Chinese Loanwords in Mongolian, Manju and Japanese

Kyoko Maezono

Chinese Loanwords in Mongolian, Manju and Japanese

(66th Annual Meeting of the PIAC Göttingen, 2024)

Mongolian and Manju are located geographically next to each other, together with Chinese while Japanese is separated from Chinese across the sea. Among the loanwords from Chinese in Mongolian and Manju we can see the historical relationship and influence of many aspects of Chinese culture and society. On the other hand many Chinese words have been adopted into Japanese since the 6th century and there are also many Japanese loanwords in Chinese since the 19th century.

The big difference between Chinese loanwords in Mongolian/ Manju vs. Japanese is that the writing system of Mongolian and Manju is phonographic system, while Japanese adopted the writing system of Chinese characters as logograms with meaning as primary component. Starting with the introduction of Confucianism and Buddhism in the 6th century, Japanese adopted many Chinese words together with their characters with their meanings. Because of the logographical feature of Chinese characters Japanese could combine Chinese characters and create many words and even provide them for Chinese since the 19th century as Japanese started to translate English words into Japanese, always using Chinese characters in the process.

In this paper examples of words will be presented which came into Mongolian and Manju from Chinese as well as words came into Japanese from Chinese and vice versa.