It's OK, though, a lot of words begin with A

Motherlode of Japanese/English dictionaries and phrasebooks from the 1800s, including A through D of Hepburn's dictionary. Yeah, that Hepburn.

There's also Ernest Chamberlain's Handbook of Colloquial Japanese:

Aru hĭto ga naga-ya no mae wo tôrimasŭ toki, ishi ni tsumazukimashĭtareba, naga-ya no uchi no hĭto ga baka ni shĭte, "Aitata!" to koe wo kakemashĭta kara, tsumazuita hĭto wa, ima-imashii to omoimashĭta ga, waza to otonashĭku, "Iya! go men nasaimashĭ! Kemashĭta no wa, ishi ka to omoimashĭtara, anata no hana no saki deshĭta ka?" to iimashĭta.
A certain man, passing one day in front of a block of houses, tripped against a stone. Thereupon, some one inside the block of houses made fun of him, and cried out: "Oh! how I have hurt myself!" So he who had tripped constrained himself to be quiet (although he felt disgusted), and said: "Oh! pray excuse me, I thought that was it the tip of your nose?"

Sadly, Chamberlain totally ruins the punchline here; it should be something like "Oh! pray excuse me, I thought I tripped against a stone -- was it in fact the tip of your nose?"

The Okinawan book is disappointingly Standard. I wouldn't even bother.

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I guess "Ouch" wasn't refined enough in those days? Then again, his translation has a certain sumpin-sumpin about it; maybe I'll try it out on one of my classes later today?

I'm wondering why he wrote "tôrimasŭ toki" but "tsumazuita hĭto" (not "tsumazukimashita hito").

I suppose this (over)use of -masu was common then, but now it always reminds me of the "Simplified Japanese" (簡略日本語 was it?) some people were proposing for use by foreigners a few years back. (I hope they've all gone to their just rewards by now...or are they still about?) That or some things I've read by Donald Keene.


Yeah, you got me too. Perhaps -masu still retained some dying instincts from its days as (an) auxiliary verb(s) rather than an official Verb Ending, back then... or it could be that Chamberlain made a mistake.

Note also that keru is apparently still a vowel-stem verb! Oh, the excitement.

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