[KS] Re: Hong Kiltong, etc.

John Frankl jmfrankl at fas.harvard.edu
Wed Mar 15 22:47:51 EST 2000

Dear Professor Martin:

This is very interesting. Was boku a noun meaning slave prior to the
Meiji period, or was it the first person singular pronoun with which 
slaves (prior to the abolition of slavery which I assume came in or before
1868) referred to themselves? While it is understandable that a notion of
"I your humble servant" could evolve from a word meaning slave, the idea
does seem to run counter to conventional interpretations of the "Meiji

John Frankl

On Wed, 15 Mar 2000, Sam Martin wrote:

> According to Nihon kokugo daijiten the Japanese use of boku "slave" as a
> first-person pronoun dates from the Meiji period.


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