Man'y%C5%8Dgana
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Man'y%C5%8Dgana
Man'y?gana
?
?
Katakana origine.svg
Katakana characters and the Man'y?gana they originated from
Type
LanguagesJapanese and Okinawan
Time period
c. 650 CE to Meiji era
Parent systems
Child systems
Hiragana, katakana
Sister systems
Contemporary kanji

Man'y?gana (?, ?, Japanese pronunciation: [majo?:?ana] or [majo:?ana]) is an ancient writing system that employs Chinese characters to represent the Japanese language, and was the first known kana system to be developed as a means to represent the Japanese language phonetically. The date of the earliest usage of this type of kana is not clear, but it was in use since at least the mid-seventh century. The name "man'y?gana" derives from the Man'y?sh?, a Japanese poetry anthology from the Nara period written with man'y?gana.

Though texts using this system also often use Chinese characters for their meaning, man'y?gana refers only to such characters when used to represent a phonetic value. These values were derived from the contemporary Chinese pronunciation, though sometimes native Japanese readings of the character were also used. For example, ? (whose character means 'tree') could represent both /mo/ (based on Middle Chinese [m?wk]), or /ko/ or /kwi/ (meaning 'tree' in Old Japanese).[1]

Simplified versions of man'y?gana eventually gave rise to both the hiragana and katakana scripts used in Modern Japanese.[2]

Origin

A possible oldest example of Man'y?gana is the iron Inariyama Sword that was excavated at the Inariyama Kofun in 1968. In 1978, X-ray analysis revealed a gold-inlaid inscription consisting of at least 115 Chinese characters and this text, written in Chinese, included Japanese personal names which were supposedly phonetically written. This sword is thought to have been made in the year (471 A.D. in commonly accepted theory).[3] There is a possibility that the inscription of the Inariyama sword may be written in a version of the Chinese language used in the Korean-peninsula kingdom of Baekje.[4]

The Kojiki and the Nihon shoki, early collections of myth and history, both state that man'y?gana was introduced to Japan from the Korean kingdom of Baekje. There is a scarcity of direct historical evidence to either support or deny this assertion but most scholars accept this idea.[5]

Principles

Man'y?gana uses kanji characters for their phonetic rather than semantic qualities--in other words, they are used for their sounds and not their meanings. There was no standard system for choice of kanji; different kanji could be used to represent the same sound, the choice made on the whims of the writer. By the end of the 8th century, 970 kanji were in use to represent the 90 morae of Japanese,[6] far more than what was needed. For example, the Man'y?sh? poem 17/4025 was written as follows:

Man'y?gana ? ?
Katakana ? ? ?
Modern ? ?
Romanized Shioji kara tadakoe kureba Hakuhi no umi asanagi shitari funekaji mogamo

In the poem, the sounds mo (?, ?) and shi (?, ?) are written with multiple, different characters. While all particles and most words are represented phonetically (e.g., tada, asa), the words ji (?), umi (?) and funekaji () are rendered semantically.

In some cases, specific syllables in particular words are consistently represented by specific characters. This usage is known as J?dai Tokushu Kanazukai. This usage has led historical linguists to conclude that certain disparate sounds in Old Japanese, consistently represented by differing sets of man'y?gana characters, may have merged since then.

Types

In writing which utilizes man'y?gana, kanji are mapped to sounds in a number of different ways, some of which are straightforward and others which are less so.

Shakuon kana (?) are based on a Sino-Japanese on'yomi reading, in which one character represents either one mora or two morae.[7]

Shakuon kana ?
Morae 1 character, complete 1 character, partial
1 ? (?) ? (?) ? (?) ? (?) ? (?) ? (?)
2 ? () ? () ? ()

Shakkun kana (?) are based on a native kun'yomi reading, one to three characters represent one to three morae.[7]

Shakkun kana ?
Morae 1 character, complete 1 character, partial 2 characters 3 characters
1 ? (?)
? (?)
? (?)
? (?)
? (?)
? (?)
(?)
(?)
(?)
(?)
(?)
2 ? ()
? ()
? ()
()
()
3 ? ()
? ()
? ()
Table of man'y?gana
one character represents one mora
- K S T N P M Y R W G Z D B
a ? ? ? ? ?
i1 ? ?
i2 ? ?
u ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
e1 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
e2 ?
o1 ? ? ? ? ? ?
o2 ? ? ? ?

