Talk:Classification of the Japonic languages

Active discussions

Tamil HypothesisEdit

When this was on the Japanese language page, someone kept putting in something about how Japanese and Tamil have retroflex pronunciation for both /l/ and /r/. Leaving aside the fact that Japanese has only one liquid consonant, it is important to note that Japanese, unlike Tamil, has no retroflexes, which are a prominent characteristic of Indian languages in general. It is still important to note here that the phonetics of Japanese and Tamil differ greatly in this respect, so I have put that part back in. Godfrey Daniel 00:05, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Oh, and as for the scholarly support, "very little" isn't strong enough: of all the scholars I know who specialize in Japanese (and I know most of the non-Japanese ones and many of the Japanese researchers, too), NONE accept the Tamil hypothesis as even remotely plausible. Godfrey Daniel 00:10, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Whether or not what you've written is true, you need to provide sources to support it, which this article seems to lack. If you can find sources to support most of the things written in this article, then you should place it in a Sources section. This will be helpful in making this a more reliable article. Jagged 07:14, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps you would like to lead the way by supplying a source for your own claim that "there is no order of probability"? I can provide sources that contradict it: e.g. "the Japanese-Korean relationship [...] is considered by many to be the most plausible" (Masayoshi Shibatani, The Languages of Japan (Cambridge: 1990), p. 116), which may be considered to have particular force in the context of a broad overview aimed at non-specialists.
If you would like to see sources particularly criticising the Tamil theory, you have only to follow the link from Ōno's name; numerous criticisms are quoted and discussed towards the end of the linked article. — Haeleth Talk 15:53, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
What exactly is the point in me citing a source for a removed statement? I have not come across any list giving an "order of probability", so I see no reason to keep this statement. If you do have any sources to support it (such as the Masayoshi Shibatani source you mentioned), or for anything else written in this article, then by all means add them to a Sources/References/Bibliography section in the main article, and make whatever edits you like as long as it is consistent with those sources and references. Jagged 18:58, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." While you may not personally be familiar with the literature, I am. Furthermore, when I speak with the experts in the field (like the week-long session at ICHL XVI in Copenhagen in 2003, and the bimonthly meetings held over a year-long period at Nichibunken in 2000-2001), we come to a certain consensus. I can tell you that there is overall scepticism, but the order is as I originally presented it. If I can find the time, I might get around to putting in reference, but you're going to have to be patient. In the mean time, instead of deleting material, how about adding the "fact" tag? (Curly brackets x2 around the word "fact" is how you do it.)
Why, that's such a good idea I'll do it now! Godfrey Daniel 01:23, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
Took out the "fact" tag, because I added the reference. I also expanded several sections. Godfrey Daniel 05:25, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for adding a reference and expanding some parts. I am quite content with the article as it currently stands. Jagged 07:47, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

The term is written too much in the negative about this hypothesis. Since it is lack of NPOV, I think, I will revise. thanks.--Midville 17:47, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

It's not POV; it's a summary of a published academic article. Please feel free to add positions from other works you can reference. Godfrey Daniel 09:09, 30 April 2006 (UTC)
only composition is done. please review.--Midville 20:48, 29 April 2006 (UTC)
I'm very sorry to have to say it, but Midville's edit was so hard to follow that I had to revert to an earlier version. While I appreciate that he wants to revise the article to include information not presented here, the English just didn't make sense. Godfrey Daniel 09:09, 30 April 2006 (UTC)
Hi, Godfrey. You are so severe.;-) I'm sorry but I'm not disappointed in reverting. I know I'm not good in English. However, I have a lot of information to tell correctly in English. I still need your help. Thanks--Midville 13:26, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

Classification's self-inconsistencyEdit

The term Japanese language classification includes self-inconsistency. Since the Japanese language is considered to be a "hybrid" or a "multistorey" language. Although most (esp. Japanese) people who believe "only one japan" will deny that scholarly fact for political reasons or innocent wishful thinking, it is the foundation of NPOV-understanding of the term. Concerning the Japanese language, it is (not only encyclopediacly) nonsense to believe "only one hypothesis is true" and to choose a hypothesis and to abandon (or to deny) the other hypothesis. Ladies and gentlemen, how should that be reflected in the main article?--Midville 11:35, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

Midville says "the Japanese language is considered to be a "hybrid" [...] language." That is one hypothesis. Here, we have all of the current (and not-so current) hypotheses. None are presented as correct, but they are present in the order that most Western, and many Japanese, scholars find plausible. All are presented with both pros and cons, though I'm sure that each hypothesis' section could be expanded. Godfrey Daniel 09:09, 30 April 2006 (UTC)
Hi, Godfrey. No, no. That is not one hypothesis. Most Japanese language classification hypotheses are premised on "hybrid." Since DNA-based biology proved that the contemporary Japanese people are "hybrid." For example, the Japanese people natively settle in Akita pref. have Caucasoid-marked DNA. The modern Japanese people are the sons of several peoples who had experienced long long treks. When Siberia was still warm, one of main stream peoples lived around Lake Baikal. Most Japanese persons know that fact. Godfrey, I know we have all of the hypotheses, however, subsidiarity among them, relations between them or the premise of them are still not explained. Thanks--Midville 14:39, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
The origin of a people is a separate issue from the origin of their language, and likewise external influences, even where they have resulted in significant language change, are generally ignored in classifying a language; that's why English is still classified as a West Germanic language, even though it has been very heavily influenced by the North Germanic and Romance languages, and the ancestors of significant populations of Americans lived in places like sub-Saharan Africa.
Further, ISTM the article does cover subsidiarity and relations between hypotheses; for example, the section on the extinct Korean-peninsular languages hypothesis explains why modern Korean is not included, while the section on Korean explains how that hypothesis is distinct from the more general Altaic hypothesis, and so forth. — Haeleth Talk 09:16, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
Every human population in the world is "hybrid" in one way or another to some extent. Recent DNA analyses have only proven that the contemporary Japanese population is much more "hybrid" than most others. That does not necessarily have any bearing on the history of the Japanese language, whose degree of "hybridization" is absolutely independent of the degree of genetic intermixing in the history of the Japanese people. The Japanese people could have evolved from a 50%-50% hybridization event and yet their language could still be 100% derived from the language of only one group of their ancestors, or even from the language of some hypothetical foreign imperial rulers. Ebizur 19:12, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Other ConnectionsEdit

Somebody put in the following false statement in the 'Other connections' section at the end of the article:

, though in the 1990s, Christopher Beckwith proposed a Japanese-Chinese connection. His efforts were sharply criticized by specialists in Japanese. Now, Beckwith is a proponent of the hypothesis linking Japonic to the extinct Manchurian and Korean Peninsular languages of Goguryeo, Baekje, Buyeo, and Gojoseon.

