The Aynu World (Mostly the Concept of Space)

Applying the above described method to the material

presented in "Aynu Folklore" by N.A. Nevski - Aynu folklore

narratives collected by Nefu-san in Japan in the first

quarter of the 20th century - we come to following

conclusions: The world in Aynu language can be

classified into eight semantic fields:

1.atuy, rep, pis, sa, ruru ( ocean ), nupuri ( mountain )

3.cise ( dwelling )

4.kotan ( settlement )

5.mosiri ( island ) ( river )

7.Aynu mosiri ( land of aynu=people)

Toponyms and anthroponyms also must be considered as

a part of the Aynu mosiri semantic field.

8.Kamuy mosiri ( land of kamuy ) has the same

structure as the semantic field of Aynu mosiri;

furthermore it is possible to distinguish a field of parts

of the human body and clothing, and a field of

anthroponyms - position or place indicators.

The largest semantic field is that of ocean, for it includes

all other semantic fields in such a way as the island is

included within the ocean, the settlement on the island,

the dwelling in the settlement. Thus the semantic field of

ocean is the most highly structured. Kotan and mosiri

are structures that organise the space. They have

the same structure, for they all have head (pa) and back

(kes) in their structure. And river is the mediator between

mosiri pa and mosiri kes ( more exactly between atuy and

kim). Kim is a continuous (non-discret) spatial object.

And in this connection kim is absolutely opposite to atuy.

Kamuy mosiri is just another island in my understanding,

A lot of toponyms indicate that Aynu space was very concrete.

Image of Aynu Space Structure based on the data extracted from the texts of "Aynu Folklore"

"Mountain" is not associated with "top", so is

not used with the verbs "to climb/to ascend" (rikim), or

"to go up" (hopuni, hopumba). The verbs usually used with

mountain are "to go" (arapa, paye), or "to leave/to

depart" (kuta). At the same time, "sea" and "river" are

used in all cases with the verbs "to descend", "to

condescend" (san,sap). Only in one case are they used

with the verb "to run out" (osma), which means running or

jumping out from some contained or closed space. It is

necessary also to mention the very relevant word

"hemakasi wa" (homakasi), which means "from the

mountains" (for example, wind blowing from the

mountains to the sea). However in a literal translation

hemakasi means "back, to mountains", i.e. from the sea;

that is very indicative. Four words for identification of the

sea were selected and allocated: pis, atuy, rep and ruru.

Thus it is possible to state that the primary spatial

reference points of Aynu relate to sea and river.

Furthurmore, the outcome of applying the

paleolinguistic methodology indicates an absence of an

organizing center or world/global mass; i.e. the amorphism

of spatial pattern in the Aynu world.

At this time I can say that spatial markers can be

frequently used as temporal markers. For example,

orowa - "therefrom" - a marker indicating

"in motion from", also translated as "then"; imakake ta

now". They are, in our view, most typical cases. It is

necessary also to note the fact that, although V.M.

Alpatov writes about the absence in the Aynu language of

the category of tense: "The category of tense absents, the

same verbal forms can refer to past, present or future"

[Alpatov 1997 P.131]; this is not absolutely correct,

because within the Aynu language is a rather definite and

visible system of the analytical aspect-tense forms formed

through using special function words and different

auxiliaries. Alpatov doesn't consider this aspect of Aynu


P.S. So Aynu space can be treated as definitely syncopation

spaceAnd in this connection I think you should see the

following: Aynu Culture Through Reggae


  1. Alpatov V.M. Aynu language // Paleoasian languages.
  2. Languages of a world. Moscow, 1997.

  3. Wierzbicka Anna. Comprehension of cultures via
  4. keywords. Moscow, 2001.

  5. Nevski Nikolai Alexandrovich. Aynu folklore. Moscow,
  6. 1972.

  7. Tarlanov Z.K. Methods and principles of the linguistic
  8. analysis. Petrozavodsk, 1995.

  9. Batchelor John. An Ainu-English-Japanese Dictionary.

Tokyo, 1926.



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