Etymology: mado "window"

Qcumber

Senior Member
UK English
I have the impression the Japanese term mado "window" is derived from me > ma "eye" + to "(door) panel".
What's your opinion?
 
  • Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    What's your opinion?
    I am afraid that no one can give anything more solid than an opinion since etymology is a slippery fish where few clues are provided for comparison.

    I agree that mado consists of two morphemes; ma and do. The former is perhaps related to me (eye) as well as mi- (the root of the verb "to see"). The latter morpheme may be interpreted as "place." Indeed, vocabulary related to housing include several terms using this -do morpheme in sense of place; fushido (bedroom, obsolete; fushi, "lying" + do,"place") and kamado (cooking stove; kama, "caldron" + do) spring to mind.

    I would conjecture that mado in toto originally meant "seeing place."
     

    shiremono

    Member
    Japanese/Japan
    Hi/Konnichiwa

    I haven't thought about it.
    I looked it up in some ordinary Japanese dictionaries. They simply introduce two opinions about the derivation; [目門 ma(eye)+to(door/gateway)], [間戸 ma(space)+to(door/gateway)].

    The question and Flaminius' opinion that do is "place" are thought provoking, to say the least.
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I looked it up in some ordinary Japanese dictionaries. They simply introduce two opinions about the derivation; [目門 ma(eye)+to(door/gateway)], [間戸 ma(space)+to(door/gateway)].
    Komban wa, Flaminius San to Shiremono San.
    So this etymology has already been contemplated by Japanese scholars, and the only problem is about the meaning of each component.

    xxxx

    Moderation Note:
    A discussion about Japanese vowel gradation is now a separate thread.
     

    Kiyotsune

    Member
    Italian
    Minnasan, konnichiwa.

    Wow, this is such an interesting topic. I think "ma" could be very difficult to understand.. It surely refers to time/space, but I don't think it should be related to miru.. I suppose shiremono is on the right path..

    You should ask yourself: what is or what was "mado" at the time when this word has been introduced? Do you think traditional Japanese houses had "windows" as they are intended nowadays?
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    You should ask yourself: what is or what was "mado" at the time when this word has been introduced? Do you think traditional Japanese houses had "windows" as they are intended nowadays?
    Edward S. MORSE (1886)
    Japanese homes and their surroundings
    an illustrated description of Japanese home architecture has several types of windows. :)
     
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