Dr John Kupchik

Ph.D. Linguistics (2011), University of Hawaii


Dr. Kupchik received his B.A. in Japanese Language from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa in 2002, and went on to complete his M.A. in Linguistics (2004) and Ph.D. in Linguistics (2011) at the same university. After this he was awarded a JSPS postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Linguistics at Kyoto University (2011-2013). He is currently a Research Fellow (2019-2024) funded by a European Research Council (ERC) grant, working as a core member of the "Etymological Dictionary of the Japonic Languages" project.

His current research consists of three long-term projects: 1) A linguistic study of the Azuma Old Japanese dialects, recorded in poetry in the eighth century CE; 2) The historical development of the moribund Hachijō language, including contact-induced changes; and 3) A translation and linguistic analysis of the Omoro Sōshi (16-17th century CE), which contains the most significant record of the Old Ryukyuan language. His first book, The Phonetics and Phonology of the Azuma Old Japanese dialects, is expected for publication in 2020.

Research | Current

2017. Review of The role of contact in the origins of the Japanese and Korean languages, by J. Marshall Unger (2009). Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. In Cahiers de Linguistique – Asie Orientale vol 46 (2):195-205.

2016. On the etymology of the Eastern Japanese word tego. In The Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol 136 (4): 733-743.

2013. Hypermetricality and synchronic vowel elision in hiatus contexts in Eastern Old Japanese poetry. In Cahiers de Linguistique – Asie Orientale vol 42 (1): 2-32.

2012. Morpheme-based rendaku as a rhythmic stabilizer in Eastern Old Japanese poetry. In Acta Linguistica Asiatica vol 2 (1): 9-22.

2011. A grammar of the Eastern Old Japanese dialects. Doctoral thesis, University of Hawaii at Manoa. xxxix + 1,018 pages.

2007.  A comprehensive study of mwo, mö, mye, mey, po, pye, and pey syllables in the Eastern Old Japanese dialects. In University of Hawaii Working Papers in Linguistics vol 38 (7): 1-33. 

Areas of expertise

  • Historical linguistics
  • Phonology
  • Morphology
  • Language contact
  • Japonic etymologies and reconstruction
  • Old Japanese poetry, linguistics and dialectology
  • Classical Japanese literature and linguistics
  • Old Ryukyuan poetry and linguistics
  • Hachijō linguistics
  • Ainu linguistics
  • Man’yōshū
  • Omoro Sōshi
  • Nara-period culture
  • Heian-period culture
  • Philology

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 2, Room 207
New Zealand