This is completely untrue. There is no doubt that there are early Chinese loanwords in Japanese (I am not the only one who has studied them), but I never claimed the two languages were related. Note that the statement gives no citation. In short, I am the accused and I never made any such claim.Chris B 05:06, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Austronesian HypothesisEdit

I added the 'no references/sources' template to this section. I'm not sure if I was right in doing so, but I didn't see any links to sources there. If the sources for this section are simply referenced elsewhere in the article, feel free to remove this template. --TheSlyFox 11:48, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Ancient Korean dialect loanwords in JapaneseEdit

I have started to formulate a theory that some words in the Japanese language, especially certain botanical names, have been borrowed into the ancestor of the Japanese language from an ancient language of the Korean Peninsula that has left some relics in the modern dialects of the Gyeongsang region of southeastern Korea. Gyeongsang is, of course, the region in which the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla was located, so it might be possible to identify these words as "ancient Silla dialect words." One example is the Japanese word yuri ("lily"), which I believe is related to the modern Gyeongsang dialect word 돌개 dolgae ("Chinese bellflower, Platycodon grandiflorum"). In Japan, lilies have traditionally been considered a source of food, as their bulbs were often dug up and eaten like onions. As for the Chinese bellflower, its root is a common foodstuff even in today's Korean cuisine. Gyeongsang dialect dolgae appears to ultimately be cognate with Standard Korean 도라지 doraji ("Chinese bellflower"), but I think it is likely that Japanese yuri was borrowed from an ancient Korean form that was directly ancestral to either Gyeongsang dialect dolgae or Standard Korean doraji. I would also point out that various Japanese dialects have aberrant forms for "lily," such as dore (Toyama Prefecture), dōren (another part of Toyama Prefecture), inera (Hachijoo-jima), and *yure or *yore > yuri (Nakijin dialect of Kunigami language in Okinawa; regularly corresponding form would be *yui). Has anyone else encountered a theory that tries to explain some of the Japanese botanical names that display a high degree of irregular correspondences among Japanese dialects as ancient loanwords from a Korean language? Ebizur 05:00, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

CI Beckwith's theoryEdit

I find the section about CI Beckwith's theory too enthusiastic : his theory, as he has presented it, has not gained general approvment from other scholars, and it has been criticized on several important points. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tomaaru (talkcontribs)

Chinese 'zodiacal dog' 戌 *zyütEdit

What is the reason to link "Chinese 'zodiacal dog' 戌 *zyüt" to Altaic? Surely, there is no mainstream scholar connecting Chinese and Altaic? If anything, *zyüt must be an early loanword. 惑乱 分からん * \)/ (\ (< \) (2 /) /)/ * 10:32, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Chinese 戌 *zyüt "Dog (of the Asian zodiac)" is probably a loanword from an ancient Austro-Asiatic language, as are most (or all) of the names for the other animals of the Asian zodiac. The word for "dog" in the Munda languages (a subgroup of Austro-Asiatic that is spoken by indigenous tribal peoples in parts of India, such as the Mundas, Bondas, and Santals) is seta or gsod, which is basically identical to the Ainu word for "dog," and also obviously similar to the Chinese name for the Dog of the zodiac. --Ebizur (talk) 18:14, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
But 戌 doesn't mean "Dog of the Asian zodiac", it means "to wilt" or "perish". The connection with Austro-Asiatic languages would only be legitimate if the entire Zodiac concept was borrowed from those ancient peoples, forcing the Chinese to adapt some arbitrary character. None of the Twelve Branches have any inherent animal meaning.White whirlwind (talk) 04:12, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Intro paragraphEdit

The wording of the first paragraph is rather confusing. What I think it's trying to say, but doesn't actually spell out, is that the "Japanese is an isolate" school of thought assumes that Ryukyu was just a bunch of dialects, but now they're considered languages of their own, and hence it's the Japonic languages together that are in a class of their own. Jpatokal 19:04, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

Yes. So it is. 惑乱 分からん * \)/ (\ (< \) (2 /) /)/ * 17:13, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

Final sectionEdit

Restored some necessary connective tissue to the final section. In particular, it is important to emphasize that relationships can be correctly perceived (e.g. in lexis, phonology, or morphosyntactic alignment) without this perception necessarily resolving by itself whether the relationships are genetic or diffusional. This represents the crux of many controversies in language classification. It isn’t superfluous.

It is also necessary to indicate the interrelationship of the methodological issues in linguistics referred to and future progress in classifying Japanese: only the dialectic between theory and praxis is likely to resolve the more difficult and controversial cases. This too is not superfluous.

VikSol 19:09, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Specious "cognates"Edit

Some nameless user keeps adding a list of unsourced "correspondences" between Japanese and Korean vocabulary. This list is ridiculously amateurish; I might as well make a section for "Japanese relationship to Chinese" and a list of Japanese words that sound sort of similar to Chinese words. You have claimed that Korean /i-/ (copula) is cognate with Japanese /i-/ ([animate] to be), but this is untenable; Modern Japanese /i-/ descends from Classical Japanese /wi-/, and the Korean and Japanese forms are completely different in usage. I might as well claim that Japanese /wi-/ > /i-/ is related to Chinese 為 wéi ("to be; to serve as"). The Japanese and the Chinese forms are historically much closer to each other, both phonetically and semantically, than either is to the Korean copula, /i-/ (which occurs only after consonant-final stems, by the way; this /i-/ morpheme has an allomorph, a null/zero/empty form, which occurs after vowel-final stems).

If you are going to add your list of supposed Japanese-Korean cognates, then I will add a list of Japanese-Chinese cognates and Korean-Ainu cognates, too (e.g. Korean /nun/ "eye" vs. Ainu /nu-kar/ [v.t.] "to see", Korean /ijaki/ "speech, story" vs. Ainu /itak(-i)/ "speech, story," Korean /pjə/ "rice" vs. Ainu /pi(-ye)/ "seed," Korean /ni/ > /i/ "tooth" vs. Ainu /ni-mak/ "tooth" and /ni-rus/ "gums," etc.). This is just a small list that I came up with off the top of my head in less than five minutes; it is amazing how many meaningless similarities human beings are able to convince themselves of seeing even when there is no real pattern in the data.

Anyway, you need to understand that language families are not established on the basis of irregular "lookalikes" of the sort that you have presented on the main page. Please refrain from reposting such irrelevant nonsense, especially without citation of a reliable published source. Ebizur (talk) 08:09, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

That nameless user is me, and I've studied the subject for a couple of years, though it was a long time ago. What worries me most is that some idiot keeps adding a comment stating that Samuel Martin based his JK relationship on "typological similarities" which is simply not true. This idiocy seems to be epidemic. What he did was collecting potential cognates. It is your right to argue that J could also be related to anything else, but you have no logical right to delete other people's argumentation. My "nonsense" goes straight to the point. And please, I understand and know about the subject much more than you imagine. The source is largely in *Martin's work*. Please look up the article and stop inserting the absurd about "typology". I'll remove the i- root, if that worries you. Repeating the widespread bull about "seeing patterns", "Big Bad Ugly Mass Comparison" and other witch-hunt stuff is not going to work, because not seeing the obvious is just as bad as seeing things. Inability to see patterns where they are is an organic deasease commonly known as "stupidity", or "lack of intellect". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:25, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Stay back from the Korean theory! If you think I'm going to settle it with you "like scientists do", you're sadly mistaken. You ignored my references three times, and put back your "typo-" stuff without giving it a second thought, without knowing anything about the lexical part of the JK theory, and now you accuse of me being amateurish! Wanna play a copy-paste game? Don't drive me mad... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:35, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Ebizur, "-en" was from "-masen", although I agree this was not correct (masu+ na > masen). If you think something is "spurious" (using word "specious" is a logical error, because you have to prove that they're not correct which you have not done), please correct THU-SPE-CI-FIC part, you old fart conservative jerk who's read too much Vovin's crap!... ...It's enough to take a look at dumb, half-sadistic Vovin's pig face ( to realize how intelligent he is, and how much of a critic he is. Please stop bugging me, and realize the JK theory is rather well-supported (though not without problems). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:55, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Change in reference styleEdit

I have switched the reference style of the article from footnotes to author-date referencing. If anyone has strong objections to this, I have no problems with switching it back. However, I believe the change is helpful to the article for the following reasons:

The controversies over the relations of Japanese or absence thereof have a very large bibliography, and it is visually easier to survey this in a list of works than in a series of endnotes, which are necessarily interspersed with other material.

I think the bibliography of this article needs to be very substantially expanded.

A list of literature thereby becomes essential, and it would overlap in a confusing way with the notes already given if these are not integrated into the list.

It should be noted that author-date citations have become an extremely popular style of citation in scholarly publications and are an entirely acceptable form of citation on Wikipedia (Wikipedia:Citing sources).

