Tag Archives: Finnish

Japan(ese) and dictionaries, 2 Feb 2018

Here are the abstracts of the two excellent papers presented at our most recent seminar, focusing on the latest and the earliest dictionaries from Japanese to a European language.

Uusi japani-suomi sanakirja, 2017
[‘The new Japanese-Finnish dictionary, 2017’]

Pirjo-Riitta Kuusikko

Japani-Suomi sanakirja on merkittävä Japanin ja Suomen välinen yhteistyöhanke. Se on toteutettu pitkälti ystävyysyhdistysten ja etenkin Japani-Suomi yhdistyksen puheenjohtajan Haruko Hayakawan tuella. Kyseessä on laajin ja perusteellisin tähän mennessä ilmestynyt japani-suomi sanakirja. Sen sana-artikkelit runsaine esimerkkeineen valottavat monipuolisesti japanilaista kulttuuria, ajattelutapaa ja historiaa.

Sanakirjan julkaisija on Japani-Suomi yhdistys (Tokio) ja tekijät ovat projektipäällikkö Petri Niemelä (PhD) ja Pirjo-Riitta Kuusikko (MA), jotka vastasivat sana-artikkelien laatimisesta ja tarkastuksesta, sekä leksikografi Hiroyasu Kato ja prof. Kingo Yoshida. Lisäksi lukuisat muut henkilöt myötävaikuttivat sanakirjan syntyyn.

Sanakirjaprojekti sai alkunsa jo vuonna 1997 Suomen Japanin Instituutin perustavassa kokouksessa. Vuonna 2004 julkaistiin 5000 sanan perussanasto CD-levynä, mutta vasta vuonna 2017, monien vaiheiden jälkeen, julkaistiin sanakirja koko laajuudessaan painetussa muodossa. Vuoden 2018 aikana on odotettavissa digitaalinen versio.

Sanakirjassa on yli 37 000 hakusanaa, yli 11 000 yhdyssanaa, yli 2000 sanontaa ja sananlaskua sekä yli 60 000 esimerkkiä. Sivuja on 1844. Hakusanat ovat virallisen japanilaisen kana-kirjoitusjärjestelmän mukaiset.

Sana-artikkelin rakenne on seuraava: hakusana, kirjoitusasu, lainasana, sanaluokka, käännösvastine, esimerkit, synonyymit ja antonyymit, yhdyssanat, sanonnat ja sananlaskut.

Sanakirjan hinta on 250€ ja se on tilattavissa seuraavasta osoitteesta:
http://js-sanakirja.net/index_fin.html

Vocabvlario da lingoa de Iapam (1603) and spellings of Japanese words in the letters of the English EIC merchants in Japan

Samuli Kaislaniemi

Early seventeenth-century English East India Company (EIC) merchants had a vested interest in learning local and regional languages spoken in the East Indies. In this light, it is surprising that the EIC did not invest in the creation of language-learning materials for its employees. In contrast, Catholic missionaries systematically studied and codified Asian languages, as part of their work in spreading the gospel, and established printing presses to disseminate the fruits of their labours. This study looks at whether EIC merchants in Japan might have had the use of a missionary-compiled dictionary.

The Jesuit mission press was established in Japan in 1590. By the time the EIC arrived in 1613, the press had been used to print at least 70 different works. One of these was the first dictionary from Japanese to a European language (Portuguese), Vocabvlario da lingoa de Iapam (1603). The EIC withdrew from Japan in 1623, but a sizeable corpus of documents from their venture survives. There is no explicit record of the EIC merchants having owned and used a copy of the Jesuit dictionary. This study looks at indirect evidence, the spellings of Japanese words and names in the letters written by the EIC merchants in Japan, and compares them with spellings found in the Vocabvlario. It finds that although the EIC merchants do not appear to have referred to the Jesuit dictionary for the spelling of Japanese words in general, their spellings of Japanese proper names shows clear influence from Portuguese.

Historical lexicography in Helsinki, 27 Feb 2015

Dictionary-making is alive and kicking vigorously in Finland. The Institute for the Languages of Finland (Kotimaisten kielten keskus) has a number on its list of publications, and more are in progress. The newly incorporated HSHL held its first seminar on February 27. A large audience was privileged to hear two highly informative and entertaining talks by

Pirkko Kuutti
Pirkko Kuutti

and Heikki Hurtta
Heikki Hurtta

on two very significant dictionaries currently in progress, the Vanhan kirjasuomen sanakirja (Dictionary of Old Literary Finnish, of which two volumes, A–K, have been published), and the Suomen murteiden sanakirja (Dictionary of Finnish Dialects), eight volumes of which have been published to date, taking this work from A–KURVOTTAA.

Both of these projects have been long in gestation, springing from ideas originally mooted towards the end of the nineteenth century, but with the eventual provision of staff and funding, both have made good progress more recently. They both cover somewhat different periods, the Dictionary of Old Literary Finnish ending at 1810, while the Dictionary of Finnish Dialects regards contemporary dialect as part of its remit. The former indicates the depth and strength of publishing in Finland from the sixteenth century on, and the latter benefits from the painstaking work of Finnish dialectologists over the years, who have amassed one of the finest collections of such material anywhere.

It’s worth checking out the publications list of the Institute to see what splendid work the Institute has done and the range it covers.

Pirkko Kuutti

Heikki Hurtta

Rod McConchie

Webmaster’s note: See also the tweets from the seminar.