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Japanese "Ika" of Proto-Austronesian Origin?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Triginta Septem, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. Triginta Septem Junior Member

    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    English - America
    I was watching a video series on historical linguistics today and one example talked about the Proto-Austronesian *sikan, meaning fish, and it's decedents. I noticed that the Fijian, Maori, Rapa Nui, and Tongan words were all identical to the Japanese word for squid, ika (烏賊). The characters, obviously, are of Chinese origin, but the pronounciation appears to be native Japanese (thus leaving it's etymology a complete mystery). The word seems to be widely spread across many Austronesian-speaking peoples, and rather consistent in it's sound (Indonesian ikan, Hawai'ian i'a), so it seems reasonable to think there may be a relation, no?
     
  2. mataripis Senior Member

    In most ethnic languages in the Philippines, the word "Ikan" means Fish. This word seems the root word for "Food" or something edible. In Tagalog, the word for fish is Isda' or Ista' but the word for food is "Pagkain" or "Makakain".This root word "i kan" (the food) evolved into many forms in Austronesian region. Like "masakan" in Bahasa and portion of Mindanaw, "Makakan" in Bisayanon of Pilipinas.
     
  3. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    The Malay/Indonesian is ikan and the Polynesian is ika (sometimes further shifted to i'a), so the [n] was presumably lost sometime near when the Austronesians were pushing their canoes off New Guinea into the wide blue Pacific. How could the word have got from there to Japan? It's just a coincidence. Pick any two dictionaries - say Abkhaz and Zulu - and run through them and you'll find plenty of vaguely similar words with vaguely similar meanings.

    Exercise: Explain which direction the borrowing went between Japanese tako "octopus" and Spanish taco "something like an enchilada", both kinds of food therefore related.
     
  4. rbrunner Junior Member

    Switzerland
    German - Switzerland
    Whereas it is easy to find words that Tagalog loaned from Japanese, I could not find any word that Japanese loaned from Tagalog (a so-called Gairaigo, apparently) with the help of Google. For me this is something of an argument against this particular loan that you propose.

    Anyway, why should there be any lack of native Japanese words for creatures of the sea and thus the need to loan words?
     
  5. mataripis Senior Member

    Tagalog does not have "ikan" word but the ethnic dumaget has the word "ikan"meaning fish, same as in Japanese.The nihonggo did not loan this word from Tagalog but from older language that was used in austronesian region.The Tagalog has word "Pagkain"(food) which maybe related to "ikan" (fish or something to eat) and maybe the words "makakan"(something to eat in Bisaya and Bikol) and masakan (food in bahasa) were from this word(ikan). Japan had also ethnic language and probably, Nihonggo adopted this word ikan from this ethnic form of language.So the origin is not Tagalog or Nihonggo or Bahasa or Pacific islander languages but the ancient language extensively used in the Pacific region and east of Asia.
     
  6. rbrunner Junior Member

    Switzerland
    German - Switzerland
    Do you have something to support this statement? E.g., other words that went into Japanese (at any stage) from some Austronesian language?

    In this whole thread, so far I cannot see something else beyond a certain "similarity" argument for a single word, and as other posters already mentioned this is very thin support for a loan word borrowing.
     
  7. Triginta Septem Junior Member

    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    English - America
    I didn't really think about that.. I knew isda was fish, which appears to be related, but I didn't realise kain could be from the same root. Anyways, I don't know much about the history of those languages, but I don't see why Japanese, obviously quite early on, couldn't have borrowed the word. It would seem in the north it kept the -n and further down it dropped, though, and I know Japanese has a lot of accidental "cognates" (namae - name), so I guess it is quite unlikely. (Though I must mention, Japanese does have quite a number of Austronesian borrowings. When Japanese was forming, it was practically a creole between it's family (Altaic? (I'm not a big supporter of this idea, though...)) and Austronesian, then of course, it was greatly influenced by Chinese, making it so much harder to place it in a family accurately.)
     
  8. rbrunner Junior Member

    Switzerland
    German - Switzerland
    As I am interested in etymology, and interested in Tagalog, I would love to know more about these borrowings. Please tell me, where I can I read more about this subject?
     