While Wikipedia suggests not changing the established reference style of an article in order to discourage pointless switching back and forth, in this case the need to expand the bibliography seems to me to decide the issue in favor of the change proposed. I hope others will agree. With regards to all. VikSol 01:13, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Mass Lexical ComparisonEdit

I consider the following passage highly dubious:

Like other language classifications of Greenberg's, the Eurasiatic family is often attacked on the ground that it is based on "mass lexical comparison"; however, this is a fictitious method. Greenberg's own terminology was originally "mass comparison", which he later changed to "multilateral comparison"; from his first use of it in the 1950s on, it always involved comparison of grammatical formatives as well as of lexical items. See Greenberg's Genetic Linguistics (2005) for his methodological positions.

Whatever term you use for Greenberg's methods, the point of his critics stands: he does not establish relationships between individual members of his putative families with sufficient rigor, relies too much on "false friend" cognates, and uses data of dubious provenance. --Peter Farago (talk) 20:26, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

There's nothing even faintly neutral about a complaint that mass lexical comparison isn't taken seriously enough by mainstream historical linguistics. This paragraph should not have survived this long. It's gone now. Excalibre (talk) 05:36, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Dubious comparison?Edit

ishi = taş
yo = dört

Erm... if you allow words to be that different to register as corresponding, wouldn't you statistically expect to see a lot of cognates between independent datasets? Shinobu (talk) 11:05, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

i agree, let i delete them, taking in account that these words are saved here in talk page, let i copy more fully:
ishi taş "stone"
yo dört "four"
--Qdinar (talk) 15:01, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
no, i have thought back, when i have noticed that it is said: "These examples come from Starostin's database, which contains a comprehensive list of comparisons and hypothetical Altaic etymologies."--Qdinar (talk) 15:05, 1 July 2010 (UTC)


I've noticed most of the sources listed in the References section of the article deal with individual hypotheses rather than giving a general overview. I've had a look around for some sources which give a general overview of the different hypotheses on the origins of Japanese, and here's one I find on JSTOR:

  • Lewin, Bruno (April 1988), "Review: Yet Another Array of Opinions on "Nihongo no kigen"", The Journal of the Association of Teachers of Japanese, 22 (1): 97–104CS1 maint: date and year (link)

Regards, Jagged 85 (talk) 23:11, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Recent reversionEdit

Licqua has claimed Japanese is known as a "Buyeo language" and that the claim Japanese is an Altaic language is more generally accepted than the claim it is related to the Buyeo language. I also deal with the Buyeo claim on the talk page of Eurasiatic languages. The classification of Japanese as a "Buyeo language" is unusual and recherché. It cannot possibly be presented as the general consensus of linguists. Moreover, calling Korean a "Buyeo language" is also problematic, since Korean is probably descended from the language of Silla, which is not normally classed as a Buyeo language. Also, the evidence for a relationship between Japanese and the Buyeo-Goguryeo languages is thin and is not generally accepted by linguists, though often mentioned as an intriguing possibility.

With regard to Licqua's putting the Altaic hypothesis before the Goguryeo hypothesis, it has absolutely no basis in fact. The relationship of Japanese (or better Japonic) to the Goguryeo languages is only mildly controversial, that of Japanese to Altaic is highly controversial, as is the Altaic family itself. These facts are generally known among those interested in these languages, who will not take any counter-claims seriously, whatever their personal opinions on the ulterior relations of Japanese may be. VikSol 19:34, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

You're not entirely making sense. You're claiming that I put the Altaic hypothesis before the Goguryeo one - you do realize that the Goguryeo one is in fact the Buyeo language grouping? I have tried another suggestion on the article. Licqua (talk) 09:36, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Let's call a spade a spade: you are vandalizing this page. Your reasons for doing so are obscure (though, perhaps, not impenetrable) but not relevant here. What is relevant is that, for the third time, you have failed to provide a shred of evidence for your "edits". And that is all we need to know. VikSol (talk) 19:54, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Oh I'm vandalizing am I? Well that nice little remark of yours shows you're nothing but a troll - you're more interested in insulting me than in discussing the last suggestion I tried on the article. Licqua (talk) 12:40, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

I have been a Wikipedia contributor since 2005 and have never done anything remotedly resembling vandalism. You have been a Wikipedia contributor for one month and not all of your edits have been well-received. You have rejected every opportunity to provide even a shred of evidence for your changes to this article. VikSol 00:21, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

You're both behaving unacceptably. VikSol, Licqua is not a vandal. Licqua, VikSol is not a troll. I suggest both of you read the appropriate descriptions in the help section and refrain from making sensationalist accusations. Meanwhile, edit warring is disruptive. I've restored the article to the version that was stable for so long. Licqua, why don't you present the specific things you think need changed, and what your evidence is, so that we all can discuss their merits. It will be quicker, easier, and less frustrating to do it that way—and more stable in the long run—than fighting about it through reverts. This isn't either-or: Japonic has no demonstrated relatives, so it's a matter of relative coverage and acceptance of proposals in the lit. kwami (talk) 01:24, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

I have blocked Licqua for returning to edit warring. Licqua, your edit comments suggest that you think it is up to us to debate your edits, and that the default response to disagreement is to do whatever you want. No, you need to present and justify your ideas, not just revert to them because we haven't bothered to address them point by point in the absence of any input from you. You say, "It is impossible to go build consensus on the talk page when no one is telling [us] what they disapprove of in the article." Exactly. You have hit upon what you need to do. kwami (talk) 08:17, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Let us compare the two versions. Here is the original text:
The immediate classification of Japanese is clear: it is a Japonic language, along with the Ryukyuan languages. Traditionally, these are considered dialects of a single language isolate. However, more distant connections remain contentious among historical linguists. The possibility of a genetic relationship to the Goguryeo (Koguryŏ) language has the most currency; a relationship to Korean is widely considered but is problematic; an Altaic hypothesis is less widely accepted. A few linguists support the hypothesis that Japanese is genealogically related to the Austronesian languages.
And then here is mine:
Whilst clear that Japanese is a Japonic language, along with the Ryukyuan languages, classification further than that is controversial, and widely disputed. The most common classifications group it either as an Altaic or a Buyeo language, although it is also contrarily termed a language isolate, and on rarer occasions, an Austronesian language.
My reasons for doing this:
  • The "Goguryeo" language relationship that the original talked about, is the "Buyeo hypothesis. I simply substituted the appropriate term.
  • The original text took almost twice the space to explain what my text did, yet my text did not cut any information out.
Does anyone beg to differ with what I've stated? Licqua (talk) 09:03, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Thank you, Licqua, for stating explicitly what your argument is, so that we can address it here. I'll let VicSol reply, along with whoever else happens to be reading this, as I don't intend to take a particular side unless there is something obviously incorrect about the other. kwami (talk) 10:18, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I am familiar with the Altaic hypothesis and with the proposed link between Japonic and Koguryo, but I had not heard of the Buyeo hypothesis before stumbling upon this discussion. Therefore, I think it worthwhile to mention both terms.
I think the proposed new wording "...although it is also contrarily termed a language isolate," makes that hypothesis seem to be a minority POV, but I think it is actually the least controversial view, is it not?
I do like the proposed wording "...classification further than that is controversial, and widely disputed." I think it accurately reflects the tension among proposed analyses. Cnilep (talk) 20:24, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I have no objection to shuffling it around to clarify that "language isolate" is one of the majority-viewed situations.
The "link" between Japonic and Koguryo is termed "Buyeo". I'm not saying it's the correct classification - I'm just labelling what the article was trying to describe. Licqua (talk) 21:04, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
IMHO, the original version is more clear, as it presents the information piecemeal. I usually try to integrate new information without completely reworking, so I'd integrate the "Buyeo" bit:
"The possibility of a genetic relationship to the Goguryeo (Koguryŏ) language has some currency (the resulting macrofamily is sometimes termed Buyeo); ..."
Frankly, I also integrated my perception that the Japanese-Goguryeo connection is not widely accepted, at least not among "long-rangers". --Physiognome (talk) 08:28, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Actually, make that "...has some currency (sometimes grouped with the Buyeo languages); ...". Sometimes Japonic languages are grouped with the Buyeo languages, sometimes not. Judging from the Buyeo article and the little I know about Japonic-Geoguryeo, it would be wrong to state the two are the same. --Physiognome (talk) 08:44, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
We're not talking about how Japanese is "sometimes grouped with the Buyeo languages". We're talking about the fact that where the article talks of a Japanic-Koguryeo connection, the name of this connection is the Buyeo grouping. I've said this several times now, and no one seems to be discussing it, but instead continuing to talk as if I'd never said it. Licqua (talk) 09:06, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