Development

Due to the major differences between the Japanese language (which was polysyllabic) and the Chinese language (which was monosyllabic) from which kanji came, man'y?gana proved to be very cumbersome to read and write. As stated earlier, since kanji has two different sets of pronunciation, one based on Sino-Japanese pronunciation and the other on native Japanese pronunciation, it was difficult to determine whether a certain character was used to represent its pronunciation or its meaning, i.e., whether it was man'y?gana or actual kanji, or both.[8] On top of that, Buddhist monks found recording oral teachings time-consuming, since every syllable would need to be written using an entire kanji,[9] which might have up to 23 strokes even if one considers only the most common kanji.[10]

To alleviate the confusion and to save time writing, kanji that were used as man'y?gana eventually gave rise to hiragana and katakana. Hiragana was developed from man'y?gana written in the highly cursive s?sho () style popularly used by women; katakana was developed by Buddhist monks as a form of shorthand, utilizing, in most cases, only fragments (for example, the first or last few strokes) of man'y?gana, characters. In some cases, one man'y?gana character for a given syllable gave rise to the current hiragana equivalent, and a different one gave rise to the current katakana equivalent. For example, the hiragana ? (ru) is derived from the man'y?gana ?, whereas the katakana ? (ru) is derived from the man'y?gana ?.

The use of multiple, different kanji to represent a single syllable also led to hentaigana (?), alternate letterforms for hiragana. Hentaigana were officially made obsolete in 1900.

Man'y?gana continues to appear in some regional names of present-day Japan, especially in Ky?sh?.[] A phenomenon similar to man'y?gana, called ateji (), still occurs, where words (including loanwords) are spelled out using kanji for their phonetic value. Examples include (kurabu, club), (Furansu, France), ? (Afurika, Africa) and ? (Amerika, America).

Katakana with man'y?gana equivalents (segments of man'y?gana adapted into katakana highlighted)
Katakana's Man'y?gana
including obsolete syllabograms
- K S T N H M Y R W
a ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
i ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
u ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
e ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
o ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
- ?
?
Development of hiragana from man'y?gana
Hiragana's Man'y?gana
including obsolete syllabograms
- K S T N H M Y R W
a ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
i ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
u ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
e ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
o ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
- ?
?

See also

References

  1. ^ Bjarke Frellesvig (29 July 2010). A History of the Japanese Language. Cambridge University Press. pp. 14-15. ISBN 978-1-139-48880-8.
  2. ^ Peter T. Daniels (1996). The World's Writing Systems. Oxford University Press. p. 212. ISBN 978-0-19-507993-7.
  3. ^ Seeley, Christopher. A History of Writing in Japan. University of Hawaii: 2000. 19-23.
  4. ^ Sacred texts and buried treasures: issues in the historical archaeology of ancient Japan by William Wayne Farris P102 [1] "The writing style of several other inscriptions also betrays Korean influence... Researchers discovered the longest inscription to date, the 115-character engraving on the Inariyama sword, in Saitama in the Kanto, seemingly far away from any Korean emigrés. The style that the author chose for the inscription, however, was highly popular in Paekche."
  5. ^ Bentley, John R. (2001). "The origin of man'y?gana". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. 64 (1): 59-73. doi:10.1017/S0041977X01000040. ISSN 0041-977X.
  6. ^ Joshi & Aaron 2006, p. 483.
  7. ^ a b Alex de Voogt; Joachim Friedrich Quack (9 December 2011). The Idea of Writing: Writing Across Borders. BRILL. pp. 170-171. ISBN 90-04-21545-X.
  8. ^ "L335: Manyogana". www.imabi.net. Retrieved .
  9. ^ "Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com". JapanesePod101. Retrieved .
  10. ^ "Highest stroke count: crazy crazy kanji". nihonshock.com. Retrieved .

Works cited

External links


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