An Ainu–English–Japanese Dictionary/Chapter I/Section III

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Besides the dissimilarities in Grammar as set forth in the preceding paragraph, there are also other important differences existing between the two languages which Prof. Chamberlain has not noted in his essay. What he has given, however, are fully sufficient to prove that the present Japanese tongue has no grammatical connection with Ainu. This fact may be fully and very interestingly emphasized by considering the manner in which the Ainu build up their words, illustrations of which it is now proposed to give.

(1) Aeiyukoikireyara. This word means “he sent him to set them at variance with each other over something.” The following is a chemical analysis of the word:—

ki, root meaning “do.”

i, an intensifying root meaning “severely;” “intently.”

iki, “to do intently” or “severely.”

ko, a root meaning “to” when used before some verbs.

koiki, “to scold;” “to beat;” “do severely to.”

u, root meaning “together” or “union” or “mutually.”

ukoiki, “to quarrel with each other.”

re, used as a suffix to verb expresses “cause.”

a, a root expressive of the past tense.

ukoikire, “to make quarrel.”

i, expressive of the 3rd personal pronoun “he.”

aiyukoikire, “make them quarrel with each other.” The y is added after the i for the sake of euphony only.

e, expressive of the objective case.

aeiyukoikire, “he made them quarrel with each other over something.”

yara, “to do through another;” “to send to do.”

aeiyukoikireyara, “he sent and set them at variance with each other over something.”

(2) Take now the word i(y)eyaikoemakbare “to forsake,” “to backslide.” It may be analized thus:—

i, 3rd. per. pro. nom. “they.”

e, (euphonically ye), 2nd, per. pro. obj. “him.”

yai, reflex. prop. “self” (from the root a, “to exist”).

ko, root meaning “to;” “with regard to.”

e, objective of the verb, “it.”

mak, root of maka “open.”

ba, a plural personal root to verbs (as cha a plural ending to some nouns).

re, a causitive ending to verbs. Hence, eyaikoemakbare, “to forsake” (lit. “they made him cast himself away (from) with reference to it”). E. g. Koro shinrit ekashi ki buri gusu eiyaikoemakbare nisa ruwa ne, “they made him forsake the customs of the ancients.” It would perhaps be superfluous to remark that the chief root of this long word is simply mak, “open,” the transitive of which is emaka, “to open.”

Thus do many roots cluster round the little verbs ki, “to do;” and mak, “open.” Every root always retains one or other of its meanings though of course modified in each as the subject and object require. This kind of—I was going to say vivisection, but substitute postmortem examination proves, I think, that the Ainu language has grown from a monosyllabic to an agglutinative or combinatory one; and shows that it was also capable of greater developement had the race survived, come into the arena of civilization, and cultivated it. Indeed, such words as the above show how the Ainu language has passed from the “Rhematic” into the “Dialectic” stage of developement.

In the above examples verbs only have been given; let us now take an adjective and adverb as further illustrations of this matter.


(a) Pirika, “good.”

Pirikap, “a good thing.”

Pirika-hi, “goodness.”

Pirikare, “to better.”

Epirika, “to gain.”

Epirikap, “something gained.”

Epirikare, “to make another gain.”

Yaiepirika, “to gain of oneself.”

Yaiepirikare, “to make oneself gain.”

Eyaiepirikare, “to make oneself gain something for himself.”

Eyaiepirikarep, “that which one causes himself to gain for himself.”

(b) Ioyapa, “the year after next.”

I, an intensifying particle both as regards place, time, and state.

Oya, “other;” “next;” “different.”

Pa, “year;” “season.”

Hence, ioyapa, “the year after next.”

The word ioyashimge belongs to the same class.


Ioya, as given above.

Oyashim, “the day after to-morrow.”

Oyashimshimge, “the morrow following the day after to-morrow.”

Ioyashimge, “the third day after to-morrow.”

The word oyaketa, “elsewhere,” is also of peculiar interest when dissected. Thus:—O, a separating particle whose root meaning is “off”; “from”; (y)a, a, “to be,” the verb of existence, the y being merely euphonius; ke, a particle meaning “place”; and ta, “at” a “in.” Hence, o-ya-ke-ta, “at another place”—i.e. “elsewhere.”

But even nouns of apparently two syllables only may in some instances be shown to be derived, through the process of agglutinization, from three roots. Nay, a one syllable word is sometimes seen to be derived from two several roots. Thus:—

(a) Amip, “clothing.” This is compounded from a, passive particle “is”; mi, “to wear”; and pe, “an article.” Hence, amip, “articles worn”; “clothing.” Another way of saying the same word is mi-am-be, “clothing.”
(b) Pet, “a river.” One would naturally suppose this to be a simple word, yet careful consideration shows it to be a compound. Thus:—Pe, “water”; t, a contraction of chi a plural suffix in common use. Hence, pet, “waters,” i.e. a “stream” or “river.” Pe-chi is often heard when reciting traditions or singing songs.

But perhaps one of the most interesting methods of building up words and one which may not for a moment be ignored or overlooked by the student of this language is exemplified in the following examples. But first let it be understood that He has the sense of “facing”; “fore”; “looking inwards”; “tending towards one”; “in front.” Ho has the opposite meaning of “off”; “away from”; “behind”; “back.” Shi has a reflexive and intransitive force and perhaps represents the infinitive mood. With these words as keys we will take the three following compounds as illustrations.

(1) Maka, v.t. To open; to clear away.

Shimaka, v.i. To have cleared away of itself.

Hemaka, v.i. & adj. To turn from but with the face looking upwards and forward.

Homaka, v.i. & adj. To clear off; to go away entirely and leave an open space.

(2) Noye, v.t. To wind; to twist.

Shinoye, v.i. To twist by its own power.

Henoye, v.i. & adj. To be twisted; wound up.

Honoye, v.i. & adj. Twisted back out of place.

(3) Pirasa, v.t. To spread out.

Shipirasa, v.i. To spread out of itself.

Hepirasa, v.i. & adj. To open up as a flower from the bud.

Hopirasa, v.i. & adj. To fall apart as one’s coat or dress when blown by the wind.

Such words as these show great development of speech and the nicities shown in them will be duly appreciated by any lover of philological research.