A Re-evaluation of a Common Genetic Origin
Publication Year: 2010
In Koreo-Japonica, Vovin carefully reviews recent advances in the reconstruction of both language families. His detailed analysis of most of the morphological and lexical comparisons offered so far shows that whenever the proposed comparisons are not due to pure chance, they can almost always be explained as borrowings from Korean into a central group of Japanese dialects from roughly between the third and eighth centuries A.D. The remaining group of lexical (but not morphological) comparisons that cannot be explained in this way is, he argues, too small to serve as proof of even a distant genetic relationship.
In this volume, a leading historical linguist presents a significant challenge to a view widely held by Japonic and Korean historical linguistics on the relationship between the two language families and offers material support for the skepticism long espoused by general historical linguists on the matter. His findings will both challenge and illuminate issues of interest to all linguists working with language contact and typology as well as those concerned with the prehistory and early history of East Asia.
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
Series: Hawaii Studies on Korea
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
Although I discussed various parts of this book or some ideas found in it with a number of colleagues, I am especially grateful to Stefan Georg. To him I owe my vast improvement in comparative linguistics methodology over the last eight years: if not for him, the very idea of writing this book never would have been conceived. ...
This book attempts to critically re-evaluate the relationship between Korean and Japonic.1 It is quite apparent that Korean and Japonic are very similar, often to the extent that a word-to-word translation is possible from one language to another. Such similarity is, however, purely typological and cannot be used as evidence for a common genetic origin. ...
Chapter 1. Proto-Korean and Proto-Japonic Reconstructions and Their Role in the Comparison of the Two Languages
Ramsey (1991, 1993) and Yi Kimun (1991: 18) have demonstrated that the Middle Korean aspirates ph, th, ch, and kh have a secondary origin resulting from clusters of HC or CH type, where H stands for velar [k] or pharyngeal [h]. Ramsey’s and Yi Kimun’s idea is based predominantly on the analysis of gaps in the internal structure of Korean: there ..
Chapter 2. Morphological Comparisons
It goes without saying that common paradigmatic morphology represents better proof of a genetic relationship than common basic lexicon, because (a) it is much more stable than vocabulary, and (b) paradigmatic morphology is never borrowed (except in the case of language mixing). ...
Chapter 3 Lexical Comparisons
The Koreo-Japonic comparison has always been conducted mostly in the area of vocabulary, with grammatical comparison playing only a secondary role. This can be demonstrated by the fact that two seminal works that attempted to prove the genetic relationship between these two languages, Martin (1966) and Whitman (1985), dealt predominantly with lexical comparisons. ...
About the Author, Back Cover
Alexander Vovin has published some hundred articles on Japanese, Korean, Ainu, and Tungusic, as well as on other languages of East and Inner Asia. Among his major works are A Reconstruction of Proto-Ainu (1993); A Reference Grammar of Classical Japanese Prose (2003); ...