In response to Zippie's and then Marnen Laibow-Koser's comment:
In Korean, minus the diphthongs, there are only 6 vowels. I believe that is the closest one could get to finding a language with few vowels and having vowel harmony. -Zippie
- I know that ㅐ and ㅔ are written as diphthongs, and I'd assume they're diphthongs in origin, but it seems to me that in the modern language, they function as single vowels (am I right?), bringing the total to 8 vowels. --Marnen Laibow-Koser (talk) 05:09, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)
- They sure sound like single vowels, and it also seems like ㅐ and ㅔ are pronounced pretty much the same, at least as far as Seoul speech among thirty-somethings is concerned. I'm guessing there are likely other dialects that make some distinction between these two, but in my (admittedly limited) experience it looks they are becoming more of an orthographical relic, a bit like the lingering letter clusters in certain English word pairs like "knight" and "night", or "ate" and "eight". --- Eiríkr Útlendi 06:41, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)
There was also a good question at the top of this section that would be worth following up on:
- Apparently there are traces of vowel harmony in Korean and vowel harmony was known to exist in Old Japanese - does modern Japanese contain any traces at all? In any case, it would be very interesting to read about what happened to the vowel harmony in these languages, how much there used to be, and what is still discernable today. — Hippietrail 13:41, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)
- I do not know about vowel harmony in Japanese, but vowel harmony in Korean is still prevalent; though most speakers do not recognise it. Vowel harmony is still followed heavily in certain regional dialects, mostly notably the Gyeongsang Dialect. -- Bezant 17:00, 1 April 2005 (ETC)
In response to Zippie's comment:
Comparing modern Korean and Japanese can be misleading. For example, the particle "yo" in Korean comes from "-io" and "-shio." Furthermore, the particle "e" does not mark direction in Korean; rather, it marks location. The particle "ro," however, does mark direction, and is used simultaneously for the instrumental noun case. As for the semantic shifts of these particles: in the three kingdoms time period, the locative particles were "a" and "ae," depending on the vowel class of the noun; and in Middle Korean, the directional particle was "rae." Also, the difference in Korean and Japanese phonology is unaccountable for, such as the lack of consonant endings in Japanese. If these languages were related genetically, they would at least have some cognates such as numbers and body parts; but they do not. Arguing that these languages are genetically related through grammar structure alone is too misleading. One could make an argument that Korean is related to Farsi, Hindi, and Dravidian languages through grammar and structure alone. Some already have: British scholar Homer B. Hulbert tried to relate Korean to Dravidian through the similar syntax in both languages. -- Zippie
Grant the ieyo bit; worth looking into as well. But e as location? Perhaps he means historically? Likewise, ro as location doesn't sound right from what I remember -- check books. I thought this was rǒ, as in tame, c.f. ppang sa-rǒ shinae e ga yo? Oof, forgetting too much. :S
the difference in Korean and Japanese phonology is unaccountable for -- phooey. Zippie's own Baekje example is exactly what I should use to refute this, as Baekje had no final consonants either (as far as we can tell). H(is|er) links also show phonologically similar cognates -- what is s/he getting at? Is s/he simply logically incompetent? I can't figure this one out. Also give some of the other cognates from Shibatani, and explain what I can of Japanese sound changes -- pal / ashi (foot),
Arguing that these languages are genetically related through grammar structure alone -- Zippie confuses grammar with syntax. Talk some more about deixis. Farsi, Hindi -- both *very* Indo-European, and by that I mean specifically that person and number are built into the verb inflections. Neither Japanese nor Korean inflects for person, but rather for social deixis, tense, and aspect. Dravidian -- discuss Shibatani's mention, geographical distribution of Dravidian tongues (i.e. apparently they came from the north (maybe even northeast?) and moved south, possibly originating somewhere closer to Altaic roots). Also go into apparent cognates between Tamil and Japanese.
Also, discuss geography and archaeology some more. Describe how Indo-European started more around the Caucasus (check), whereas Altaic seems to have started around Mongolia / Manchuria. Re-emphasize the likely origins of the Yayoi culture -- if they weren't speaking some relative of Korean, what the heck was it?
Ask Zippie what they mean by convergence. How, and when, does Zippie propose this convergence came about? The trading relations theory is too full of holes to be worth much, c.f. Chinese. But if Zippie actually has a real point, and a real defensible argument, then great! But can they communicate that?
There is evidence of at least some borrowing from Austronesian languages. Though anyone familiar with Austronesian and Japanese grammars would find the idea of Japanese as part of the Austronesian family a laughable proposition, there are enough Austronesian cognates that crop up in Japanese, and enough archaeological circumstantial evidence, to suggest that these cognates are genuine and not just the product of accident. Some examples are included below.
Note that modern sakana "fish" is a compound word, from sake "alcohol" + na "snack"
|(M) ika fish|
(H) i'a fish
|(M) hine girl|
(H) kamahine girl kama child + hine girl/female
|kaku to write, to scratch||(H) kākau to write, to tattoo|
|hema stupidity, mistake||(M) hemahema clumsy, hema shameless|
(H) hemahema clumsy, hema left-hand side