originate from Japanese kami because Japanese kami would become kampi but not kamuy in Ainu. Also I don't think that kamuy has any connection with the Ainu word

This short text is devoted to the analysis of ramat and kamuy which are the key words/basic concepts of Ainu religion and Ainu traditional life. This text is written in Ainu language and it is the first scientific article in Ainu language during the whole history of Ainu studies. Ramat is the first and the main concept of Ainu religion. According to my data this word consists of two morphemes: ram which means "soul"/"mind"/"heart" and at which is similar to such verbs as an/oka and oma which mean "to be"/"to exist". So the concept of ramat can be interpreted as "soul exists". Ramat exists everywhere and fills everything. Every thing and every being has ramat. One thing has a lot of ramat, another-little but nothing can exist without ramat. Ramat cannot be annihilated. When beings die or when things are broken their ramat leaves them but doesn't disappear and goes to another place. Following to Neil Gordon Munro it is possible to state that ramat is very much alike to the Polynesian mana. Kamuy is the second basic concept of Ainu religion. According to my data word kamuy doesn't have any connection to the Japanese kami "deity" because kamuy belongs to the most important and old part of Ainu lexics. The Ainu and Japanese languages differ in their linear model of word form: Ainu has linear model of word form of the American type while Japanese demonstrates this of the Altaic type, i.e. in Japanese prefixation is strictly prohibited while in Ainu it is permitted. I think serious word-change process cannot take place between such different languages. Moreover it is worth noting that the Ainu had not known paper before they met Japanese, so in the Ainu language the word for paper was borrowed from Japanese. In Japanese paper sounds the same way as "deity", i.e. kami but in Ainu it became kampi. In this connection I think that Ainu kamuy cannot originate from Japanese kami because Japanese kami would become kampi but not kamuy in Ainu. Also I don't think that kamuy has any connection with the Ainu word kam -"meat" as many anthropologists believe. This point of view is usually explained in such a way: kamuy is often used in connection with bear because bear has a lot of meat, i.e. kamuy originated from kam+us which later became kam+uy. Following to John Batchelor I believe that the word kamuy consists of three morphemes: ka+mu+i. According to my interpretation the meaning of these morphemes is the following: ka is similar to "kurka"/"ka ta"-"over"/"above"; suffix i/hi is often used as a verbal substantivator ex.: pirka-hi, itak-i, an-i; though now I a bit misunderstand the meaning of the middle morpheme mu, cause I have never met it in the Saru dialect. But I have met such morpheme is Sakhalin Ainu. In Sakhalin Ainu mu means "spread" and it is equal to imakare, pirasa of the Saru dialect. Because of it I think that mu in kamuy has the similar meaning. So I think ka-mu-i/ka-mu-y means "spread over thing", "a thing above people". And my interpretation is similar to the interpretation of Batchelor. And from this point of view it is possible to understand: why kamuy is used as another name of bear or another awful or beautiful beings or things. According to Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney kamuy should be distinguished from other beings. And it is important to know that the word kamuy is often used to name some beings and things, which real names are tabooed. In the case of bear the word kamuy is used just in order to express respect to bear and in order to avoid the use of the real name of bear cause it may bring different troubles to people. Also it is important to note that kamuy is not similar to the European concepts deus / god / Gott / dios / deux cause European god is a transcendental being while kamuy exist in the neighborhood of people and people can easily get kamuy mosir. Because of it, the word kamuy should not be translated as dew /god / Gott / dios / deux into European languages. I think the best way is to leave the word kamuy without any translation at all and explain its meaning from the context. At least it is possible to state the following: ramat is the basis. But ramat itself cannot make anything. It may just exist or not exist, but it cannot act. Instead of it kamuy can act. Kamuy has a lot of ramat and can endow or take away ramat to other beings. Kamuy which endows ramat is good, kamuy which takes ramat away is bad. If we turn to the certain concepts of mathematics we can state that ramat is a scalar and kamuy is a tensor. Having picked up the essence of ramat and kamuy, having understood their meaning we can interpret every thing and every act of the Ainu tradition. Every event of Ainu traditional life can be described in terms of ramat and kamuy. Any act of Ainu tradition is intended to save and to magnify the existing ramat. Because of it a thing which has much ramat and which can magnify ramat is good thing; while thing which takes ramat away is bad. Because of it people should escape things and beings which take ramat away. And every act of Ainu tradition (carving inaw or bear feast) is performed in order to save and magnify the existing ramat.

収録刊行物

  • 千葉大学ユーラシア言語文化論集   [巻号一覧]

    千葉大学ユーラシア言語文化論集 9, 197-201, 2006-10-10  [この号の目次]

    千葉大学

各種コード

  • NII論文ID(NAID)
    110006175562
  • NII書誌ID(NCID)
    AA11256001
  • 本文言語コード
    ENG
  • 資料種別
    Departmental Bulletin Paper
  • データ提供元
    NII-ELS  IR 
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