Saturday, 27 November 2010

Hawai'i - Hawaiki - Utsukushii - Utsukushiki

I am particularly interested in the 'Okina that exists in both Polynesian and Japanese... this is a glottal stop that hides an old 'k' sound...

In Polynesian, perhaps the best example is 'Hawai'i'... which may have been Hawaiki in old Polynesian.  In fact this is the name of the island in Maori and other Polynesian languages... (or Avaiki...)  The glottal stop (bicameral consonant or 7Okina) replaced the final 'k'...)

This loss of a 'k' also occurs between Classical Japanese and Modern Japanese.  Nothing is used to show a glottal stop, the glottal stop is hardly noticeable in Japanese.  うつくしい (u-tsu-ku-shi-i) once was written うつくしき (u-tsu-ku-shi-ki) as a declension of the -く (-ku) adjectival verb form.  (うつくしくに;うつくしき;うつくしかった;etc)

This loss of an 'ki' and the similarity/simplicity of the phonemes between Japanese and Polynesian languages always made me think that Japanese was an assimilation, much like English, of more than one race... long ago... Polynesians landing on the shores of Japan... overpowered from the north and from the west by peoples from Kamchatka, the Ainu in Hokkaido, and Koreans/Chinese from mainland Asia...  obviously the Kanji writing system was adopted from China since the 7-8th Century AD.  Hiragana and Katakana were developed much later after hundreds of years of using Man'yogana from these Kanji to represent individual mora (combination of consonant-vowel).

I wonder what people think of a long long ago link to Polynesia...?

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