Sample Entry

Here is how an entry would look like in the Etymological Dictionary of Japonic Languages.

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WOJ[1] tuti in varied contexts occurs in the meaning ‘ground’, the meaning ‘earth’ is found predominantly in the compound amë tuti ‘heaven and earth’, or in other contexts, where amë ‘heaven is also mentioned. The earliest WOJ attestation is in a gloss from KJK 1.7 (712 CE). WOJ phonographic spellings: 都知 (MYS 5.814, 15.3682, 15.3740, 15.3750, 19.4223, 20.4439, 20.4499, BS 1), 豆知 [-Nduti] (KJK 1.7, occurs in a compound, probably reflects *n-ǝ tuti ‘COP-AND earth’, NR 2.17), 津知 (NS 1.3), 都智 (MYS 5.800), 都地 (MYS 5.812). The spelling 都知 is clearly dominant, others are attested very seldom.

Examples of contextual usage in WOJ: 阿米弊由迦婆 奈何麻尓麻尓 都智奈良婆 大王伊摩周 amë-pê yuk-aNba na-Nga manima n-i tuti-n-ar-aNba OPO KÎMÎ imas-u heaven-DIR go-COND you-POSS according DV-INF earth-LOC-exist-COND emperor exist(HON)-FIN ‘If [you] go to heaven, you can do what you want, but if [you] are on earth, there is an emperor’ (MYS 5.800), 安米都知能 可未乎許比都々 安礼麻多武amë tuti-nö kamï-wo köp-î-tutu are mat-am-u heaven earth-GEN deity-ACC pray-INF-COOR I wait-TENT-FIN ‘I will wait for [you], praying to the deities of Heaven and Earth’ (MYS 15.3682), 多那礼乃美巨騰 都地尓意加米移母ta-nare n-ö mî-kötö tuti-ni ok-am-ë ya mö hand-be.accustomed(NML) COP-ADN HON-koto ground-LOC put-TENT-EV IP EP ‘would [I dare to] put the favorite koto [of my elder brother] on the ground?! [ – Certainly not!]’ (MYS 5.812), 麻都我延乃 都知尓都久麻埿 matu-Nga ye-nö tuti-ni tuk-u-maNde pine-POSS branch-GEN ground-LOC touch-ADN-TERM ‘until the pine branches will bend to the ground’ (MYS 20.4439).

MJ tuti LL (2.3) ‘earth, ground’. It seems that MJ tuti meaning ‘earth’ appears in wider contexts than in WOJ. The word is amply attested in MJ, with the earliest phonographic attestation in the man’yōgana spelling 豆知久礼 [Nduti] in the compound 豆知久礼 Nduti-kure ‘lump of earth’ in the SSJK 7.17b (898-901 AD). The earliest attestation in kana spelling in literary texts is つち in the Taketori monogatari 9.91 (early tenth century CE). MJ tuti is attested in the following MJ texts besides the Taketori monogatari: Kokin wakashū (921 CE), Kagerō nikki (ca. 975 CE), Makura-no sōshi (1000 CE), Genji monogatari (ca. 1008 CE), Sarashina nikki (ca. 1059 CE), Ōkagami (between 1087 and 1129 CE), and Hōjōki (1212 CE) (Saeki and Mabuchi 1969: 582), (Miyajima 1971: 192).

Examples of contextual usage in MJ: つちより五尺ばかりあがりたる tuti-yori GO SHAKU bakari agar-itar-u earth-ABL five shaku RP be.raised-PERF/PROG-AND ‘[Heavenly People] were above five shaku above the earth’ (TM 9.91), 蓮華の座のつちをあがりたるたかさ三四尺 RENGE-no ZA-no tuti-wo agar-itar-u taka-sa SAN-SI SHAKU lotus.flower-GEN pedestal-GEN ground-ACC be.raised-PERF/PROG-ADN be.high-NML three-four shaku‘the height of the lotus pedestal that was raised above the ground was three-four shaku (SN 533), 土さけて水わきあがり TUTI sake-te mizu wak-i-agar-i earth split-Sub water gush-INF-rise-INF ‘earth split and water gushed up’ (HJ 25)