No one talks of a "Buyeo-Goguryeo" language family in relation to the Japonic languages. When Licqua cites a single linguist who does we can take his claim seriously. But don't hold your breath. For example, Christopher Beckwith, the leading expert on the proposed Japonic-Goguryeo grouping, calls this grouping the "Japanese-Koguryoic family" and their hypothetical proto-language "Proto-Japanese-Koguryoic" (see the table of contents of his book Koguryo, searchable through Google).

In a review of Beckwith's book in Korean Studies (also easily searchable), Thomas Pellard summarizes Beckwith's position:

Beckwith concludes that the Koguryo and Japanese languages are genetically related, as already assumed by many scholars, but rejects the Korean and Altaic connections. Actually, Beckwith dismisses the Altaic theory as a whole, even the convergence theory, by denying the very existence of an Altaic typology. For Japanese, he rejects all forms of Altaic, Korean, Austronesian, and, of course, the mixed language theories. In his view, Japanese and Koguryo are in "an exclusive close genetic relationship" (p.183).

VikSol 00:05, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

You're now talking nonsense. There is no such thing as a "Buyeo-Goguryeo" grouping - it is simply the "Buyeo" grouping, and of course, if the Buyeo is not the Japonic-Koguryoic grouping (which it is), then you'll be able to inform us all what it is, won't you? Licqua (talk) 07:52, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

What Licqua demands we accept as his position is a moving target. He began by claiming (in Eurasiatic languages) that the "Buyeo languages" are Japanese (!), Korean (!!), and Ainu (!!!), as everyone can verify in the history of that article. Now he wants us to believe that all he is saying is that "Buyeo ... is the Japonic-Koguryoic grouping", an improvement - though still problematic, since the Buyeo family, if correct, would include several other languages besides Japonic and Koguryŏ (see Buyeo languages). The key points remain: (1) Those linguists who accept the Japonic-Koguryŏ link call it "Japanese-Koguryoic" or the like, not "Buyeo". (2) Licqua has declined to cite a single linguist who uses the terminology he advocates, despite repeated invitations to do so. This is really not too much to ask. (3) Not all experts accept that the Buyeo languages are related to the Koguryŏ language (see Buyeo languages). Similarly, Professor Robbeets, in an article in the well-known book Korea in the Middle, argues that the evidence for the Buyeo language is too fragmentary to constitute reliable evidence.

I also note that Licqua speaks of "Koguryeo" two entries up, which is an incoherent mixing of two separate systems for transcribing Korean - Goguryeo or Koguryŏ would be correct. This suggests he is not well-versed in the subject.

Licqua has also taken it upon himself to formally accuse me and Physiognome of being sockpuppets, which is ludicrous - I have no idea who Physiognome is. However, Licqua himself shows a suspicious familiarity with the procedures of Wikipedia for someone who has only been on it for a month. Such malicious behavior is its own best refutation. VikSol (talk) 00:33, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

This discussion is getting a bit ridiculous. If Licqua can provide us with a source that uses his preferred wording, we can use that. Otherwise we use the wording of the sources we already have. It's been years since I've read Beckwith. I thought he used either the term Buyeo or Fuyu, but I could be wrong. kwami (talk) 01:18, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

As Kwami implies, Beckwith is the leading advocate of a Japonic-Koguryŏ connection. The complete list of chapters in Beckwith's book, Koguryo: The Language of Japan's Continental Relatives (Brill, 2004), is:

1. Koguryo and the Origins of Japanese 2. The Ethnolinguistic History of Koguryo 3. The Old Koguryo Toponyms 4. Archaic Northeastern Middle Chinese 5. Old Koguryo Phonology 6. Toward Common Japanese-Koguryoic 7. The Proto-Japanese-Koguryoic Homeland 8. Koguryo and the Altaic Divergence Theories 9. The Altaic Convergence Theory 10. Japanese and the Mixed Language Theory 11. Linguistic Theory and Japanese-Koguryoic 12. The Japanese-Koguryoic Family of Languages

VikSol 00:46, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

I've just found a Beckwith article online (see the "Works cited" section). "Japanese-Koguryoic" is in the title, but in the abstract, he mentions "Puyo-Koguryo, a language related to Japanese". In the Conference Report in the same pdf, it is stated that "According to Beckwith the language of early Paekche kingdom [was] Puyo-Paekche, a dialect of Koguryo, ..." Confusing, huh? The article discussed here is ok, though, the one on Buyeo could be better, but at the end of the day, the entire discussion here is quite futile and besides the point of making an encyclopedia. Which is exactly why I don't edit much: It's often not worth the energy. Cheers! --Physiognome (talk) 19:33, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Okay, so he did call it Buyeo (Puyŏ). But we do need to make it clear what we're talking about, and our Buyeo article doesn't define the family the same way Beckwith does. And for him the term Buyeo is secondary. Yes, we need to fix up that article. Right now it presents the Goguryeo language as being demonstrably related to Silla, when Beckwith refutes the evidence for that claim. kwami (talk) 20:50, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Beckwith seems to back up what I was saying. Oh, and yes, the Buyeo article is currently a mess. Some linguists propose the so-called "Fuyu languages" that included the languages of Fuyu, Goguryeo(Koguryo), and the upper class of Baekje, and Old Japanese (remember that the Fuyu languages are synonymous with Buyeo). Licqua (talk) 09:49, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Though Beckwith is always careful to explicitly state "Japanese-Koguryoic", probably because of the variable understandings of "Buyeo". Back in 2005, the Fuyu languages article pretty much following Beckwith, but it was moved to Buyeo and modified with other POVs. kwami (talk) 12:46, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Inline citationsEdit

A user identified as has added a "No footnotes" tag to this article, which produces the following message:

User has maintained in an edit comment (accessible on the "history" tab) that author-date citations are "not acceptable" on Wikipedia.

I have reverted this change because this article uses author-date referencing. Clicking on "inline citations" in the message above links to a description of the different styles of inline citations accepted on Wikipedia. Scrolling down will find first "Footnote system" and second "Parenthetical referencing", of which author-date referencing is a form. There details on each system can be found.

With regard to the present article, note that (boldface added) "Author-date references are the most commonly used citation style in the physical and social sciences (Ritter 2002) (whereas author-title or author-page citations are the most commonly used style in the arts and the humanities)." Linguistics is a social science, hence author-date referencing is particularly appropriate for the "Classification of Japanese" article.

Scrolling up to "How to present citations" will find the following points (quoted from same, boldface added):

Citations are usually presented within articles in one of four ways:
  1. General reference: By placing the citation in a list at the end of an article.
  2. Footnote: By placing it in a footnote, with a link following the assertion (whether a clause, sentence, paragraph, etc.) that it supports.[1]
  3. Shortened footnote: By placing the citation in the list and naming only the author, year, and page number in a footnote.[2]
  4. Parenthetical reference: By placing the citation in the list and naming the author, year, and page number in parentheses (Ritter 2002, p. 45) .
In addition, embedded links may be used if the source is a web page.
Editors are free to use any method; no method is preferred.

