A Historical Study of Medieval Katakana-Writing
From the twelfth through the fourteenth century is of great moment as the transitional period from Ancient to Modern Japanese. Nevertheless, the study of the language of this period lags comparatively behind due to the incomplete collecting and editing of contemporary materials.
As early as the twelfth century Katakana (the square Japanese syllabary) came to be established as a respectable means of writing Japanese. Katakana-writing--actually, a mixed writing of Katakana with Chinese characters--found great favour with the priesthood, cultural élite of the time, then grew popular among the samurai (warriors) and the common people educated by those priests. Consequently, an inquiry into this species of writing will give us a very good idea of what the language was like in those days.
This study is intended to illuminate the actual usage of Medieval Japanese, drawing for the primary sources upon over twenty pieces of Katakana-writing of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and for the secondary sources upon various sorts of contemporary materials. It is divided into the following six chapters, paying particular attention to the making of Modern Japanese :
Chapter 1 Letters and their Collateral Writing Symbols
Chapter 2 Sound Changes
Chapter 3 The Assimilation of Chinese Pronunciation
Chapter 4 Modern Grammatical Uses
Chapter 5 Vocabulary
Chapter 6 The Status of Medieval Japanese
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