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Urakami, Junnosuke (1989) Some problems in the phonology of Old Japanese reconsidered in the light of comparative evidence from the Amami dialects. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis focuses on the most controversial phonological problem in Old Japanese, the phonetic and phonological status of two types of syllables, found in written texts, known as the 'A/B-type' contrast. Previous approaches have centred around the phonetic evaluation of Middle Chinese characters, and examination of Pre-Old Japanese diphthongal sources reconstructed through the morpho-phonemic analysis of Old Japanese. All of these approaches have various limitations, since Old Japanese does not provide sufficient evidence to support the results thus gained. Recently attempts have been made to apply study of the Ryukyu dialects to the problem. In particular linguists have claimed that the Modern Amami dialects reflect the A/B-type distinction. The importance here lies in the fact that study within this field can provide firm empirical evidence. The present thesis, therefore, aims at shedding light on the A/B-type distinction by a study of the Modern Amami dialects, specifically by the reconstruction of the phonemes of Proto-Amami. Chapter One is an introduction, containing the argument in favour of undertaking this line of research, with details of the survey and informant information. Chapter Two contains a review of the Old Japanese A/B distinction, plus a survey of previous works in the field by Hashimoto, Arisaka, Lange, Unger, Ono, Matsumoto, Mori, etc. Problems to be dealt with in the present work are isolated. Chapter Three discusses the Ryukyu dialects, and focuses in on the importance of the Amami dialects. It concludes with a synchronic overview of the Amami dialects. Chapter Four contains the reconstruction of Proto-Amami phonemes, a synchronic description of Proto-Amami and sound changes. Chapter Five offers a sub-grouping of the Modern Amami dialects, with a tree diagram and isoglosses. Chapter Six contains a comparison of the Old Japanese A/B contrast with PA. Chapter Seven compares the results obtained for PA from Chapter Six with the work of past researchers, specifically Shibata. Chapter Eight is a summary of this work, plus suggestions for further work on Proto-Amami.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:14

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