Counting days in Hokkaidō Ainu. Some thoughts on internal reconstruction and etymology

José Andrés Alonso de la Fuente


A new etymological solution is proposed to explain two highly irregular formations in Ainu: *tutko ‘two days’ and *rerko ‘three days’, from *tu ‘2’ and *re ‘3’, respectively. These words contain two components which have not been satisfactorily explained hitherto: *-t- and *-r-, and *-ko. The assumption is made that these components are the remains of older formations that were subjected to reduction over time. These older formations took part in a coherent system of derivation by means of the element *rerko ‘12-hour period’. The entire system collapsed long ago, but can be partially deduced from Ainu dialectal data via internal reconstruction. The very nature of the scenario put forward in this contribution rises some interesting questions regarding the method of internal reconstruction and its limits.

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ASJU  Anuario del Seminario de Filología Vasca "Julio de Urquijo"

ISSN: 0582-6152  |  e-ISSN: 2444-2992

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