MODERN JAPANESE DIALECTS: TJ tsɯči LH(-L), TOJ tsuči LH(-L), KJ tsuči HL(-L), TOKJ tsuči HL (Ueno 1997: 103), (KAJ tsuT LH (LL-H), GIJ, AIJ tsɯčina, IJ tsɯ̈dzɯ̈ LH (Saitō 2001: 122) ‘earth, ground’. Modern Japanese dialects present also several unrelated words for ‘earth, ground’ (excluding baby-talk): FUJ doro (Jinnouchi 1997: 154), LH-L ‘earth, ground’ and TOJ doro LH ‘earth, ground’ (Sanada 1998: 135) < *‘mud’ (see doro ‘mud’), KAJ miča (see mita), and also probably related NAJ nota, note, CHIJ suna ‘earth, ground’ < suna ‘sand’ (see su ‘sand’), NIJ beto, bero, SHIJ beta ‘earth, ground’, KAJ bu ‘lump of earth’ These last three words must be secondary formations due to the initial b-. Sources not marked: Shōgakukan henshū bu (2004: 860),


EOJ tusi ‘earth’ occurs twice only in the compound amë tusi ‘heaven and earth’. EOJ phonographic spelling: 都之 (20.4392, 20.4426); EOJ tuti ‘earth’, ‘ground’. EOJ phonographic spelling: 都知 (HF 46, MYS 20.4374, 20.4418).

Examples of contextual usage in EOJ: 阿米都之乃 可未尓奴佐於伎amë tusi-nö kamï-ni nusa ok-î heaven earth-GEN deity-DAT nusa place-INF ‘making nusa offerings to the deities of heaven and earth’ (MYS 20.4426), 麻己等奈礼 和我弖布礼奈々 都知尓於知母加毛 ma-kötö nare wa-Nga te pure-n-a-na tuti-ni oti-m-ö kamô INT-thing you I-POSS hand touch-NEG-ADN-LOC ground-LOC fall-TENT-ADN EP ‘[camellia flowers,] I wonder whether you would really fall to the ground, when my hand does not touch [you]?’ (MYS 20.4418).

HJ čiči ‘earth (土)’ in all Hachijō dialects, but cf. HJ mija ‘earth (地)’ in all Hachijō dialects, and ‘on the ground (土の上)’ in all Hachijō dialects except Sueyoshi (Yamada 2010: 52-53, 136-137) (see mita). An earlier publication provides čiči ‘ground’, miza ‘on the ground’, and mija ‘earth’ (Iwabuchi 1950: 367, 397-98).

Yaeyama Ryukyuan: IG tsïtsï ‘earth, ground’ (Hirayama 1966: 341). In spite of other attestations in Yaeyama: HM sitsï, KB tsïtsï, TT tsitsi (Miyara 1981: 315), this word is isolated in Yaeyama, all other Ryukyuan languages exhibit PR and PJ *mita ‘earth, ground’ (see mita). Moreover, even in Yaeyama it coexists with reflexes of PR *mita (Miyara 1981: 316). Thus, Yaeyama tsïtsï most likely represents a loan from Japanese.

RECONSTRUCTION: The paucity and unreliable nature of Ryukyuan data allow to reconstruct only PJN *tuti LL, but no PJ form. This word probably was borrowed by Ishigaki Ryukyuan, and also went into EOJ and Hachijō by diffusion. Both Martin (1987: 557) and Whitman (1985: 218) suggested the reconstruction of PJ *tutuy, but there is no evidence for this. On the contrary, since WOJ tuti is an invariable root (unlike WOJ tuti ~ tutu- < *tutuy ‘mallet’), and because of the EOJ form tusi, which shows assibilation ti > si, it is more than likely that the form was simply *tuti (possibly from an earlier *tute).

