Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 57

Thread: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Native language
    English - Wales
    Posts
    92

    Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

    In the past I've heard of theory that suggests that Japanese and Turkish, along with Korean and possibly a couple of other languages belong to the same group. I believe the group was named Altaic. Do you think there's anything in this or do you feel this is just some nutty hypothesis with nothing really to support it other than a handful of words with the same meaning that broadly resemble each other?

    I'm no language expert, but when I've seen Romanized Japanese sentences, and Turkish sentences I can't help but think there is a bit of a similarity, both seem to have very distant similarities. Both are agglutinative languages (although many languages are, that's not really saying much), and there are quite a few words which look similar and have the same, or similar meanings in both languages.

    However, the sheer geographic distance between the 2 regions makes me wonder if it's even possible.

    Thanks for any insight into this topic.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Native language
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Posts
    4,265

    Re: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

    Hi,
    Quote Originally Posted by COF View Post
    In the past I've heard of theory that suggests that Japanese and Turkish, along with Korean and possibly a couple of other languages
    The so-called Altaic language family counts 66 languages, spoken by almost 350 million people. That's not my understanding of 'a couple of other languages' ;-).
    Anyway, we already have a thread about Altaic languages and the English Wikipedia article is a fairly good introduction.

    I'm no language expert, but when I've seen Romanized Japanese sentences, and Turkish sentences I can't help but think there is a bit of a similarity,
    Could you please give a few examples?

    the sheer geographic distance between the 2 regions makes me wonder if it's even possible
    I don't think distance is an issue here.

    Groetjes,

    Frank
    Last edited by Frank06; 6th November 2008 at 11:09 PM.
    If you open your mind too much, your brain might fall out.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Koper, Slovenia, Central Europe
    Native language
    Brazil, Brazilian Portuguese
    Age
    28
    Posts
    111

    Re: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

    To me, there seems to be a clear link between Turkic, and Japonic. There seems to be a correspondence between Turkic initial d-, and Japonic initial y-, such as in Turkish dört vs. Japanese yo(n), both meaning four, and in Turkish dağ vs. Japanese yama, both meaning mountain. In my humble opinion, the proto-sound could have been ɟ, which then later evolved into d in Turkic, and into y (phnetically j) in Japonic.
    "Einer für alle, alle für einen.". - (C) 1996, Die Toten Hosen.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Andalucía
    Native language
    English - England
    Posts
    1,024

    Re: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Native language
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Age
    48
    Posts
    10,790

    Re: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

    By accident - when researching a completely different matter - I've come across two older articles in Ural-Altaic Yearbook = UAY for short reference (and please note: this yearbook is one for which linking Uralic, Altaic and other languages is something of a 'task': quite some of the scientists writing there want to see connections; nevertheless you only get to write for this journal if you are a scientist):

    Murayama, Schichiro: Ist Japanisch eine Mischsprache? [Is Japanese a mixed language?] UAY vol. 50/1978 p. 111-115:
    This is the "Austronesian theory" of Japanese being probably an Austronesian language which had been thoroughly changed due to the influence of an Altaic language (and other influences).
    He has arguments to follow, some of them sound quite good to me while others do not (one of the latter being the name of "mother" in Japanese, Altaic and Austronesian which isn't an argument really, we've already had some discussions about this, e. g. that one here).
    The article is very short and I am in no position to evaluate the examples he has given therefore I leave them out.
    (And I couldn't post them here anyway, this would exceed the 4-lines-copyright-rule quite considerably. And anyway it would be best, for those proficient enough to evaluate, to read the original article.)

    The conclusion at which he arrives is as follows (all these are quotes from p. 115, translations are mine; for copyright reasons I have to be short):
    One should take into account (...) that Austronesian elements outnumber Altaic ones in basic vocabulary of Old Japanese (...)
    (...) one can conclude that the genesis of Proto-Japanese might be explained as based on an Austronesian language which became reformated*) due to the influence of an Altaic language, probably one closely related to Proto-Tungusic.
    *) I object against his choice of word "reformiert - reformated" because in science we shouldn't call one thing good or bad - and this verb here is not neutral. But translation should be true to the original. And the German sentence is so complicated (with several Matryoshkas if you know what I mean, sentence-embedded-in-a-sentence-embedded-...) that translation has to be somewhat free concerning syntax.
    Further he states that syntax of Japanese were more Altaic than Austronesian.
    He also mentioned some other authors doing research: he begins with Bedler (1857), later came Polianov (~1900), then Miller (1971) and Menges (1975). Polianov already argued very much in favour of Japanese being a mixed language.
    Whoever is interested in this should read this article, and the next one:

    Kazár, Lajos: Uralic-Japanese Language Comparison; UAY vol. 48/1976 p. 127-150:
    This gives extensive word-lists and discussion; what I said about the first article is even more true about this one: I can't possibly evaluate if what is written there is valuable.
    The same author has written more articles about related topics.

