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Old 03-30-2010, 11:36 AM   #15
Josh Reyer
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Location: Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 644
Re: Call-out for "I yield" in Japanese

David Orange wrote: View Post
I've been thinking this comes from "makeru," which is "to be beaten (in a sporting event)" or "to lose (in a sporting event)".

I understood "maeta" to be s shortened form of "maketa", meaning "I lost" (or "you won").

In fact, I think I remember one of the guys telling me that once, a long, long time ago...

Best wishes.

Linguistically, that seems very unlikely. The lost medial "k-" occurs preceding "-i", thus "kaku" -> "kakita" -> "kaita", but not preceding "-e".

From a classical Japanese perspective, "kaku" was called a "four degree verb" (yondan doushi). When attached to the perfective "ta(ri)", it changed to "kaki-ta(ri)", and then thus through linguistic shift became modern "kaita".

What I suspect someone suggested to you was that "makeru" originally came from a verb "maku". Perhaps they then conjectured that from "maku" came "maita", like "kaita" came from "kaku".

However, "maku" was a "shimo-nidan doushi" (lower two-level verb). Which means that when you added the perfective inflection to it, the "maku" changed to "make", thus "maketa(ri)".

What is more likely is that the "surrender, submission" meaning of "mairu" arose from it's use as a word indicating humility in the speaker in relation to the one being spoken to. E.g., if I speak to an equal I say, "Kita" - I came. Speaking to a superior, I say, "Maitta".

Corruption from "maketa" to "maeta" to "maitta" seems to me that it'd be some regional variation that achieved common use. I don't want to dismiss that theory out of hand, but I'll just say I've never seen such a theory in any of my references.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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