Dr John E 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, working as a core member of the "Etymological Dictionary of the Japonic Languages" ERC project (he is in charge of the Northern Ryukyuan and Muromachi Period Japanese entries).

His current research consists of four 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; 3) A linguistic analysis and translation of the Omoro Sōshi (16-17th century CE), which contains the most significant record of the Old Ryukyuan language; and 4) The historical development of the Ryukyuan languages, with a focus on sound change, loanwords and contact-induced changes.

Research | Current

Forthcoming. A Descriptive and Comparative Grammar of the Azuma Old Japanese Dialects.

2021c. Austronesian lights the way: The origins of the words for 'sun' and other celestial vocabulary in Old Ryukyuan. In The International Journal of Eurasian Linguistics, vol 3 (2).

2021b. Ainu loanwords in Hachijō. In Kupchik, John et al. (eds.). Studies in Asian Historical Linguistics, Philology and Beyond, 91-102. Leiden: Brill.

2021a. Kupchik, John, José Andrés Alonso de la Fuente & Mark Miyake (eds.). Studies in Asian Historical Linguistics, Philology and Beyond. Leiden: Brill. (xxxiv + 337pp)

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. PhD dissertation, University of Hawaii at Manoa. (xxxix + 1,018pp)

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 (Nara Period) poetry, linguistics and dialectology
  • Heian Period Japanese linguistics
  • Muromachi Period Japanese
  • Old Ryukyuan poetry and linguistics
  • Northern Ryukyuan linguistics
  • Hachijō linguistics
  • Ainu linguistics
  • Man’yōshū
  • Omoro Sōshi
  • Nara-period culture
  • Heian-period culture
  • Philology

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Member of the Editorial Board of the Languages of Asia book series (published by Brill, Leiden).

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 2, Room 207
New Zealand