"The Languages of Japan and Korea" provides detailed descriptions of the
major varieties of languages in the region, both modern and pre-modern,
within a common format, producing a long-needed introductory reference
source. Korean, Japanese, Ainu, and representative members of the main
groupings of the Ryukyuan chain are discussed for the first time in great
detail in a single work.
The volume is divided into language sketches, the majority of which are
broken down into sections on phonology, orthography, morphology, syntax
and lexicon. Specific emphasis is placed on aspects of syntactic interest,
including speech levels, honorifics and classifiers. Each language variety is
represented in Roman-based transcription, although its own script (where
there is such orthography) and IPA transcriptions are used sparingly where
The dialects of both the modern and oldest forms of the languages are given
extensive treatment, with a primary focus on the differences from the
These synchronic snapshots are complemented by a discussion of both the
genetic and areal relationships between languages in the region.
With contributions from a variety of scholars of the highest reputation, "The
Language of Japan and Korea" is a much needed and highly useful tool for
professionals and students in linguistics, as well as area studies specialists.