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Which language family do you believe Japanese belongs to?





inuyasha
Nowadays languages can be sorted into nine major language families, namely Indo-European Family, Sino-Tibetan Family, Uralic Family, Altaic Family, Afro-Asiatic Family, Ibero-Caucasus Family, Dravidian Family, Tada-Austronesian Family, Austro-Asiatic Family.

And as most linguists believe, wiki tells us Japanese, as well as Korean and Ryukyuan, belongs to Maro-Altaic Family. But some Japanese experts argue that the three languages mentioned above should be Japonic Languages, or even independent languages(I'm not sure if it's the correct phrase).

As a Chinese, I see many common words, grammar rules, expressions and of course Kanji in both Chinese and Japanese. But why are they in different language family? What differences makes it an Altaic language and Chinese a Sino-Tibetan language?
badai
of course those japanese experts will claim their language is not part/derived from other language. if those experts happened to be genealogists, i wonder what they will claim where japanese came from.
inuyasha
@badai, actually it does not necessarily define a language is derived though it belongs to some language family.
But yes, some experts are just unreliable.

Um~ My point is, the Japanese language nowadays is believed to be an Altaic language, while Chinese belongs to Sino-Tibetan Family. Isn't it weird? They have much in common~
Perhaps languages are grouped into different families mainly by their origins and pronunciation instead of texts?
ninaya
This isn't official yet,however I believe that based on sounds and grammar Japanese seems to be similar to several native american languages.
testsoc
An interesting topic. I think the key point here is that Japanese and Korean, despite having antecedents, a borrowed alphabet and other commonalities with Sinic languages, have dropped the tones that languages like Vietnamese, which was also heavily derived from Chinese, have retained.

The question then is .. was Japanese in its own field already, or was it Sinic and then developed so distinctly it then became its own grouping?
inuyasha
testsoc wrote:
An interesting topic. I think the key point here is that Japanese and Korean, despite having antecedents, a borrowed alphabet and other commonalities with Sinic languages, have dropped the tones that languages like Vietnamese, which was also heavily derived from Chinese, have retained.

The question then is .. was Japanese in its own field already, or was it Sinic and then developed so distinctly it then became its own grouping?


Perhaps Japanese had been clearly in its own field, before new words were imported from Chinese. Very Happy
crazyfffan
I think Japanese itself is a member of Altaic languages. Other members are Koreans, Mongolian and Turkish (!!! yes Turkish). But the grammar and vocabulary later was heavily influenced by Chinese, same thing happened with Korean, so Japanese and Korean now separate to be a new branch of language.

Same phenomenon with Vietnamese: it originated from Mon-Khmer but under 2 thousand years influence from China it no longer sounds like any of the member languages in that branch.
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