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Ramat newa Kamuy


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This short text is devoted to the analysis of ramat and kamuy which are the key words/basic concepts of Ainu religion and Ainu traditional life. This text is written in Ainu language and it is the first scientific article in Ainu language during the whole history of Ainu studies. Ramat is the first and the main concept of Ainu religion. According to my data this word consists of two morphemes: ram which means ''soul''/''mind''/''heart'' and at which is similar to such verbs as an/oka and oma which mean ''to be''/''to exist''. So the concept of ramat can be interpreted as ''soul exists''. Ramat exists everywhere and fills everything. Every thing and every being has ramat. One thing has a lot of ramat, another-little but nothing can exist without ramat. Ramat cannot be annihilated. When beings die or when things are broken their ramat leaves them but doesn't disappear and goes to another place. Following to Neil Gordon Munro it is possible to state that ramat is very much alike to the Polynesian mana. Kamuy is the second basic concept of Ainu religion. According to my data word kamuy doesn't have any connection to the Japanese kami ''deity'' because kamuy belongs to the most important and old part of Ainu lexics. The Ainu and Japanese languages differ in their linear model of word form: Ainu has linear model of word form of the American type while Japanese demonstrates this of the Altaic type, i.e. in Japanese prefixation is strictly prohibited while in Ainu it is permitted. I think serious word-change process cannot take place between such different languages. Moreover it is worth noting that the Ainu had not known paper before they met Japanese, so in the Ainu language the word for paper was borrowed from Japanese. In Japanese paper sounds the same way as ''deity'', i.e. kami but in Ainu it became kampi. In this connection I think that Ainu kamuy cannot originate from Japanese kami because Japanese kami would become kampi but not kamuy in Ainu. Also I don't think that kamuy has any connection with the Ainu word

source:Journal of Chiba University Eurasian Society



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