    Please also note:
    - some linguists take it for a fact that the Altaic family in the broader sense (with Korean or probably even Japanese included): this is not the case, that's still very much disputed
    - some linguists still are influenced by national ideologies; I won't quote an article and I won't give names (this is not about making accusations, right? ) - I only advice to be careful with all such theories (and to always be on the look-out for ideologies hidden behind so-called science); some of those hidden ideologies you also find in UAY
    - those old articles sometimes, alas, are just old; so please don't read to much into it, newer, modern authors should be read before you come to a conclusion
    Last edited by sokol; 8th November 2008 at 1:08 AM.
    "An esoteric may claim more nonsense in 5 minutes than a scientist may be able to disprove in his entire life." Vince Ebert, about fighting sciolism.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Vilnius (Lazdynai)
    Native language
    Lithuanian / Lietúvüü
    Posts
    92

    Re: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

    Quote Originally Posted by OBrasilo View Post
    To me, there seems to be a clear link between Turkic, and Japonic. There seems to be a correspondence between Turkic initial d-, and Japonic initial y-, such as in Turkish dört vs. Japanese yo(n), both meaning four, and in Turkish dağ vs. Japanese yama, both meaning mountain. In my humble opinion, the proto-sound could have been ɟ, which then later evolved into d in Turkic, and into y (phnetically j) in Japonic.
    How is Turkish dört similar to Japanese yon? I know Turkish and I know Japanese and i don;t see any similarity between the two, yet I see similarity (a very old influence) between Polynesian, Pacific languages and Japanese.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Ankara
    Native language
    Turkish
    Posts
    4,163

    Re: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

    Quote Originally Posted by neonrider View Post
    How is Turkish dört similar to Japanese yon? I know Turkish and I know Japanese and i don;t see any similarity between the two, yet I see similarity (a very old influence) between Polynesian, Pacific languages and Japanese.
    Yes, it's a little weird to claim that dört and yon are similar...^^ Also weird to claim that dağ and yama are similar. :P

    If it is going to satisfy you, the word for hill is tepe in both Turkish and Japanese. Anyway, the similarity in vocabulary isn't a criteria to claim that a group of languages are from the same family.

    I do feel like Japanese and Turkish are similar, because the logic of the syntax of both languages seem really close to each other.

    Jp: Kyoto-no
    Tr: Kyoto'nun
    En: of Kyoto

    Jp: Kuruma-de
    Tr: Araba-da
    En: by car

    Jp: Kutu-o
    Tr: Pabuç-u
    En: the shoes

    Jp: Nan-desu ka
    Tr: Ne-dir ki?
    En: What is it?

    Jp: imasu
    Tr: imiş
    En: there is

    Jp: hanashimashita
    Tr: konuşmuştu
    En: he had talked

    Jp: itta
    Tr: gitti
    En: he's gone

    and so on and so forth. In my opinion there is a faint link somewhere in the history of these languages. But I'm not a linguist, so my opinion isn't worth much.
    Last edited by Rallino; 19th July 2010 at 12:51 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Vilnius (Lazdynai)
    Native language
    Lithuanian / Lietúvüü
    Posts
    92

    Re: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

    Could be! I always thought Japanese is not like other East Asian languages and I thought it originated somewhere in Central Asia (and I know well the Chinese and Ainu parts of it), so I and you could be right. Also, the weirdest thing is that my brother when he was in Uzbekistan, he told me that local people taught him this phrase: "Oppai name" which in Japanese (20 years later I found out) means "child sucking a breast", but in Uzbekistan they use it for something else. Remember, Uzbekistan just like the entire USSR was a closed society and very few people, especially in Uzbekistan, could travel to Japan or even to Mongolia or China. Also I know that Japanese haplogroups, genetics etc. derives from both Tibet and NE China. But some, quite many, Japanese have these curvy noses unlike SE Asians or Chinese, which I thought sometimes remind me slightly of gentle form of Jews. Also in Japanese "atama" means "head" and "otosan" (oto) means "father". Further you know already. By the way, in Lithuanian "bite" is very similar to Japanese "bite" (to bite, biting, bitten, bit) = "kanda, kaasti, kandzhioja" and there are other "wild matches" or "coincidences". So please post more assumed matches, I'd like to see them since I like not to outrule "wild guesses" as they call it.
    Žuvėdrai reikia ryti ir sparnais plasnoti, kad išgyventų!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Geneva
    Native language
    German (Germany)
    Age
    55
    Posts
    20,100