However, it is recommended that previously established styles be continued within each individual article (boldface added):

Once a style is selected for an article it is inappropriate to change an article to another unless there is a reason that goes beyond mere choice of style.

User raises in an edit comment the objection that "The list of resources does not indicate which portions of the article where generated from which pages of the references". The way author-date referencing works is this (as stated under "Inline references"):

Using author-date parenthetical references, the inline citation usually looks like: (Author 2006:28) or (Author 2006, p. 28). The full citation is then added at the end of the article to a "References" or "Works cited" section. This list of full citations is usually ordered alphabetically by author name.

I hope this clears things up. Regards, VikSol 02:02, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

You have misquoted me, VikSol. I did not say that author-date citations are unacceptable. They are fine, but it is not a replacement for inline citations. Please review WP:CITE and WP:V. As it is, it is just a list. Which parts of the article were generated from which articles? As I desire to verify certain portions, which articles and which pages should I consult? The references tell me absolutely knowing. As far as I know, the article content was generated without any consultation to references and later a list of references where added as an afterthought. (Reviewing the history of the article suggests that there is a strong hint of truth to that.)
Your bold statements lack surrounding context that clarify the issues. Please review Wikipedia guideline and policies, particularly WP:CITE and WP:V. If you still refuse to cooperate, every statement can be marked with a Fact tag requiring an inline citation or may be removed. If need be, this can be escalated for wider review or RFC. (talk) 02:19, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

I did not misquote you. What I said, as everybody can seen on the "history" page, is "this article uses author-date referencing, one of the types of inline citations accepted on Wikipedia." What you said is "No, it is not acceptable." Of course it's acceptable. If you are trying to make some other point, I (or someone else) will respond to it once you do so clearly. VikSol 02:41, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes, you did misquote me. And you seem to have misunderstood me again ever after clarifying once. I shall WP:AGF so will explain once more. Here is the full log:
  • Me: Needs inline references.
  • VikSol: rm "No footnotes" tag - this article uses author-date referencing, one of the types of inline citations accepted on Wikipedia.
  • Me Undo. No, it is not acceptable. See WP:CITE. The list of resources does not indicate which portions of the article where generated from which pages of the references.
  • VikSol: Undid revision by Please see talk page "Inline citations", where we can carry out any further necessary discussion.
Author-date referencing is fine. So is the style. However, it is unacceptable as a replacement for inline citations as well. You need both, as is clarified in the above cited links. (talk) 03:02, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Allow me respectfully to disagree. If you would click the link "inline citations" in the template box above, as I suggested, you will see that "author-date references" are a form of "inline citations". Many people are under the impression that "inline citations" refer to numbered footnotes only, but it is just not so.

You are raising another point, I think (reading between the lines), which I find more useful. Although this article uses author-date referencing, it does not do so as rigorously as it might. Author-date referencing depends on each citation, typically something like (Poppe 1965:137), being accompanied by a full reference in a list of works cited, typically something like:

  • Poppe, Nicholas. 1965. Introduction to Altaic Linguistics. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.

Yet in this article, the works actually cited have been mixed in with material merely added for background, making it impossible, as you say, to see easily what the sources of the article actually are. To meet this difficulty, I have split the former "References" section into two, titled "Works cited" and "Further reading", and retitled the whole "Bibliography" (all standard section titles). I believe the result is significantly clearer. VikSol 03:46, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Guess I'll wade in. Both of you seem to want to improve the article, but have gotten sidetracked over what citation system to use (a pretty trivial stylistic issue). To reach Good Article status it will need to identify the page numbers that support statements. It's the citation style that's optional, not the identification. Frankly, it's premature, given the present state of the references, to worry much about the style. I'd suggest tackling the cited sources to get at least one ISBN, OCLC, DOI, URL or some other bibliographic finding aid for each. Once this is done it becomes much easier for editors to check the sources to find the page numbers.LeadSongDog come howl 04:51, 9 April 2009 (UTC)


  1. ^ Ritter, R. (2002). The Oxford Style Manual. Oxford University Press. p. 45. ISBN 0-19-860564-1.
  2. ^ Ritter 2002, p. 45

1907 refEdit

The cite tag has been on the 1907 ref for the Koguryo section for quite a while. I know nothing about it, but wiki-ja mentions Izuru Shinmura (1916), who noted that the Koguryo numerals 3, 5, 7, and 10 were very similar to Japanese. wiki-ja also gives some cognates: 古次 "mouth" (modern Sino-Korean koch'a, modern Japanese kuchi), 波且 "sea" (p'ach'a : umi—seems to be an error in here somewhere), 伏 "deep" (pok : fuka < *puka), 尸臘 "white" (shirap : shiro), 烏斯含 "rabbit" (osaham < *osakam : usagi), 烏 "boar" (o : wi), 旦 "valley" (tan : tani). kwami (talk) 07:13, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

But note that the section from which I assume kwami is quoting does not cite external sources, and the page is tagged NPOV (or am I mistaken about the wiki-ja source?). Cnilep (talk) 16:30, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, no citations, or I'd've cited them. But it is notable that they say nothing about 1907. kwami (talk) 20:28, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Ah, I see. You're suggesting that Shinmura 1916 is the earliest version of the hypothesis we can cite? That seems correct. Cnilep (talk) 17:05, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

FYI, the suggestion that the hypothetical link to Kokuryo dates to 1907 was added by User:Cibeckwith on 15 November 2006. Cnilep (talk) 17:28, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

According to Beckwith's 'recent monograph': "The earliest reports on Koguryo as a language were published in the early twentieth century by Japanese scholars, in Japanese (Naito 1907; Miyazaki 1907)" (2004: 3). Thus it seems to be not the Japanese-Koguryoic Hypothesis that dates to 1907, but the description of Koguryo as a language distinct from Korean. I have removed the long-contested claim. Cnilep (talk) 19:38, 16 April 2009 (UTC)


Sorry im not an expert; just a common reader. But is there a reason why the language does not fall under the Chinese language family tree? Or why the possibility does not arise? The article Sino-Japanese vocabulary says that 60% of the words in a Japanese dictionary are of Chinese origin, or something like that. Just curious. ќמшמφטтгמtorque 00:28, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

The Chinese vocab was borrowed along with the writing system, apart for 3-4 words which predate that. Nothing suggests the languages are actually related. Japanese also has tons of English vocab, but that's from the 20th century and doesn't mean they are related either. kwami (talk) 01:58, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
I think i get it. So the they are merely load words, as opposed to words which evolved from Chinese? And Japanese non-loaned words has no connection/similarity with Chinese? Maybe we can say something about this in the article for the benefit of people who are as confused as i was. ќמшמφטтгמtorque 03:26, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that's it. (For example, the jin in Nihonjin "Japanese person" is clearly cognate with Mandarin ren "person", but the native Japanese equivalent hito has no such connection. The English equivalent would be French, Latin, and Greek borrowings, which don't make English a Romance or Hellenic language. And yes, it should be made clear. kwami (talk) 01:54, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
It's not so much because they are loan words, as because linguistic typology classifies languages according to structure (syntax, grammar) rather than lexicon (vocabulary, origins of words). That is, when we talk about languages being related, it doesn't matter so much where words come from as how they are ordered, inflected, or otherwise used in sentences. /ninly (talk) 13:56, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
I don't know of any proposed language family that is defined typologically. All are based on basic vocabulary, like a Swadesh list. Though if you can relate grammatical morphemes, that is considered especially good evidence. kwami (talk) 01:54, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Protection of this articleEdit

