More lip-flapping

Scott has dug up and onlinegeput his history of H sounds in Japan (no, not those H sounds). I particularly like the use of evidence from regional dialects. Living in Tokyo it's easy to forget that all over Japan, (old) people are speaking versions of Japanese that retained different aspects of the older systems (and developed in different directions afterwards, of course.) Okinawan, for example, has some awesome correspondences.

Popularity factor: 6


Thanks for the spotlight, dude.

Also, "onlinegeput" is now my word for the day. Simply TEH AWSOME!!


No problem! I don't think many people read straggler comments on three-day old posts here, so I thought I'd better get it into the feed at least.


So apparently I am a pervert, since naturally my first inclination was "H sounds? Oh man, No-Sword is getting weird..."


On bike trip longishly ago from Tomakomai to Wakkanai, I remember stopping at a little town by the name of Pippu. The kanji would normally have been read Hifu, so I asked a random elder how the town got its name. (I'm always doing that kind of thing.) I thought maybe it was an Ainu word, but if it was he didn't know it. Instead, he said that, yeah, the town used to be called Hifu, but that over the years people had come to pronounce it Pippu. They just half-muddied the pronunciation.

BTW, that same July trip was the first time I ever saw amber waves of grain, or dairy farmers in bib overalls, for that matter. Deprived childhood.


Justin: Yeah I was thinking of you specifically ;)

Joel: Did he mean that the change had happened within his lifetime?! Either way, the story kind of makes sense... if Japanese speakers can spontaneously turn "yahari" into "yappari", there's no reason why they can't also spontaneously turn "hifu" into "hippu". (The first-letter h to p I dismiss with hand-waving but I am sure it's possible.)



No I think the guy was just spinning a Just-So tale, based only on his orthographic knowledge that /h/ to /p/ is as natural as adding a handakuten in modern Japanese orthography.

Who knows what Pippu meant in Ainu? Japanese speakers settled most of Hokkaido long after Japanese /p/ had weakened to /h/. In many ways, Hokkaido was Japan's first colony, starting in Meiji times.

Comment season is closed.