Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Influence of Sanskrit on the Japanese Sound Systems

For future reference.


The Influence of Sanskrit on the Japanese Sound Systems.
Buck, James H.
The Japanese syllabary of today would probably not exist in its present arrangement had it not been for Sanskrit studies in Japan. Scholars of ancient Japan extracted from the Devanagari those sounds which corresponded to sounds in Japanese and arranged the Japanese syllabary in the devanagari order. First appearing in a document dated 1204, this arrangement has been fixed since the 17th century. This arrangement was most convenient for the study of Sanskrit and was later applied by scholars of the history of the Japanese language. It was a convenient means to order information and perhaps, even, its early use has a parallel in the earliest English dictionaries which were arranged according to our present alphabet, but whose major purpose was the study of a foreign language. For the English, it was Latin; for the Japanese, it was Sanskrit. (Author/AMM)
Note: Presented at the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics, University of North Carolina, April 17-18, 1970