EXTERNAL ETYMOLOGIES: The limited distribution of tuti ‘earth’ in Japonic suggests that it is a loanword, while PJ *mita ‘id.’ is a native word. Tuti ‘earth’ is likely borrowed from Old Korean *tute ~*tuti ‘earth, ground’. The OK word itself is not attested, which comes as no surprise, because OK materials are very limited in quantity, but it survives in Middle Korean as a part in the MK compound tùtí-cúy ‘mole (lit. ‘ground-rat’), and in the secondary MK formations tùté-n, tùté-rk ‘bank, levee’. For the details of this etymology see Whitman (1985: 218) and Vovin (2010: 123-24).

EXTRALINGUISTIC COMMENTARIES. In Japanese mythology and native religion (known under the late name Shintō (神道) ‘The way of deities’ there is a clear dichotomy between amë ‘heaven’ and tuti ‘earth’, as is also demonstrated by WOJ examples of usage provided above. This dichotomy further extends into the formation of two classes of deities: amë-nö kamï ‘heavenly deities’ and tuti-nö kamï ‘earthly deities’. Since the top earthly deities yield the land to the heavenly deities, and because many names of the top heavenly deities are meaningless in Japanese, but can be etymologized through Korean, it is largely believed today that heavenly deities could have been originally of the Korean pedigree, while earthly deities are of local Japanese origin. It is also noteworthy that imperial clan and leading ancient nobility clans in Ancient Japan have elaborate genealogies tracing their origin to certain heavenly deities, and heavenly deities themselves have such genealogies, while earthly deities as rule have no genealogies at all. It is also significant that certain rituals associated with heavenly deities, such as kunibiki (land-acquisition, lit. land-pulling) ritual performed by Susanowo has striking parallel in the Korean mythology, while rituals associated with earthly deities have no such connection, and apparently reflect local native cults, like the ritual of offering the new early rice, or utagaki ‘sexual orgies’ ritual.


[1] Abbreviations used in the sample entry (in the order Chronological, Grammatical, Languages, Texts): Chronological: CE -- Common Era, Grammatical terms: ACC -- Accusative, AND -- Adnominal, COND -- Conditional, COOR -- Coordinative, COP -- Copula, DIR -- Directive, EP -- Emphatic particle, EV -- Evidential, FIN -- Finite, GEN -- Genitive, HON -- Honorific, INF -- Infinitive, INT -- Intensive, IP -- Interrogative particle, LOC -- Locative, NEG -- Negative, NML -- Nominalizer, PERF -- perfective, POSS -- Possessive, PROG -- Progressive, TENT -- Tentative, TERM -- Terminative, Languages: AIJ -- Aichi Japanese, CHIJ -- Chiba Japanese, EMdJ -- Early Modern Japanese, EOJ -- Eastern Old Japanese, FUJ -- Fukuoka Japanese, GIJ -- Gifu Japanese, HJ -- Hachijō Japanese, HM -- Hatoma, IG -- Ishigaki, KAJ -- Kagoshima Japanese, KB -- Kobama, KJ -- Kyoto Japanese, MJ -- Middle Japanese, MK -- Middle Korean, NAJ -- Nagano Japanese, OK -- Old Korean, PJ -- Proto-Japonic, PJN -- Proto-Japanese, PR -- Proto-Ryukyuan, SK -- Seoul Korean, TJ -- Tokyo Japanese, TOJ -- Toyama Japanese, TOKJ -- Tokushima Japanese, TT -- Taketomi, WOJ -- Western Old Japanese; Texts: BS -- Bussoku seki ka, HF -- Hitati Fudoki, HJ -- Hōjōki, KJK -- Kojiki, MYS -- Man’yōshū, NR -- Nihon Ryōiki, SN -- Sarashina nikki, SSJK -- Shinsen jikyō, TM -- Taketori monogatari.