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LINGUIST List 17.312

Mon Jan 30 2006

Diss: Historical Ling: Robbeets: 'Is Japanese Relate...'

Editor for this issue: Meredith Valant <meredithlinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Martine Robbeets, Is Japanese Related to the Altaic Languages?

Message 1: Is Japanese Related to the Altaic Languages?
Date: 30-Jan-2006
From: Martine Robbeets <martine_robbeetshotmail.com>
Subject: Is Japanese Related to the Altaic Languages?

Institution: Leiden University
Program: Department of Comparative Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Martine Irma Robbeets

Dissertation Title: Is Japanese Related to the Altaic Languages?

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Subject Language(s): Japanese (jpn)
Korean (kor)

Language Family(ies): Altaic

Dissertation Director(s):
Lars Johanson
Frederik H .H. Kortlandt
Alexander Lubotsky
Sergej A Starostin

Dissertation Abstract:

Where does Japanese come from? Is Japanese Related to Korean, Tungusic,
Mongolic and Turkic?The linguistic origin of the Japanese language is among
the most disputed questions of language history. One current hypothesis is
that Japanese is an Altaic language, sharing a common ancestor with Korean,
Tungusic, Mongolic and Turkic. But, the opinions are strongly polarized.
Especially the inclusion of Japanese into this classifi cation model is
very much under debate. Given the lack of consensus in the field, my
doctoral dissertation presents a state of the art for the etymological
evidence relating Japanese to Korean, Tungusic, Mongolic and Turkic.

The different Altaic etymologies proposed in the scholarly literature are
gathered in an etymological index of Japanese appended to this
dissertation. An item-by-item sifting of the evidence helps to hold down
borrowings, universal similarities and coincidental look-alikes to a small
percentage. When the remaining core-evidence is screened in terms of
phonological regularity, the answer to the intriguing question is beginning to
take shape.

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