    Re: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

    Quote Originally Posted by neonrider View Post
    So please post more assumed matches
    Moderator note: but not in this forum. A reminder of the rules:
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank06 View Post
    EHL is not a venue to launch or expand on private pet theories, pseudo-linguistic ponderings, idiosyncratic and fringe ideas. This also includes theories based upon random lists of similarly looking words, chance coincidences, wild speculations or associations and other pseudo-linguistic and pre-scientific methods.
    To a certain degree we tolerate posting of such list as an explorative step for formulating an initial hypothesis. But any claims resulting from such lists should subsequently be substantiated. Providing more lists does not qualify as substantiation.
    Last edited by berndf; 20th July 2010 at 2:57 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Vilnius (Lazdynai)
    Native language
    Lithuanian / Lietúvüü
    Posts
    92

    Re: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

    I understand, yet languages evolve, so should the rules. Good luck.
    Žuvėdrai reikia ryti ir sparnais plasnoti, kad išgyventų!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Germany
    Native language
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    Posts
    1,235

    Re: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rallino View Post
    Jp: Kyoto-no
    Tr: Kyoto'nun
    En: of Kyoto

    Jp: Kuruma-de
    Tr: Araba-da
    En: by car
    What do the suffixes no (Jp) and nun (Tr), as well as de (Jp) and da (Tr) mean?
    As for all I know, the suffix "da/de" in Turkish means "in", "inside".

    Quote Originally Posted by Rallino View Post
    Jp: Kutu-o
    Tr: Pabuç-u
    En: the shoes
    Once again: what does the suffix o (Jp) / u (Tr) mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rallino View Post
    Jp: Kutu-oJp: Nan-desu ka
    Tr: Ne-dir ki?
    En: What is it?

    Jp: imasu
    Tr: imiş
    En: there is

    Jp: hanashimashita
    Tr: konuşmuştu
    En: he had talked

    Jp: itta
    Tr: gitti
    En: he's gone

    and so on and so forth. In my opinion there is a faint link somewhere in the history of these languages. But I'm not a linguist, so my opinion isn't worth much.
    The verbs appear to be the most interesting part of your list, especially "he had talked".
    Are there any more coincidences among verb stems and in the verbal morphology of Japanese and Turkish?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Ankara
    Native language
    Turkish
    Posts
    4,163

    Re: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Angelo di fuoco View Post
    What do the suffixes no (Jp) and nun (Tr), as well as de (Jp) and da (Tr) mean?
    As for all I know, the suffix "da/de" in Turkish means "in", "inside".
    Yes, mostly, it's also possible to use it as "by car" though.

    Once again: what does the suffix o (Jp) / u (Tr) mean?
    They are the object markers. i.e. The accusative case.

    The verbs appear to be the most interesting part of your list, especially "he had talked".
    Are there any more coincidences among verb stems and in the verbal morphology of Japanese and Turkish?
    Are you talking about verb stems like "yakimasu" (to burn) in Turkish is "yakmak" ? I don't know about them. But the suffixes are more important to decide about a language's relation with another language, don't you find? =)

    Nevertheless, I don't have all of them in my mind at the moment.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Germany
    Native language
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    Posts
    1,235

    Re: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rallino View Post
    Are you talking about verb stems like "yakimasu" (to burn) in Turkish is "yakmak" ? I don't know about them. But the suffixes are more important to decide about a language's relation with another language, don't you find? =)

    Nevertheless, I don't have all of them in my mind at the moment.
    I agree that suffixes are more important than word stems, therefore I asked you not only about stems, but also about morphology.
    My knowledge of both Japanese (except the meaning of some Kanji, which Japanese has in common with Chinese) and Turkish (one or two words) being virtually none, it also would be interesting for me to have a look at a Swadesh list of Turkish and Japanese and to compare the similarities and differences.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Koper, Slovenia, Central Europe
    Native language
    Brazil, Brazilian Portuguese
    Age
    28
    Posts
    111

    Re: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

    Yes, it's a little weird to claim that dört and yon are similar...^^ Also weird to claim that dağ and yama are similar. :P

