Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Testimony Of The Dog

The Japanese word for dog is rather similar to the Manchurian (Tungistic language family) word for dog, and strongly contrasts with the Chinese word, although both languages use the same Chinese character to describe a dog.

This is anecdotal evidence for including Japanese in a controversial Greater Altaic language family, although the Korean word for a dog seems to be derived from the Chinese, and other Altaic roots aren't a great fit even in this case.


Ebizur said...

The Korean word for "dog" is 개 /kɛː/, which descends from Middle Korean 가히 /kahi/ ~ 갛 /kah/. (/kahi/, which is the nominative form and the citation form in Middle Korean, perhaps derives from */kah/ + the Korean nominative case marker /-i/. For the other cases, case-marking suffixes that began with a consonant in their underlying phonemic forms attached to /kahi/, whereas case-marking suffixes that began with a vowel in their underlying phonemic forms attached to /kah/.)

In addition, standard Korean has 강아지 /kaŋaʨi/ "puppy," and 강생이 /kaŋsɛŋi/ "puppy" is used by speakers of some dialects in the extreme south of Korea (e.g. Jeju Island). None of these words has the appearance of a typical Sinitic loanword (of which there are a plethora in Korean).

By the way, actual Sinitic loan morphemes in Korean that mean "dog" include 犬 견 /kjʌn/ (in both the modern Chinese vernacular and in Korean, this is a bound morpheme that is used in some compounds) and 狗 구 /ku/ (used frequently in the modern Chinese vernacular, but only rarely and as a bound morpheme in Korean).

andrew said...

Thank you very much for this analysis.