Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2665-9336
  • E-ISSN: 2665-9344
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This paper presents an etymological analysis of the Japanese plural suffix , Old Japanese . I propose that originates from a grammaticalization of an earlier Pre-Old Japanese phonological form *totwi, the non-bound reflex of which is the Old Japanese quasi-collective marker ‘fellow (person), everyone, together’. The reconstruction of a Pre-Old Japanese stem *totwi (Pre-Proto-Japanese /*tətəj/) with quasi-collective and plural function clarifies the possible connection of the Japanese plural suffix to the Korean plural suffix (Middle Korean ), which Whitman (1985, p. 217) proposed to be cognates but which has since been criticized on phonological and distributional grounds. I show that reconstructing the earliest form of the Japanese plural suffix as /*tətəj/ resolves each of the three phonological issues with the Japano-Koreanic comparison, creates a better morphosyntactic match between the two languages, and rules out a loanword relationship of the Japanese and Korean forms.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): historical linguistics; Japano-Koreanic; Korean; Old Japanese; Proto-Japanese
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