"Loochooan and Aino Languages" by W.G. Aston
Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, Volume I, 1879

 
The Loochooan and Aino Languages. -- As a pendant to our note on the Loochoo Islands (p. 210), and as having some little bearing on that respecting the Japanese island of Yesso (p. 275), we cite a few particulars on the above subject from a memorandum which Mr. W.G. Aston, of Her Majesty's Legation at Yedo, has contributed, through Mr. R.N. Cust, to the August number of the 'Church Missionary Intelligencer and Record.' -- The language spoken in Loochoo is merely a dialect of Japanese, differing from it in about the same degree as Lowland Scotch does from English. It is not a corruption of Japanese but a genuinely independent form of the language; it resembles the dialect spoken in the province of Satsuma, which is almost unintelligible to natives of other parts of Japan. The Loochoo dialect is not cultivated as a literary language, Chinese or Japanese being used for literary proposes; but little attention is paid to letters, and there is neither printing-press nor book-shop in the islands. Mr. Aston used the word Aino as a convenient general term for the language which in a great variety of dialects is spoken in Yesso, Saghalin, the Kurile Islands, Kamchatka, and he believes in a small district on the mainland of Asia, inhabited by the tribe called the Santals (?) or Sandans (?). Aino means "man," and is used by these tribes to distinguish themselves from other nations. There are several dialects spoken on Saghalin, and at least two on Yesso, one being that used in the valley of the River Ishigari, in which is situated Sapporo, the newly-built capital of Yesso (ante p. 275). Mr. Aston says that little is known of the affinities of Aino, but it appears to him to have no close relationship with Japanese, and he would be inclined to exclude it from a class which would comprise Japanese, Corean, a possibly one or two others. (at page 598, Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography, New Monthly Series, Volume I, 1879, London).

 


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