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ICOS 2008 Conference Abstract

Changes and Traces of Ainu Place Names in Contact with Japanese

Author(s):
A Kagami
Aichi Gakuin University, Japan

I read my paper at the 17th ICOS, “Ainu Substratum in the Distribution of Japanese Micro-toponyms” and I now present the continuing studies.
In Tohoku (North East District of Japan ), there remain many place names having the same word structures as the names in Hokkaido where there still remain Ainu aborigines. But many names in Tohoku have changed through contact with the Japanese language, and it is necessary to interpret the names as to how they changed from Ainu to a Japanized word. Some names essential in Hokkaido are not yet recognized in Tohoku: Kotan (village), Panke (upper), Penke (lower), etc.
In case of Kotan, two patterns are recognized. In the northwest corner of Tohoku, the names Kotani (in Japanese “small valley”) must be derived from Ainu Kotan, because valley is Ya not Tani in Tohoku. Also, Kotate and its variants exist all over Tohoku. This Kotate (in Japanese Ko“small” or “old”, Tate “building”), with the variants Kodate, Furutate, Furudate (Furu is a cognate with Ko (old) through a change of reading.) must
also be from Ainu Kotan.
Through this method, it is expected that one might reconstruct from Japanized names many Ainu names that have disappeared.

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