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A Dialect-geographical Study on the Seto Inland Sea Dialects of Japanese
Our project is to make thorough researches into the Seto Inland Sea Dialects. You will find the special state of "inland sea" in this area which has many islands. It is expected that there must be a number of facts and problems worthy of particular notice. We hope to contribute to general linguistics by investigating and researching the Seto Inland Sea with many islands that have their own dialects.
Among a number of possible ways to approach these dialects is the dialect-geographical method. We accomplished several years of the fieldwork at more than 850 places in that area 5 years ago. (The linguistic items thus examined consisted of 240 words and sentences, which were the first-phase items in a larger scale of our investigation.) Two kinds of the results were obtained from women in their sixties and girls in their teens.
In the spring of 1968, we completed the linguistic maps, consisting of more than 240 sheets, of dialects spoken by the older group. Now we are endeavoring to improve them: that is, we are moving to the higher dimension in making the linguistic maps. When we can compare the original maps with those now in hand, both treatinthe same items, we must much more easily get a better knowledge of the geographical distribution of the Seto Inland Sea Dialects.
Before setting on the linguistic maps, we did our best to arrange all the phenomena (variants) of each linguistic item asked of the women in their sixties. We classified them most objectively without the least extra-linguistic prejudice, We were constantly on our guard against missing even the slightest phenomenon, so that each phenomenon is shown in a systematic table prepared for the purpose.
Then, we gave a symbol to each phenomenon classified. On the symbols we also tried to get the ideal system, corresponding to the classified one of the phenomena. Moreover, we showed the local tendencies of the distributions of the phenomena by using special symbols on the maps. For instance, we give the X series of symbol to the distributions of the phenomena of each item in the eastern part of the Seto Inland Sea. When anyone looks at this X series of symbol on the maps, he will immediately understand this represents the eastern locality of those phenomena in the Seto Inland Sea.
Under the tables of the symbols and the classified phenomena, we add the detaild footnotes, in which are shown all memoranda made by each investigator and all the explanations given by each informant. We have described above some details of making the linguistic maps. In a word, we wish to show on the maps every information collected in the fieldwork and the subsequent mapping.
The present research has been conducted by an excellent team of cooperators such as Mr. Okada, Miss Okano, Mr. Sato, Mr. Setoguchi and Mr. Muroyama. Their help has enabled me to carry out my ideal of dialect-geographical researches. I also express my deep thanks to my former students, who are all able dialectologists. I ,think it is difficult to have a more cooperative and unified team. I make no doubt they will soon begin to make the dialectal maps of the Seto Inland Sea for themselves.
The Hiroshima University Studies Literature Department
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Departmental Bulletin Paper
Departmental Bulletin Papers
Graduate School of Letters