古代語資料としての出土物(<特集>資料研究の現在) [in Japanese] Unearthed Materials as Sources of Old Japanese Language Data(<Special Issue>The Current State of Document Research) [in Japanese]
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In recent decades, many wooden pieces have been unearthed from the ruins of ancient capital cities and government offices in all parts of the country. These, now, amount to several tens of thousands. On most of their surfaces, Chinese characters written in India ink are found. These characters are the documents of daily government affairs. Adopting the correct way, we can read these strings of Chinese characters as the words and sentences of 7〜8th Century Japanese language. Thus, these old wooden documents are very useful for studying old Japanese language. They are useful because: (1) they are original sources, unlike, Kojiki, Nihon-shoki and Man'yoshu, which are manuscripts written in medieval times; (2) they reflect the daily and colloquial aspects of old Japanese language, as opposed to the formal and literary aspects reflected by Kojiki, Nihon-shoki and Man'yoshu; (3) they have been unearthed together with many other remains, enabling us to establish exactly when and why these documents of government affairs were written. Using them as linguistic data, we can interpret the whole of the 7〜8th Century Japanese language more correctly. We should realize that Kojiki, Nihon-shoki and Man'yoshu reflect only partial aspects of 8th Century Japanese language. In order to learn most from the details of these old wooden documents, it is important that this be an interdisciplinary study. We should collaborate with historians and archaeologists. In addition, since the Korean and Japanese languages are similar syntactically yet dissimilar phonologically, parallels with materials unearthed in Korea will be very effective.
- Studies in the Japanese Language
Studies in the Japanese Language 4(1), 1-14, 2008
The Society for Japanese Linguistics