User:Kwamikagami protected Classification of Japanese, however the current content reflects the modification by User:Trikemike. This portion was last modified by User:Kwamikagami on 10 June 2008[1] and have never been modified since then. So I think User:Kwamikagami's version should be the current consensus and a start point. User:Trikemike, formerly banned user name User:Izumidebito made repetitive edits without any explanation on Talk page. If his/her edit were permitted and included, Wikipedia's credibility would be denied. ―― Phoenix7777 (talk) 03:06, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

You've also "made repetitive edits without any explanation on Talk page". What exactly is the problem? The differences are so minor that it seems silly to get in an edit war over them. kwami (talk) 03:17, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
I didn't make repetitive edits, instead reverted unexplained edits with an edit summary requesting an explanation on Talk page. This incident started from Japanese language[2] and the user never came to the discussion. Now it spreads to this article, History of Japan[3], Japan[4], Japanese people[5], Japonic languages[6] and Altaic languages.[7] This isn't a minor problem. By the way you seemed to be a proponent of Altaic hypothesis.[8][9] I think you should not relate to this incident as a neutral admin. ―― Phoenix7777 (talk) 04:48, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
Um, since you're objecting that I didn't revert to my own version of the statement in question, you can hardly call me biased. I simply protected an article undergoing a rather silly edit war. I don't really care who is correct; figuring that out is what the talk page is for. Your reverts elsewhere where justified, and I can understand why you might revert everything this editor does, but your accusations of "vandalism" here appears ridiculous, since "an Altaic hypothesis is also often suggested" is factually correct and not misleading. Trikemike was also being ridiculous, of course, which is why I simply protected the article as I found it without reverting to any particular version. kwami (talk) 05:12, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
I didn't say "vandalism" except this and this. ―― Phoenix7777 (talk) 05:24, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Altaic additionsEdit

I'm not sure if I'm even correct in my understanding, let alone transliteration/spelling, but I was watching a Japanese film in which the line "Nan de Kyoto desu-ka?" was used, which as far as I can surmise means something to the effect of "Why in Kyoto?". This same sentence, in Turkish, would be "Neden (ne+den) Kyoto'da (ki)?". I thought that might make an interesting addition :P —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:10, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

I suppose the question would be what the gloss of that Turkish phrase is. In Japanese, the phrase is more of "why is it ("in" is implied) Kyouto" - if that "'da" in Turkish is a locative marker rather than "to be", it doesn't work. Sjiveru (talk) 23:57, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

all words in current korean table are similar also with english and ...Edit

all words in current korean table are similar also with english and several i know are similar to udmurt(finno ugric, uralic) and turkic. current state of the table:

Comparison with Japanese
Old Japanese Japanese meaning  Mid-Korean Korean meaning
midu mizu water myr mul water
midu mizu water mos mot lake
k-u k-uru to come ka- ka-da to go
kata-si kata-i hard kut- kud-yn
wi-ru i-ru to be ' i-da to be
naɸ-u na-i not an anh not
mïna mina all, everyone man-ha- manh- many
kasa kasa hat gat gat hat
  • as i know, "water", "mot" are like corresponding word in udmurt, but not in turkic.
  • ku and "go" are like "kit"(go away) and "kil"(come) in turkic(i say tatar variant).
  • kata and "hard" are like "qato" in turkic.
  • "i" is like english "is" and "i" part of "i-di", "i-kan", "iy-e-mi", "iy-e" of modern tatar language, but in official variant of tatar "iy-e-mi" is "imi", "iy-e" is "ayye".
  • "na" is not like in turkic but is like in english.
  • min, man are like english "many", may be related to turkic "bay" which means "rich" and "boton"("all", "whole").
  • kasa and gat are like english hat.

so, these words, i think, are not enough to show that japan language should be grouped with korean, these only show that they all are nostratic or eurasiatic. though, but though these all are like words in english, korean and japan have in addition similar grammatics, so, yes, they show... but grammatic structure similarity should be mentioned in the section. --Qdinar (talk) 14:55, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

You can't just say "well, they look similar," you have to have some sort of theory to explain the changes too —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:54, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
I clearly get what this person is saying. (S)He is trying to link Japanese (and Korean) with the Indo-European languages. To be honest it IS possible that both Korean and Japanese can be related to the Indo-European languages. Japan and Korea are very close to Russia, but I'm not sure when Russian/PIE arrived in eastern Russia. Also, in my opinion, the Indo-European languages and Japonic languages share a similar phonology system ("sh" and "z" are good examples) but many of those "European sounding like words" could be due to a sprachbund effect (similar to Japanese and Sino-Tibetan). But this page is not for posting your own opinions. But if you can find a linguist that agrees with you, then you may as well add it. Kanzler31 (talk) 21:42, 3 November 2010 (UTC)
There's nothing inherently Indo-European about the sounds "sh" and "z". Proto-Indo-European lacked both, as well as some daughter languages, such as Old Norse, and other languages could have evolved the sounds separately. 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 08:44, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

Koguryoic and AltaicEdit

In the Korean-Japanese relation, it says that a Korean relation might not deny a Koguryoic relationship. So is there any linguists or scholars supporting the theory that Koguryoic might be a Altaic language? And what is the Chinese "zodiacal dog" doing here? Is anyone also supporting that the Sino-Tibetan languages may be part of the Altaic languages? Also, is there any cognates of Tamil and Japanese? Thanks. Kanzler31 (talk) 20:50, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

I think the problem is that Koguryoic is for all practical purposes an unattested language. it may be related to Korean, or Japanese, or both, how are you going to tell without any decent data base. At least Korean and Japanese are known languages that can be compared, so even if that comparison is inconclusive, the inconclusiveness is at least the result of a comparison between known entities. It's probably a bit like Illyrian and Albanian: sure they may somehow be related, but how are you going to tell if one of two languages under comparison is simply unknown. --dab (𒁳) 12:11, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Austronesian Hypothesis and Creole HypothesisEdit

Please expand on these hypotheses based on Yevgeny Polivanov's work. Here is the excerpt from the Japanese article. --Shinkansen Fan (talk) 11:21, 9 January 2011 (UTC)








ロシア言語学者エフゲニー・ポリワーノフは、特に日本語のアクセント史に関する研究[6]を基に、日本語がオーストロネシア諸語とアルタイ系言語との混合言語であるという説を初めて提唱した。例えば、「朝」のアクセントは京都方言では a_(低)sa^(高低) という形をしているが、後半の特徴的なピッチの下降は、朝鮮語の「朝」 achΛm との比較から語末鼻音 m の痕跡と解釈される事、また「朝顔」(asagawo)のような合成語に見られる連濁現象( k からg への有声音化)も asam+kawo > asaNkawo > asagawo のような過程から生じた語末鼻音の痕跡であるとし、日本語の古形が子音終わりを許すものであったと主張した。更にポリワーノフは、日本語のピッチアクセントを、アルタイ系言語における位置固定のストレスアクセントとは根本的に異なるものと考え、その起源をフィリピン諸語に求めた。また、日本語の「真っ黒」(makkuro < ma+ku+kuro) は、接頭辞 ma を伴う形容詞 kuro の不完全重複形で、同一の形式がフィリピンやメラネシア諸語にも見られる事を指摘し、日本語は起源的に「オーストロネシア要素と大陸的なアルタイ的諸言語との混合物(アマルガム)」であると主張した[7]
現在、主流の見解は、南島語を基層とし、アルタイ系言語が上層として重なって日本語が形成されたとするものだが、安本美典[8]川本崇雄1990年)は、逆にアルタイ系言語が基層で南島語が上層言語であったと主張する。アルタイ単独起源説を主張するS. スタロスティン(2002年)ですら、南島語の基礎語彙への浸透を認めていることから分かるように、古代日本語の形成に南島語が重要な役割を演じたことについては、多くの論者が同意している。しかし、それを単なる借用とみなすのか、系統関係の証拠と見るかについてはまだ合意に至っていない。


