Body Parts and jukugo


As explained in some lessons, there seems to be a rule that jukugo words involving body parts, for example 早口, will often use the kun yomi rather than on yomi.

I was wondering if anyone knew the etymological reason for that? I’ve done a quick search in the forums and online and I couldn’t find an explanation (other than it’s an exception). I’ll look further if nobody knows!

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My feeling (which I’ve honestly never researched to see whether there’s a basis to it) is that kun’yomi is older, so the more likely you are to see it in nature, the more likely it is to use kun’yomi. Kun’yomi predates the arrival of Chinese civilisation, so they only had words for the things they could see around them. For example, 川口. I mean, obviously that’s not a hard-and-fast rule - 山脈 is on’yomi - but in my anecdotal experience, it’s a fair rule-of-thumb.

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