Understanding 音読み origin

I have been using studying kanji 成り立ち lately and would like to learn more about where 音読み readings are coming from. In particular I am sometimes confused by 形声. For example, take the character 寺. The sound component is 止 (シ) which turns into ジ. The similarity is apparent, but why the change?

Other times the change is more drastic. Take 等, which has the sound component 寺. Instead of ジ or シ, it is トウ. There is a note about how シ becomes トウ, and to the right is an entry of トウ under the 漢呉 label. The dictionary explains that label as “ 漢音・呉音共通”. When I look up 漢音 and 呉音, I see that they are readings introduced from different time periods. However when I look at the 寺 entry, I see that シ is 漢音 and ジ is 呉音 (but apparently it only uses the 呉音 for its 音読み).

If anything, I’m wondering what this sound shift is called and where I can read more about it.

Here is another example. 調 has チョウ which comes from 周 which is シュウ. We see there is are entries to the right about both チョウ and チュウ.

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That’s the shinjigen right? On the monokakido app? If so, there seems to be a decent write up (though I admit I haven’t read it myself yet) in the addendums. To access it just go to the index :

left most of the three rows : 漢字音について

and you should end up on a (seemingly) relatively detailed write-up :

section three might be most of interest :


Don’t know for certain if you’ll find your questions answered here, but it’s a part of my studies I myself haven’t bothered with yet to be honest, so can’t give you any other resources, but knew there was something like this in there at least, hope it helps!


Correct on both counts. You’re right, I had no idea this was in there. Admittedly, I’ve never actually looked at the index so this was in front of my nose the entire time.

This does look very relevant and I will give it a read, which will take some time because I am a slow reader. Thanks!


Glad I could (potentially) be of help ^^

Shameless self-promotion : And if you should have any further questions in regards to the dictionary stuff in the future, feel free to post a question / link / whatever over at the : Monolingual dictionary corner , it’s not super active, but would love to hear about any things you learn, as it could prove invaluable to others walking the same path ^^


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