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Guide to Sôrôbun
Topic Started: Nov 29 2017, 11:20 AM (229 Views)
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Tosa no kami
I've just noticed that the sôrôbun manual from Dr. Laura Moretti's Cambridge University "graduate summer school on Edo period written Japanese" is up and free to access online. I did this workshop a couple years ago, and it was excellent - for those of you in grad school (or similar) who might have the funding and the opportunity, I recommend it. Three weeks (iirc?) in Cambridge, working on how to read kanbun, sôrôbun, classical grammar, and that damn kuzushiji (handwriting!).

But, for the rest of everyone, here's a handy guide to teaching yourself how to read sôrôbun: http://wakanedo.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Manual-sorobun.pdf

Sôrôbun 候文 was one of the most commonly used forms of writing in Edo period documents. It uses both kanji and kana extensively. Learning to read it bears some close similarities with kanbun, but is a separate thing unto itself. Sôrôbun relies extensively on particular set phrases, and ends a great many of its clauses and sentences in the copula verb sôrô (候).

To give just one example, a brief excerpt from the records of the honjin at Futagawa station along the Tôkaidô: 「此度近在ヨリ見物大勢出、宿内こんさつ仕候。」In modern Japanese, that would be, very roughly, 「今度、隣の村々より見物をする人大勢が来て、宿内が混雑になりました。」And, very roughly in English, "At this time, a ton of people came from neighboring villages to see [the event], and the post-town became very crowded." So, it's this sort of style of writing. I've been very fortunate to have lessons/workshops in this, so I can't be 100% sure how well one can do just with the online manual and self-study, but, if you're interested, I think it's a really good resource. Good luck!
上り口説 Nubui Kuduchi – Musings on the arts of Japan and beyond
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Daijo Daijin

Thanks for this!!
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Daijo Daijin Emeritus
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The Shogun

Tangentially related, but Dr. Vovin just made his September 2017 article "Origins of the Japanese Language" available on academia.edu: https://www.academia.edu/35280086/Origins_of_the_Japanese_Language
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Interesting. Thanks for this.
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