  1. ^ 1935: 細菌学者の北里柴三郎の従兄弟
  2. ^ 1943年: 国語学者
  3. ^ 泉井 久之助 (1952)「日本語と南島諸語」『民族学研究』17-2(1975年の『マライ=ポリネシア諸語 比較と系統』(弘文堂)に収録)。
  4. ^ 1915-1925年の研究
  5. ^ 1938年、奇しくも南島比較言語学の誕生の年に、スターリン粛清の犠牲者の一人として獄中死した。
  6. ^ 1917年から1924年にかけての一連の論文において、西日本、特に土佐方言及び京都方言のアクセントが古形を保存していることを明らかにした。比較言語学の手法を取り入れたアクセントの本格的な研究は、日本では1930年代前半に服部四郎によって先鞭が付けられ、金田一春彦らによって推進されたが、ポリワーノフの研究はそれらに大きく先行するものだった。
  7. ^ 『日本語研究』村山七郎編纂・翻訳 弘文堂 (1976)、月刊「言語」別冊 「世界の言語学者101人」 大修館書店 (2001.2)、またPolivanov 参考
  8. ^ 「日本語の古層を統計的に探る」『言語』昭和62年7月号

Issues with merging with Japonic languagesEdit

I have removed the tag added to the head of the article in February 2011 reading

{{Merge to|Japonic languages|date=February 2011}} .

While it may seem a good idea to group material related to the same subject in one place, experience has shown Wikipedians that this can easily lead to overloaded articles and it is often preferable to split up a complex subject into several articles. This is clearly the case here. Any glance at this article shows it is already fairly long and would hopelessly overload the article Japonic languages, at least if the subject was to be treated in any kind of adequate detail. As the subject of the classification of Japanese is an important one, it should not be confined to a few sentences in some more general article.

I also note that the person posting this tag did not actually offer any arguments for the merger they suggested. If you want to make a proposal, make one, otherwise do not expect the rest of us to do your work for you. Finally, there has been no discussion of this tag since it was posted, suggesting there is no very strong sentiment for the merger proposed.

For all these reasons, I have removed the tag. Let the article remain.

VikSol (talk) 18:00, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Language on Koguryoic hypothesisEdit

I cleaned up the language some under the Koguryoic hypothesis - It was written as if Beckwith's theories are now an accepted conclusion. I removed definitive language such as "clearly related," and the phrase "obvious to anyone familiar with both languages," implying that anyone who disagrees only does so because of their unfamiliarity with the topic. While I happen to support the Goguryeo-Japonic connection (especially since Lee and Hasegawa's phylogenetic analysis) I don't think it was appropriate for the article to imply that the controversy is over. -- Tallasse (talk) 14:10, 27 October 2011 (UTC)


The inclusion of Japanese 火山 (kazan, "volcano") as evidence of Japanese's relationship to Turkish is spurious. That word is not a native Japanese word. Rather it was borrowed into Japanese from Chinese (granted, more than a thousand years ago, but still significantly later than when the language's supposed relationship with Turkish would have ended.) The use of the Chinese readings of these characters proves the word's true origin. Is that enough to simply remove it from the article? evin290 (talk) 20:52, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

That whole table looks suspicious. You might want to verify how much of it is really from Starostin's database. A whole sentence like "What is this?" sounds unlikely to be there. For genuine cognates, it would be better to cite Proto-Altaic and the protolanguages of all branches, as in Proto-Altaic#Selected_cognates, which actually contains two of the same comparisons, for "stone" and "four". --JWB (talk) 05:55, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Claims like this are often full of nonsense, but that doesn't mean kazan is. It could be ateji that coincidentally matches both sound and meaning, though, granted, it is suspicious. I don't have a Japanese etymological dictionary to check.
Also, Japan is not a country you would expect to lack a native word for 'volcano'. If it is a Chinese loan, what's the native word? — kwami (talk) 07:29, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Google Translator gives three Japanese translation for "volcano": kazan (from Chinese, "fire mountain"), funkazan (again from Chinese, "eruption mountain"), and コニーデ koniide which is from German "Konide". It does seem to lack a native word for volcano, which I think points at the language originating somewhere where there are no volcanoes. If anything, the Turkish word for volcano is yanardağ which means "burning mountain" or "mountain on fire" (yanar = third person singular simple present of "yanmak" which means "to burn", "to be on fire", and dağ = mountain), though volkan (which traces all the way back to Latin and maybe even beyond) is more commonly used.
As for Turkish "kazan", are we even sure it means volcano in Turkish? It means kettle. Also, the original form is that is kazğan (which is even attested in old Ottoman Turkish), while the Japanese kazan traces back to Chinese *hwashan, whence also Korean hwasan which also means volcano.
Also, it seems Korean too lacks a native word for volcano, despite the Korean traditional sacred mountain, Mt. Baekdu being one. The only word for volcano it has, is hwasan which is borrowed from Chinese and related to the Japanese kazan. So it seems Korean too came from some places where volcanoes didn't exist.
Or maybe the native Japanese word for volcano was longer while the Chinese one was shorter (see also in Turkish, the borrowed "volkan" is shorter and has basically displaced the native word). After all, native Japanese for "fire mountain" would be "hi no yama" or in Old Japanese, *"pigayama" or something like that, longer than "kazan". In Korean, it'd be "yeol-ui me" or "bul-ui me" or something like that, also longer than "hwasan".
And I note Turkish yan- is claimed to be cognate with Japanese yaku (to grill, to roast)... [joke] maybe Native Japanese for volcano was "yakuyama"? [/joke]
But yeah, if you trace the words to the older forms, the two "kazan"s became "kwasan" > "hwasan" and "kazğan", respectively. So in my humble opinion, it is impossible for them to be etymologically related. - ¨¨¨¨ — Preceding unsigned comment added by OBrasilo (talkcontribs) 13:24, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Okay, here's the clincher: kazan is the post-WWII spelling. Before the war, it was kwazan. Kw does not occur in native words, only in Chinese loans—and kwa 'fire' is one of those loans. Definite BS as Altaic (unless the Chinese borrowed in and the Japanese borrowed it back, but that would need a serious reference). — kwami (talk) 07:35, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Deleted some of the table and changed some more per Starostin. — kwami (talk) 08:09, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Priorities need to be sorted outEdit

There are serious problems with the order of mention and the attestation as to which theories have the most currency. 1. The Altaic theory still has the most currency internationally. 2. The Koguryoic theory is not widely accepted, and if included it should be part of the wider Altaic theory. 3. The Austronesian hypotheses deserve a mention; as you can see from the above mention of the Japanese page it has many supporters among Japanese scholars, especially as a substratum to an Altaic superstratum. This theory has the most currency in Japan (at least in the loose sense that no one denies both Austronesian and Altaic influence in the make-up of Japonic). 4. The Gaya or Kara should not get any mention, as there is no linguistic evidence whatsoever, only an ad hoc mention by Beckwith in one page of his new book. 5. If Nostratic and Eurasiatic macro families deserve a mention, so does the Austro-Tai theory. The basic conclusion is, the theories outlines here are not representative of the whole scholarly community involved in the issue. Some minor theories are blown out of proportion (Koguryo), some theories that lack almost any support get a mention (Nostratic/Eurasiatic, Dravidian) while others don't (Austro-Thai), and some significant scholarly developments are completely omitted (Austronesian). Ramentei (talk) 03:31, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

The Koguryoic hypothesis is not more widely accepted because of the question over whether the apparent cognates are actually with Koguryo. The other possibility is with s.t. like Kara. This is logically independent of whether Japanese–Koguryo or Japanese–Kara is part of Altaic. — kwami (talk) 06:37, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

