Only Cantonese read 係 as 'Hai'.
but Mandarin, Cantonese dialects(including Taishanese) and Japanese prounounce 係 as "Hai" and i know that Hakka and Minnan share some words that are similar because they live right next to each other in Chaoshan region and in southern Fujian.
We do have "Hai" in Mandarin and Japanese but they are not the word 係.
For example, 海 is "hai3" in Mandarin and "配" is "hai" in Sino-Japanese, and as for 係 its Sino-Japanese is kei and its Mandarin is xi4
Japanese "hai" is unrelated to Chinese 係, just like English "aye" is unrelated to Chinese.
(The usage of Japanese "hai" is just like English "aye": it can mean "yes" but it can't mean "to be" i.e. "X aye Y" is invalid grammatically.)
Words with h- in Cantonese will be k-/g- in Japanese so they can't be a regular correspondence.
In fact, the words starting with h- in Modern Japanese started with p- in Ancient Japanese, we can see that even in Sino-Japanese: 八 is hatsu not patsu 変 is hen and not pen.
A simple way to say it is that "koku" ends with "u", not "k".
they do have the final -k consonant like the word "Country" is pronounced as Koku.
So the "k" did survive, but not as an ending.
There's nothing special with having "n-" initial. It's common across the world.
And the initial n- like the word Japan = Nip Pon (Ngit Pon in Taishanese Canto), Person = Nin (Ngin in Taishanese Canto) and the number 2 = Ni (Ngi in Taishanese Canto).
Edited by qrasy, 21 January 2009 - 09:40 AM.