An Ainu–English–Japanese Dictionary/Part II Preface

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PART II.


A GRAMMAR
OF THE
AINU LANGUAGE.
ア イ ヌ 語 文 典


PREFACE.


The Grammar contained in the following pages has been worked out during the last stages of the decay of the Ainu race and tongue, and not during the growth or full vigour of either. The merest tyro in philological research will therefore realize that the difficulties encountered have not always been of a light nature. Searching for and collating words, reducing them to what seemed to be to the author the most convenient form of writing,—analizing and comparing them,—defining them,—classifying them,—weeding out or noting the known Japanese and even Russian words which had crept in, and studying the laws of the grammatical construction of the language has each in its turn had its own special difficulties. There were also obstacles and difficulties of quite another kind cast in my way at the beginning of my career among the Ainu which, though I do not forget them, it is not necessary to mention in this place. And, however much amid rough living, and hard study one has sometimes longed and looked for the Clue of an Ariadne to guide himself by withal, such a help has not yet been found. Nor should it be forgotten that inasmuch as this language has never been tamed and fixed by any attempt of the people themselves to produce a native literature, what little is left of it is still, as ever it was, in its natural barbaric state. Hence the Author hopes that due allowances will be made for the many imperfections and oversights which must naturally occur in this work.

An edition of the Grammar appeared in September 1903. That little book was thrown out for the purpose of inviting criticisms by which the author might profit in the prosecution of his studies, and with the view of its forming a part of the introduction to what he ventures to deem a somewhat important work, namely, the preceding Ainu Dictionary. But there appear to be so few people truly interested in Ainu, or such a small number thoroughly acquainted with this tongue, that no help was given except to confirm him in his present belief that in so far as construction is concerned the Ainu language belongs as much to the Aryan tongue as Latin, French, and English do. Nor could the Author lay his hands on any other Ainu grammar which would serve as a basis to work upon. The present work should therefore be regarded as original and quite independent. Still the Author must acknowledge his great indebtedness to Dr August Phizmaier for his Kritische Durchsicht der von Davidaw verfassten Wortersammlung aus der Sprache der Aino’s (Wien 1852), for on studying this book he has derived great benefit from the critical and analytical method therein followed.

Sapporo, August, 1905.