The Koguryoic hypothesis is NOT the more widely accepted, full stop. Altaic, with all its problems, (and I don't buy any of it either) still is the most accepted hypothesis. And where is the reference to a linguistic relationship with Kara? It is complete nonsense and should definitely not be in the first paragraph of the article. Ramentei (talk) 06:42, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

In Beckwith (2007) Japonic consists of Ryukyuan and Yayoi, and Yayoi of Japanese and Kara. He sees the Yayoi culture as occupying the Gaya area and northern Kyushu. Japanese–Koguryoic is therefore independent of the Kara connection. — kwami (talk) 06:57, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Beckwith is proposing that Kara was an Japanese outpost or even a colony on the Korean Peninsula. This is what many Japanese scholars believe too. If this were true, then that would mean that the language spoken in Kara was simply Japanese, and to say that Japanese is genetically related to Kara is like saying Indian English is related to British English. No, they are simply the same languages spoken by the same ethnic people. But this is a more controversial with many political implications as well, and I think this is quite well covered in the articles about Gaya confederacy, and it has very little or nothing to do with the origins of Japonic. Also, to say that Japonic consists of Yayoi and Ryukyu is inaccurate, as the Ryukyu language split after the Yayoi period, or at earliest at the end of the Yayoi period. If you believe the Japanese-Koguryoic is independent of the Kara connection, then don't you agree that this sentence should be revised? "possibility of a genetic relationship to the Goguryeo (Koguryŏ) languages, or perhaps more specifically to Kara (Gaya), has the most currency." Ramentei (talk) 07:21, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

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Korean hypothesis sectionEdit

The examples in the table in this section are extremely dubious. For example claiming that orera is the Japanese for "we" is dubious, because it consists of the element for "I" (ore) with a productive group marker -ra. I just removed another one which is obviously bogus: the word for "liver" (organ) borrowed from Chinese. The mystery is that a very quick look at the Starostin database immediately yield vastly more plausible examples, such as this one:

  • Proto-Altaic: *š[i̯à]mì
  • Nostratic: Nostratic
  • Meaning: island; forest
  • Russian meaning: остров; лес
  • Turkic: *simek
  • Tungus-Manchu: *šumi ( ~ č-)
  • Korean: *sjǝ̄m
  • Japanese: *sìmà

Meanwhile, everyone ignores the elephant in the room: the fact that Japanese and Korean are essentially structurally identical. Hmm. Imaginatorium (talk) 09:22, 9 May 2016 (UTC)

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Recent/more actuall research Reverted of unexplained reasonsEdit

I have included newer information about proposed relations if the Japanese language.

The first research show why japanese and korean are not demonstrateable related and explain similarities with intense language contact in past.

The second research is about the reconstruction of Proto-Japanese and its morphology. The research show strong similarities to several southeast asian languages but no similarities to norther languages.

My edit is well sourced and it is a update of more recent researches. Wikipedia should be actuall and must mention newer versions of linguistic census. The current version implies as would the korean/goguryeo relation be accepted. But it is not accepted and still controversial. Most linguists now agree that japonic is not related to goguryeo/korean.

But my edits get reverted because of unknown reason. No explanation why a revert was done.

Also a current research summary explain why the austronesian hypothesis will get more support in future. As stated in the research, in past not much was cared about a relation to austronesian but after the research if Alexander vovin and the linguistic census debunking the controversial altaic theory it get more and more attention. I can also included this research summary if needed.

Please explain why this got reverted and please help to update this page.

Greetings212.95.7.183 (talk) 17:07, 10 May 2017 (UTC)

Your assertion that just because there is recent research in Japan there is a consensus among specialists is completely false. There is no current consensus among historical linguists in general along the lines that you write about. The research that you think is conclusive is entirely based on work in Japan among Japanese linguists. Vovin alone does not make a consensus of Western historical linguists. Until a wider array of historical linguists have accepted the results of this work as conclusive, it is just speculation among a minority of specialists and has not been proven. --Taivo (talk) 18:20, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
But then the current version is also wrong as there is no conclusion if japanese is related to korean/goguryeo. Most linguists say both are unrelated. This needs to be corrected. -- (talk) 18:49, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
That's not what the article says at all. It says that Japonic has most commonly been considered unrelated to anything else, but that among the theories of relatedness the Japanese-Korean/Goguryeo link "has the most currency". That simply means that more linguists support it than support any of the other possibilities for relatedness. It doesn't mean that it's universally accepted or that the majority view isn't still "unrelated to anything else". It says exactly what you think it should say. --Taivo (talk) 19:55, 10 May 2017 (UTC)

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Tibetan is tonal...Edit

In the Sino-Tibetan theory section, the article claims that "early Sino-Tibetan was non-tonal and had SOV grammar order," which I believe is true, "like still today Tibetan language" is not so. While there isn't necessarily agreement on how many tones Tibetan has, it definitely has contrastive tone. Can this section be fixed? Calahagus (talk) 15:00, 11 October 2017 (UTC)Calahagus


I have again removed the following text:

The linguist Juha Janhunen found during his analysis of Asian languages strong similarities between proto-Japanese and Sino-Tibetan languages. He says, similar to Vovin, that proto-Japanese originated somewhere in southeast China but was a Sino-Tibetan (possibly Burmese) language and got later under Austronesian influence. After political or economical problems the proto-Japanese people started to migrate into Japan over the Korean Peninsula. There they possibly were under the influence of Altaic peoples.

This is cited to Janhunen (2003), which can be found in the Further reading section, but does not reflect what that article says. The cited article does not mention Sino-Tibetan or Burmese at all. On page 483, he says that Pre-Proto-Japanese had a tonal system and monosyllabic roots, a typology similar to Tai-Kadai, Miao-Yao, Chinese and Vietnamese, indicating that it must have been contiguous with one of these languages – he suggests Shandong. On page 484, he says that whether Pre-Proto-Japanese had any relatives is an unsolved problem.

I have also deleted the table of "Similarities between ancient Japanese and ancient Chinese languages", which is uncited and appears to be original research. Some of the words listed (kuni 'county' and ume 'plum') are generally accepted as early loans from Chinese, while zeni 'money' must be a later loan, as voiced initials were not permitted in Old Japanese. Kanguole 16:52, 14 August 2018 (UTC)

Vandalism by IP/VPN IP of blocked user gutmeister/bookworm8899Edit

Several IP vandalize this lage and keep pushing a tai-kadai relation to japanese. The siurce of vovin(1998) does not mention tai-kadai but is about the theory that the yayoi/early japanese spoke a language related to Austroasiatic. I also griuped the tai-theory to Austronesian (see austro-tai) because the headline tai-kadai Austroasiatic theory makes no sense as they are not thought to be related. AmurTiger18 (talk) 07:49, 21 October 2018 (UTC)

Sock puppet of WorldCreaterFighter / Satoshi Kondo (talk) 08:13, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
No, i suggest that you are either the sock of WorldCreaterFighter or bookworm8899 because both of you push japanese-tai relation and change the meaning of sources. Stop it, and to delete the talk section is pure vandalism. Also you use 3 IP on the same time which is sock puppetry and already show who you are. AmurTiger18 (talk) 08:23, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
It appears that the blocked User AmurTiger18 is a sockpuppet of WorldCreaterFighter, Satoshi Kondo, HainanTai, AustronesianTaiwan. In the Talkpage of user Satoshi Kondo [10] at Wikimedia Commons, it is revealed that this user is actually a Vietnamese pretends to be a Japanese who uses more than a dozen of Austrian IP addresses such as,, etc. to make disruptive edits and misinterpret sources across Wikipedia. This user appears to suffer from autistic Asperger's syndrome [11], [12]. It's intimidating that English Wikipedia attracts such kind of people roaming across the site. (talk) 07:50, 3 December 2018 (UTC)
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