Middle Japanese

Facts

  • Language: Middle Japanese
  • Alternate names: 中世日本語, chūsei nihongo
  • Language code: xjpnm
  • Language family: Japonic
  • Number of speakers: Extinct
  • Script: Hiragana, Katakana, and Han

More information:

    Introduction

    Middle Japanese is a stage of the Japanese language following Late Old Japanese and proceeding Early Modern Japanese. It is a period of transition in which the language sheds many of its archaic features and becomes closer to its modern form.

    The verb

    The 9 verbal conjugations in Middle Japanese

    Verb Class Irrealis
    未然形
    Adverbial
    連用形
    Conclusive
    終止形
    Attributive
    連体形
    Realis
    已然形
    Imperative
    命令形
    Quadrigrade (四段) -a -i -u -u -e -e
    Upper Monograde(上一段) -i -i -iru -iru -ire -i(yo)
    Upper Bigrade (上二段) -i -i -u -uru -ure -i(yo)
    Lower Monograde (下一段) -e -e -eru -eru -ere -e(yo)
    Lower Bigrade (下二段) -e -e -u -uru -ure -e(yo)
    K-irregular (カ変) -o -i -u -uru -ure -o
    S-irregular (サ変) -e -i -u -uru -ure -e(yo)
    N-irregular (ナ変) -a -i -u -uru -ure -e
    R-irregular (ラ変) -a -i -i -u -e -e

    Throughout the Middle Japanese period bigrade verbs gradually change into monogrades. This process comes to a completion during Early Modern Japanese.

    This is in part a result of the merging of the conclusive (terminal) and attributive forms. The distinction is still existing in Okinawan.