Old Japanese

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Old Japanese
上代日本語
Manuscript in standard Chinese characters (standing for Old Japanese syllables), annotated in a cursive style
Manuscript of the Man'yōshū, recording Old Japanese using Chinese characters
RegionJapan
EraEvolved into Early Middle Japanese during the Heian period
Japonic
  • Old Japanese
man'yōgana
Language codes
ISO 639-3ojp
ojp [a]
Glottologoldj1239
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For a guide to IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Old Japanese (上代日本語, Jōdai nihongo) is the oldest known form of the Japanese language.

It is difficult to give a precise date when Old Japanese started. The date when the Old Japanese period is said to have finished is 794. It was the start of the Heian period.

The Japanese writing system came from the Chinese. Wooden tablets have been found with writing on. The oldest extended piece of writing we know of dates from 712. This is the start of the Nara period (710-794).

The earliest texts found in Japan are written in classical Chinese. However, some of them show the influences of Japanese grammar (e.g. word order). Sometimes bits of Chinese characters are used to make the sound of the small Japanese words called “particles”. This helps us to make some guesses about how it used to be pronounced.

Many changes in the Japanese language took place over the centuries. The spoken form of Japanese changed much more quickly than the written form.

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

Notes

  1. Described as "The ancestor of modern Japanese. 7th–10th centuries AD." The more usual date for the change from Old Japanese to Middle Japanese is ca. 800 (end of the Nara era).