An Ainu–English–Japanese Dictionary/Chapter III



No sonant letter begins a sentence, but in composition surds are sometimes changed into sonants. These changes are as follows:—

K becomes g.
P ............ b.
T ............ d.

Chi is sometimes changed into t before utara, the u of which is dropped; thus:—

Heikattara for heikachi utara, “lads.”
Matkattara for matkachi utara, “girls.”

He or hei becomes se or sei in some places, thus:—

Sekachi for hekachi, “a lad.”

Ko becomes cho in some places and vice versa. Thus:—

Choropok for koropok, “underneath.”

Pa becomes cha in some districts: Thus:—

Uchashkuma for upaskuma, “preaching.”

N becomes m before b or m; thus:—

Tambe for tan be, “this thing.”
Tammatkachi for tan matkachi; “this girl.”

Ra and Ri become n before n and ra, and t before t, thus:—

Kan nangoro for Kara nangoro, “will make.”
Oan-raige for Oara raige, “to kill outright.”
Oattuye for ara tuye, “to cut through.”
Ashin-no for Ashiri no, “newly.”

Ro becomes t before chi and t, and n before n.

Ku kot chisei for ku goro chisei, “my house.”
Ku kottoi for ku goro toi, “my garden.”
Ku konnishpa for ku-goro-nishpa “my master.”

Ru becomes n before n; thus: An gun’ ne for an guru ne, “it is a person.”

When one word ending with a vowel is immediately followed by another commencing with a vowel, the final vowel of the first word is in some cases dropped; thus:—

Moshir’ ebitta for moshiri ebitta, “the whole world.”
Oya moshir’ un guru for Oya moshiri un guru, “a foreigner.”
Utar’ obitta for Utara, obitta “everybody.”

I becomes y before a, as, yayamkiri “to recognize,” while о is sometimes heard for u, as, anno for annu, “to defeat.”

Care must always be taken to pronounce the double consonants as in speaking Italian or Japanese. As:—

Ine, “where?” Inne, “a multitude.”
Ota, “sand” Otta, “in,” “to.”
Shina, “to lace up” Shinna, “a difference.”
Tane, “now” Tanne, “long.”

When it is desirable to give special clearness or emphasis to a noun or adjective ending with a vowel, such final vowel may be reduplicated preceded by the consonant h; thus :—

Nimaki or Nimakihi, “a tooth.”
To or Toho, “a day;” “a lake.”
Pirika or Pirikaha, “good,”
Kunne or Kunnehe “black,” “dark.”

There are some cases in which it is customary to reduplicate the final vowel, such reduplication being almost universally practiced by the Ainu. As:—For example:—

Chaha instead of cha, “twigs.”
Hochihi    ,,     ,,  hochi “a sum.”
Wen-kurihi instead of wenkuri, “a rain cloud.”