Is the Ainu name for every part of the body monosyllabic?

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I've heard a friend say that the Ainu word for every part of the human body is monosyllabic, and that all words in Ainu are made up of the syllables from those words. Is either claim true?

Andrew Grimm

Posted 2013-09-20T11:48:49.227

Reputation: 17 870

2I don't know about them being monosyllabic (although I'd say it's very unlikely to be true), the statement about all words being made up from body parts is simply to good to be true - it's on the same level as Inuits have 200+ words for snow. – blutorange – 2013-09-20T12:44:57.590

2This would be better fitted for Ainu stackexchange. – Jesse Good – 2013-09-20T12:47:26.947

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Also, here is a dic of the Uraka Ainu dialect: http://city.hokkai.or.jp/~ayaedu/udic/udic0.html We find テケヘ (tekehe, hand), アシケペチ(ashikepechi, toe), エトップ (etoppu, hair), カンカン (kankan, bowel). Even allowing for a non-faithful representation of the actual pronunciation, this would seem to disprove the hypothesis. On the same domain, we also find that askepet;askepecihi is leg in the Saru dialect. See also http://archive.org/details/ainuenglishjapan00batcuoft

– blutorange – 2013-09-20T13:06:13.330

We don't seem to have any meta discussion about whether Ainu is on-topic or not. Of course, Ainu is a completely separate language, so at first glance it appears to be entirely off-topic, but I also doubt there'll ever be an Ainu SE site, and it's unlikely we'll see many questions about Ainu... We could decide as a community that these questions are okay. So I'll leave it open and see whether the community decides to close it... – snailcar – 2013-09-20T13:26:54.803

Answers

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I know nothing about Ainu, but according to "A talking dictionary of Ainu" there are a number of multisyllabic words for parts of the body, including

leg
Kema; chikiri.

toe
Urepet.

The dictionary includes audio files for the pronunciation of each word, which I have linked to in the words above.

ThisSuitIsBlackNot

Posted 2013-09-20T11:48:49.227

Reputation: 885