1 Reply ・ Started by tesate at 2016-06-14 18:48:15 UTC ・ Last reply by Zengor at 2016-06-14 20:36:57 UTC
This is a discussion about 大人

人 = とな

why is the why is the 人 kanji suddenly pronounced as とな? anyone can explain that?

Zengor at 2016-06-14 20:36:57 UTC

There's no real "reason", it's just how this word is pronounced. This is one of several instances of irregular readings in very common words and there isn't much to do about it but to learn the word separate from the kanji readings.
As far as where this comes from etymologically: though I've never been able to find a reputable source on this, a popular thing to say online is that おとな comes from 音無 (soundless, quiet), and by making a contrast with kids, who tend to be noisy, it eventually came to mean 'adult'. That would mean 大人 would be ateji given to fit the changed meaning that おとな developed.

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