    If it is going to satisfy you, the word for hill is tepe in both Turkish and Japanese. Anyway, the similarity in vocabulary isn't a criteria to claim that a group of languages are from the same family.
    I've NEVER talked about simple vocabulary similarity. I talked about a seemingly regular sound correspondence between Japanese initial y and Turkish initial d. I'm pretty aware, that convergent vocabulary is not a criterion for relationship, but vocabulary with a seemingly regular sound correspondence is.
    "Einer für alle, alle für einen.". - (C) 1996, Die Toten Hosen.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Vilnius (Lazdynai)
    Native language
    Lithuanian / Lietúvüü
    Posts
    92

    Re: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rallino View Post
    Are you talking about verb stems like "yakimasu" (to burn) in Turkish is "yakmak" ? I don't know about them. But the suffixes are more important to decide about a language's relation with another language, don't you find? =)
    Degimas (Lith.) = burning process. Yet "yakimasu" in Japanese means "I bake" or "to bake" (Kepimas in Lith.), not "to burn".
    Žuvėdrai reikia ryti ir sparnais plasnoti, kad išgyventų!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Native language
    English (USA), Spanish
    Age
    33
    Posts
    3,480

    Re: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Angelo di fuoco View Post
    The verbs appear to be the most interesting part of your list, especially "he had talked".
    It's not particularly interesting in the slightest. I find the similarity forced.

    "He talked" is hanashita. Hanashimashita is an honorific form used in respectful/polite circumstances. -mashita is not a suffix. The way to analyze hanashimashita correctly is:

    hanas(h)-------- mas(h)------------ta
    (talk) ----- (polite/respectful)-----(past tense)


    So the question is, can muștu be analyzed similarly? I believe that -muș is the tense/aspect marker. -t marks it as a narrative pluperfect and -u is the personal pronoun inflection for "he". This is very different from the Japanese structure which is not a pluperfect nor does it mark "he" but only tense and politeness. Hanashimashita can also mean "I talked".

    The surface similarity looks like pure coincidence.

    The only similarity here could be a sound correspondence between k and h: konuș and hanas(h) but that would have to be shown to be a robust correspondence. There's no correspondence in the grammatical suffixes.
    Last edited by clevermizo; 20th July 2010 at 6:01 PM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Germany
    Native language
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    Posts
    1,235

    Re: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

    One who, like me, doesn't know anything about Japanese and Turkish, may be deceived by superficial sound correspondence, or, better, similarity (which, in this case, is extreme), so thank you very much for undeceiving me.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Native language
    English (USA), Spanish
    Age
    33
    Posts
    3,480

    Re: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Angelo di fuoco View Post
    One who, like me, doesn't know anything about Japanese and Turkish, may be deceived by superficial sound correspondence, or, better, similarity (which, in this case, is extreme), so thank you very much for undeceiving me.
    Well although there's no similarity in the grammatical affixes, the root words are similar. /k/ and /h/ are known to be related elsewhere, consider that Latin canis and English hound are real cognates. Mind you, I don't really believe in a link between Turkish and Japanese, but if the relationship between /k/ in Turkish and /h/ in Japanese were robust, then it would supportive of that hypothesis.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Native language
    Australian English
    Posts
    1,559

    Re: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

    Quote Originally Posted by COF
    However, the sheer geographic distance between the 2 regions makes me wonder if it's even possible.
    The Turkic languages probably originated in, and are still spoken in, Western China. So the geographic distance is not quite as sheer as you seem to think.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Ankara
    Native language
    Turkish
    Posts
    4,163

    Re: Potential link between Japanese and Turkish?

    Quote Originally Posted by clevermizo View Post
    It's not particularly interesting in the slightest. I find the similarity forced.

    "He talked" is hanashita. Hanashimashita is an honorific form used in respectful/polite circumstances. -mashita is not a suffix. The way to analyze hanashimashita correctly is:

    hanas(h)-------- mas(h)------------ta
    (talk) ----- (polite/respectful)-----(past tense)


    So the question is, can muștu be analyzed similarly? I believe that -muș is the tense/aspect marker. -t marks it as a narrative pluperfect and -u is the personal pronoun inflection for "he". This is very different from the Japanese structure which is not a pluperfect nor does it mark "he" but only tense and politeness. Hanashimashita can also mean "I talked".
    You're right, we can't analyze the Turkish equivalent as such. I had no idea that "mash" were honorific. Turkish doesn't have a honorofic speech though. Anyway, thanks for clearing that up; and I hope you guys will excuse me for having citated that example...

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •