言う

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Japanese[edit]

Kanji in this term

Grade: 2
kun'yomi

Etymology[edit]

From Old Japanese.[1]

/ipu//iɸu//*iwu//iu/

Medial /h/ regularly changed from [p][ɸ][w]. Japanese never distinguished between /wu/ and /u/, so that automatically becomes [u]. The /w/ only surfaces in the negative form of iwanai, where the phoneme /wa/ exists. Surface forms /iwimasu/ and /iwemasu/ automatically become /iimasu/ and /iemasu/ since Japanese no longer distinguishes /wi, we/ from /i, e/.

Possibly related to Korean (ip, “mouth”).

Pronunciation[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Verb[edit]

言う (transitive, godan conjugation, hiragana いう, romaji iu, historical hiragana いふ)

  1. to say, to tell somebody
    • circa 762, Shōsōin Man'yōgana Monjo
      和可夜之奈比乃 可波利爾波 於保末之末須 美奈美乃末知奈流奴乎 宇氣與止 於保止己可都可佐乃比止伊布 之可流可由恵爾 序禮宇氣牟比止良 久流末毛太之米弖 末都利伊禮之米太末布日 與禮良毛伊太佐牟 之可毛己乃波古美於可牟毛 阿夜布可流 可由恵爾 波夜久末可利太末布日之 於保己可ツ可佐奈比氣奈波 比止乃太氣太可比止 □己止波宇氣都流
    • circa 890, Taketori Monogatari (page 7)
      「おのが生さぬ子なれば、心にも従はずなんある」と言ひて、月日過ぐす。
    • 10th century: Ise Monogatari (chapter 6, page 84)
      「あなや」といひけれど、神鳴るさはぎにえ聞かざりけり。
     (わたし) ()ようにしなさい。
    Watashi ga iu yō ni shinasai.
    Do as I tell you.
  2. to call, to name, to give a name
    • circa 890, Taketori Monogatari (page 3)
      いまは昔、竹取の翁といふもの有けり。
    この動物 (どうぶつ)日本語 (にほんご) (なん) ()いますか。
    Kono dōbutsu wa Nihongo de nan to iimasu ka.
    What do you call this animal in Japanese?

言う (intransitive, godan conjugation, hiragana いう, romaji iu, historical hiragana いふ)

  1. to cry, to call, to make a noise (such as an animal)
    ニャーニャー () (ねこ)
    nyānyā iu neko
    a mewing cat

Idioms[edit]

Conjugation[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
  2. ^ 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, ISBN 4-385-13905-9