Obsolete form of い (the current form of the Hiragana syllable i). Simplified from 以.
𛀆 (romaji yi)
- 𛀆 is a retrospective invention. It was invented sometime around the Meiji period and was not used in ancient Japanese literature (which uses man'yōgana instead) and thus is not included in the historical kana orthography.
- 𛀆's scope of use is primarily confined to linguistics and represents a purely phonological way to specifically denote a spoken allophone rather than an underlying etymological phonemic distinction. Unlike 𛀁 /je/, phoneme /ji/ has never been prescriptive in the Japanese language at any point and has only ever existed as an allophone (although it may have been distinct in Proto-Japonic). Meiji era linguistics books delegate the use of 𛀆 primarily to a few specific cases:
- 𛀆 ← き: It likely could have represented /ʝi/ during the lenition of /k/ in some specific cases from older and literary き /ki/ to modern pronunciations of い /i/.
- 𛀆 ← し: Like 𛀆 ← き; lenition of /s/.
- 𛀆 ← い: Because the Japanese language does not prescriptively include diphthongs and makes use of hiatus in all cases instead, some rapid transitions between another vowel and i, such as a to i, may sound stressed to the point of sounding like a semivowel palatal approximant (/j/) or fricative (/ʝ/).
- Sound /ji/ reintroduced later is written as いぃ in hiragana and イィ in katakana - however most speakers pronounce this as a long /i/ sound.
- In Meiji era grammar books, 𛀆 was sometimes used to spell や行上一段活用 verbs, as well as や行上二段活用 verbs. However, this was not universal; some books did this, while others did not.
Words containing Old Japanese /ji/ of Japonic origin