The linguistic maps of adjectives are drawn based on the CS data. These maps show the use of adjectives by the young generation in Niigata. What change can be detected in their dialects?
The variation of adjectives in the Niigata dialects of the Japanese language is very complex because it consists of different kinds of word forms. Thus groupings are made based on whether the adjectives are standard (Group 1) or dialectal (Group 2) and the variation is then plotted for each group.
As shown in Table 2
, the situation of the Furumachi dialect and the distributions of CS maps described above indicated the following hypothesis (Fukushima 2018a
The traditional Niigata dialects would have had three types of adjective forms:
VCCV type for unvoiced consonants,
VNCV type for nasal consonants, and
VVCV type for other voiced consonants.
Then the VVCV pattern with a long vowel in the second-last syllable widened its distribution even among the words with other consonants.
The change might have occurred first in the VNCV type and next in the VCCV type considering the size and density of the new distribution. According to the data, Niigata city must be the center of new changes, although the contemporary young people in that area tend to use standard Japanese; Figure 1
shows the results of early innovation in downtown Niigata.
However, the data from Toyama
) suggests a different hypothesis. First, the entries of adjectives in Toyama
) are classified, counted, and made into graphs like Figure 1
(See Figure 5
). The difference from Figure 1
is that nasal consonants include forms of the VNCV(V) types, which are all variants of umai
“good/tasty”. Voiced consonants have one form of the VCCV type; for example, hidde
is changed from hidoi
further changed into hinde
according to another set of CS data (Fukushima 2009
The classified results of adjectives in Toyama
) are then plotted on the map using SIS (see Figure 6
A–C). In the case of voiced consonants, the VVCV(V) type is distributed in the center and western part of Echigo (the mainland part of Niigata). Interestingly the VVCV type is found in the area around Niigata city, while the VVCVV type is prevalent in a wider area. In the case of nasal consonants, the VVCV(V) type shows similar distributions as voiced consonants, but the VVCV type has larger distributions in the eastern part of Echigo. Also, the VNCV(V) type is found only in the western part of Echigo. In the case of unvoiced consonants, the VCCV(V) type is prevalent, while the VVCV(V) type is found in some part of Echigo.
The distribution of nasal consonants as shown in Figure 6
B is the problem. Is the VNCV type really old as shown in Table 2
? There is another map concerning nasal consonants. Figure 7
is the map of amai
“sweet, not salty” from Ohashi
), Linguistic Atlas of Niigata Prefecture
. This map was redrawn using SEAL by the author. No VNCV(V) forms are found in this map of elderly people surveyed nearly thirty years ago.
Then how should we interpret the existence of many VNCV(V) forms in the young generation (Figure 3
B)? We can think of two possible reasons. One reason is that emphatic expressions were obtained because of the CS questionnaire. The questions were: What do you say to express “It is COLD today”? What do you say to express “This is SWEET” after you lick sugar? What do you say to express “You are blushing (literally, your face is RED)”? Also, the examples printed on the questionnaire included VNCV forms. Another reason is that different forms can be used by one person to show different strengths. For example, a:me
is stronger than ame:
is stronger than a:me.
Some college students made interesting remarks on the use of different forms of adjectives. One student stated, “I use different forms according to the sweetness. Thus amme:
: here > is a symbol of inequality meaning “greater than”. Another student stated, “I use three different forms, sami:
, for a change of feeling.”
With these ideas and the distributions of the maps in mind, we can think of the possible course of change in each case, as shown in Table 3
. The change on the first line of each case is prevalent not only in Niigata but in other places too. The change on the second line, the vowel lengthening of the second-last syllable, is typical in Niigata and can occur at each stage of the change on the first line (e.g., kurai > ku:rai
, ku:re > ku:re:
, kure > ku:re; amai > a:mai, ame: > a:me:
, and ame > a:me
). The addition of a nasal consonant can only happen after this change (e.g., a:mai > ammai
, a:me: >amme:
, and a:me > amme
). The change into a VCCV form in the case of voiced consonants (e.g., hidde
) seems exceptional because it only happens to hidoi
. The change into VVCV(V) forms in the case of unvoiced consonants (e.g., a:ke:
) would be a change by analogy rather than a phonological change since a VCCV(V) form would never seem to result in a VVCV(V) form.
In the case of adjectives in Niigata, an interesting finding is that different forms can coexist and be chosen according to their strength.