Teach Yourself Japanese
Subject: Re: 日本
Date: Thu, 27 May 2004 18:27:44 GMT
References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
> Another question along the lines of the 日本-debate: how far back can we trace the reading NIPPON?
In "Vocabvlario Da Lingoa De Iapam," a Portuguese/Japanese dictionary published in 1603, there is an entry for "NIPPON" and "NIPPON SHOKI (日本書記), along with "Nifon" (which entry says "see NIPPON") so that I would suppose that much prior to 1603, when this book was published, the word NIPPON was commonly used in Japan. It includes 日本一, which is shown as "Nippon Ichi" (which is still true to date) and not ""Nihon Ichi."
It is said that the word "日本" was developed during the Nara Period (710-784) and how it was pronounced back then is up to speculation (I think it was originally read as "Yamato").
However, in the early period preceding the Heian Period (which started at 794 A.D. after the Nara Period), there apparently existed no consonant equilvalent to "H" and H sound was pronounced as P sound. If we follow this logic, assuming that the word such as "Nihon" was created during the Nara Period, and it obtained the reading besides "Yamato," it is highly likely that it would have been pronounced as "Nit-Pon" which later became "Nippon" and eventually "Nihon" after the P-H conversion took effect.
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