On the Etymology of the Eastern Japanese Word tego

Main Article Content

John Kupchik



In this paper I detail the weaknesses of the previously proposed etymologies of the Eastern Japanese word tego ‘third daughter; maiden’, which is exclusive to Eastern Old Japanese (EOJ) and the modern Hachijō language. I then offer a new hypothesis in which the original form of this word was a morphological hybrid consisting of Proto-Ainu *dE ‘three’ (borrowed into EOJ as te), the EOJ adnominal copula nö, and the EOJ word ko ‘girl’, which contracted to tego and had the meaning ‘girl who is third’. Furthermore, I claim that the primary meaning of tego is ‘third daughter’ and that it developed the secondary meaning of ‘maiden’ in EOJ. I argue this hypothesis is stronger than the previously proposed etymologies in phonetics, morphology, and semantics, and more importantly it allows us to account for this word in both EOJ and Hachijō.

Abstract 9 | PDF Downloads 0