Last active 3 years ago

  1. 3 years ago
    6 Dec 2017, 10:20am GMT-0500
    Lumfish started the conversation What is the Etymology of 「果物」?.

    Hey there,

    I’m a student currently learning Japanese, and I was reading up on some etymologies, when I came across one entry that just doesn’t feel right to me.

    The 国語大辞典 and 大辞林 state that 「果物」 is a compound of 「木」 + 「だ」 + 「物」 (/ku/ + /da/ + /mono/, literally “tree thing”), with /ku/ being explained as a sound shift from the bounded form /ko/. In support of this, the word 「獣」 is cited in comparison, which is explained as a compound of 「毛」 + 「だ」 + 「物」 (/ke/ + /da/ + /mono/, literally “hair thing”).

    I can accept the latter, but not so much the former. By this explanation, 「木」 has the bounded form /ko/ (from PJ *kɨ → *kə → OJ /kə/ → NJ /ko/), the free form /ki/ (from PJ *kɨ + *i* = *kɨi → OJ /kɨy/ → NJ /ki/), the Azuma dialectal form /ke/ (from OJ /ke/), and now this shifted form /ku/.

    Does there exist any other word where four out of a possible five vowels are interchangeable?

    There don't seem to be any proposed sound laws that would explain a shift from PJ *ɨ, *ə, or *ɨi → *u, OJ /ə/ or /ɨy/ → /u/, or MJ and NJ /o/ or /i/ → /u/. 「果物」 isn’t a particularly common or rare word, so it shouldn’t have any reason to be exempt from them.

    If 「果物」 were a dialectal form, I would expect to see a more concrete correspondence between /o/ and /u/, such as /kudamumu/ or /kedamunu/, but both these forms are unattested.

    The pronunciation /ku/ doesn't exist in any other compounds I can find either, unlike /ko/ in 「木霊」 (/kodama/) or 「木陰」 (/kokage/).

    On these bases, I feel that the claim 「果物」 = 「木」 + 「だ」 + 「物」 is untenable.

    But what do you guys think? Do you have any suggestions that might resolve this enigma?

    Best regards.

  2. 9 Nov 2017, 4:21am GMT-0500
    Lumfish joined the forum.