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Summary Details

Query:   Japanese Suffixes
Author:  Benjamin Barrett
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Morphology

Summary:   I would like to thank James Mesbur, Laurence Labrune, Chris Beckwith and Bart Mathias for responding to my query (Linguist 14.3204) regarding the Japanese suffixes -shii and -rashii. Here is a summarization of the responses I received: 1. Laurence Labrune has written an article on /r + vowel affixes in Japanese, ''de l'iconicite en japonais: suffixes en -r + voyelle et reduplication'', Cahiers de Linguistique-Asie Orientale, 1998, pp. 79-118. In the article, he argues that -rashii as in nikurashii and otokorashii as well as -roshii as in yoroshii result from the combination of rV + shii. He also hypothesizes that this affix is the same as that found in other parts of speech. 2. According to Ikeda Tadashi in ''Classical Japanese Grammar Illustrated with Texts'' (summarized by James Mesbur), the Edo -rashii for adjective is not from the -rashi that attached to shuushikei form. 3. The derivation of shii is shiki. 4. Chris Beckwith traces -shii to Old Japanese *-si- (Martin ''Japanese Language through Time'', 1987), and then offers the Old Koguryo cognate adjective-attributive suffix -si. 5. Bart Mathias recalled seeing ''r'' being suggested as deriving from ari. He also noted the prevalence of o/a before -shii, and that words such as ''yoshi'' and ''nashi'' (none) derive from the shushikei form of shi. Other references offered: Above and Frellesvig, Bjarke. A Case Study in Diachronic Phonology-The Japanese Onbin Sound Changes. Aarhus University Press; 1995. Murakami, Akiko. 1981 ''setsubiji rashii no seiritsu'', Kokugogaku 124:3. Sakakura, Atsuyoshi. Gokousei no kenkyuu, Kadokawa, 1966. I received no responses on the semantic properties of -shii, leaving the one citation offered by Paul Atkins that -shiku adjectives have more emotive content than -ku adjectives. This seems reasonable with adjectives such as kanashii ''sad'' and tanoshii ''fun'' but does not seem to explain adjectives such as muzukashii ''difficult'' and bakabakashii ''silly''. Again, thanks to all who responded. Benjamin Barrett Graduate Student, Dept. of Linguistics University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA Subject-Language: Japanese; Code: JPN

LL Issue: 14.3304
Date Posted: 01-Dec-2003
Original Query: Read original query


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