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January 23, 2007

Comments

Marxy

Richard Marx? Wrong Marxy.

"Koguryoic contributed virtually nothing to modern-day Korean does not in any way establish either that its speakers were an insignificant portion of the ancestors of living Koreans or that Koreans and Japanese are therefore more distantly related than has been assumed."

I wish you would have contributed this over at my blog, but anyway, I get your problem with the theory. Beckwith is going against the CW that the Japanese are basically an offshoot people of the Proto-Koreans on the peninsula, bringing Korean peninsular culture to Japan with them. According to his master theory, however, the Wa people never really lived on the Korean peninsula, so what makes them "Korean" at all? The other theory with the Proto-Japanese coming from a people on the peninsula clearly makes them "Korean" but not necessarily Shilla.

I'd like a link to the DNA evidence, because it is intriguing. As far as I have heard, however, DNA evidence also links the Ainu to Japanese, and no one would claim however that Ainu and Japanese languages have anything to do with each other. At best, proto-Ainu stock of the Jomon got swallowed into the Yayoi race.

"while dismissing the strong grammatical similarities between Korean and Japanese as "typological attributes" knocks away one of the main planks of research into linguistic relatedness"

Take it up with the linguists. Even people like Samuel Martin - who has spent a career trying to link Korean and Japanese - isn't basing his case on typological similarities. These attributes can make Korean and Dravidian look very similar. When it comes to shared vocab between the two, there is very little in terms of Old Japanese and Old Korean and most of it is probably borrowed. It would be a lot easier if the typological attributes could be entered as evidence, but no serious scholars would allow it.

"the English and the Dutch"

These are both Germanic languages and no one doubts that. Even if this genetic evidence is true - that the Japanese and Koreans are closer than any of the European peoples - you have to deal with the fact that you see almost none of those relations in the language. Beckwith at least gets us closer by explaining why the languages developed as they did, but at the same time, Japanese does not become an offshoot of Korean and Altaic, but part of a group that influenced Korean.

I recommend reading the Beckwith book. Not necessarily that it's gospel, but I think it does complicate the traditional idea that the Japanese descended from Korean stock and moved to Japan. If the DNA relations are from intrusive Koguryoic stock coming into the Shilla (Han) stock, then the Koreans are more Japanese than the Japanese are Koreans. When the Paekche elite came to Japan later, they were bringing with them more of the Koguryo stock, rather than the Shilla stock.

Japanese and Koreans are related, of course, but Beckwith's theory clearly questions the more traditional idea that they are branches off the same parent tree. You can be cousins and still be "related" but it's less of a relation than being brothers. If anything, the Koreans and Japanese should see themselves more as having a common history of imported Chinese language and philosophy. Their languages have gotten more similar over time.

Abiola

"Richard Marx? Wrong Marxy."

申し訳ありません。Mistake corrected.

"I'd like a link to the DNA evidence, because it is intriguing."

I'm not at home so I don't have easy access to most of my references, but Cavalli-Sforza's book "Genes, People and Languages" would be the first place I'd suggest looking. You can find an identically named PNAS paper by him here

http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/94/15/7719/F3

and there's an image in it illustrating the close relationship between the Japanese and the Koreans:

http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/94/15/7719/F3

Unfortunately this paper doesn't contain the tables of genetic distances from the book which substantiate my claims about just how closely related Koreans and Japanese are. There are plenty of papers in a similar vein, however, e.g.

http://www.genome.org/cgi/content/abstract/14/10a/1832

"Mitochondrial Genome Variation in Eastern Asia and the Peopling of Japan"

and searching PubMed should turn up numerous others based on the Y chromosome as well as autosomal markers.

"As far as I have heard, however, DNA evidence also links the Ainu to Japanese, and no one would claim however that Ainu and Japanese languages have anything to do with each other."

Well, to begin with, one would expect some degree of admixture to have been going on between the Ainu and the neighoring Yamato peoples over the many centuries during which they abutted each other, so this is not particularly surprising: I doubt there's been such a thing as a "pure" Ainu for a few centuries now. This notwithstanding, however, one mustn't overstate the extent of the genetic closeness of the Ainu and the Yamato majority. See, e.g. the paper

"Genetic origins of the Ainu inferred from combined DNA analyses of maternal and paternal lineages" by A. Tajima et. al.

It just isn't on the sma order of similarity as that between the Yamato Japanese and the Koreans.

"Even people like Samuel Martin - who has spent a career trying to link Korean and Japanese - isn't basing his case on typological similarities. These attributes can make Korean and Dravidian look very similar."

Sure, they aren't enough on their own to make the case, but Joseph Greenberg's achievements with the Niger-Congo languages indicates just how useful such a less "rigorous" approach can be: when you see two genetically very similar neighboring peoples sharing an extremely similar grammar, and you keep in mind that grammars are usually much more evolutionarily conservative than vocabularies (look at English vocabulary vs. German), the case for shared language ancestry becomes that much stronger.

"If anything, the Koreans and Japanese should see themselves more as having a common history of imported Chinese language and philosophy. Their languages have gotten more similar over time."

But *that* is the question. Ignoring imported Chinese vocabulary, have the two languages really grown more similar over their recorded history? We have the Kojiki and the Nihonshoki on one side, as well as material of similar antiquity for Silla, so it ought to be possible to look at Old Japanese and Old Korean and answer the question "Were they more or less grammatically similar than their modern counterparts?" one way or another. If "less", then you might be onto something, but if "more" (as I believe to be correct), we have to go back to looking seriously at the divergent-but-related-languages theory.

Marxy

http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN9004139494

You can apparently read the whole Beckwith book online.

Dotori33

In response to the statements made to Korean's attempt to claim Koguryo remains in China, although many Koreans would like to and do claim them, it is not because Shilla had taken much of what was left of Koguryo territory in the 7th century. It is because if you were to not consider modern political boundaries, it is Koreans and not Chinese who have the right to claim them. In addition, when you speak of Korea's runaway chauvinism, there is no question there is some chauvinism behind their intentions but by referring to Dokdo as Takeshima leads one to believe you are biased in favor of Japanese claims. I can understand you using the term east sea as that has been the official use by western standards since world war II until recent changes, but to use Takeshima in place of Dodko casts doubts upon your entire arguement. On this note, i'd like to say that Koguryo, Shilla and Baekche were all Korean, down to the precise defintion of what is actually Korean. I do not claim Japanese are Korean, but I do claim all three kingdoms were and will always be Korean, and it is those who disagree that need a more true understanding of Korea today as well as Korea in the past.

Abiola

Actually, I use the term "Takeshima" instead of "Dokdo" precisely *because* it annoys thin-skinned Korean ultranationalists, not because I care who "really" owns that worthless collection of rocks. As for your claims about the "Koreanness" of Koguryo, Shilla and Baekche, the blatant anachronism of projecting a "Korean" identity back onto groups who didn't even see themselves as part of the same nation just shows how much a typical illogical Korean chauvinist you are - as far as you lot are concerned, facts, logic, honesty and everything else can go to hell if they stand in the way of your glorifying "Korea", but the irony is that this attitude is the very root of the contempt in which so many foreigners hold you "patriots" ...

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