  9. Triginta Septem Junior Member

    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    English - America
    Well, after looking into it more I found that a lot of the proposed cognates/borrowings are pretty much the same deal. Most connections obviously are rejected by mainstream linguists. But, if you want to see some of the examples (I actually can't find the original comparison), read under Creole Hypothesis and Austronesian Hypothesis on this page: www gojapango com/japanese_language/japanese_language_classification htm (replace spaces with dots..)

    Personally, I believe /some/ words in Japanese had to have come from Austronesian languages, it's just a matter of how few they would have been in the first place and how long they lasted (at least before changing drastically).
     
  10. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    ....as opposed to amateur cranks.
     
  11. Triginta Septem Junior Member

    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    English - America
    As opposed to the guys that don't have enough proof or support... (Not that I agree with them, but really, without them we have less of a chance of discovering the true origin of the language. They are by no means idiot amateurs, they are simply having trouble doing the impossible -- getting an accurate idea of where a very isolated and not well-documented (in its past) language comes from.)
     
  12. mataripis Senior Member

    (making it so much harder to place it in a family accurately) you are right, Austronesian has words from aramaic/ellinika/devanagari/latin etc. In case of Tagalog, It has many forms. I read in historical article, ancient people in old civilizations of south east Asia used an ancient form of language in tradings and bilateral talks among different chieftains from diff. islands/kingdoms.The language inside the community is different from the language for the incoming traders and visitors! I think with the use of root word alone in grammars, people with knowledge in many forms of language can help them comprehend or get the meaning/messages from speaking visitor belonging to the same group/family of language.The old chinese particularly the Hainan seems a variety of Tagalog but with simplier grammar construction. I met a hainese girl saying in " wait" in their language "Tay la" and i know it has counter part in Tagalog "hintay lang!".I also noticed that even the dravidian Turq and Tamil have many words(from this forum) very close/related to Tagalog.From one post i read that aramaic q-t-l means to kill has counter part in Tagalog "Kitil"(to kill/murder). In Turkwo, the word "ulik" means black that also exist in Tagalog as "Ulikba" (Tagalog for Negro) .I think Austronesian can be referred to as a form of language based on aramaic,dravidian,devanagari,hainan and kavi.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  13. rbrunner Junior Member

    Switzerland
    German - Switzerland
    In the meantime, I found the following: http://sealang.net/sala/archives/pdf8/kumar1996does.pdf

    Here, somebody searches for connections between Austronesian and Japanese, as far as I could judge in some quite sensible attempt. The author gives a list of around 50 candidates for cognates and/or loans between Old Javanese and Old Japanese.

    Hard to say what's the signifigance of such a candidate list. The Austronesian word *sikan that is the starting point of this thread isn't mentioned, it seems.
     
  14. Triginta Septem Junior Member

    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    English - America
    Thanks for sharing that! I'm still reading through, but it's very interesting so far. It's especially interesting that the Javanese word for fish is listed as "iwak". If at all related to *sikan, it's certainly a strange change, having wa come before the k... It's also neat to see the old forms of Japanese words. Many are really different, but I recognized some: Fi, modern bi and mi, the root of miru, to see. I also noticed that "na" is commonly used in Austronesian languages with the same meaning as in Japanese. (In Tagalog na is used for adjectives ending in consonants other than n and ng. That is, whenever -ng is not used as a connector. Interestingly, in both Tagalog and Japanese, na is removed if not connected to a noun. e.g. "mabait na tao" / "tao ay mabait" and "shinsetsu na hito" / "hito wa shinsetsu desu")
     
  15. akaneiro New Member

    Japanese
    etymology of ika is obscure and some researcher said it came from "厳しい(ikameshii)".
    I think it's resemblance
    to Austronesian is coincidence. I'm sure Japanese is influenced by Austronesian, however...
     
  16. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Thank you for the interesting link. I must say I am a bit bewildered by it. Why does she compare Japanese with Javanese, and not with reconstructed proto-Austronesian? She is not claiming (as far as I can see) that Japanese borrowed these words from Javanese. Anyway, a list of similar words in two languages does not actually prove anything unless you can postulate a set of regular phonetic correspondences. This is what is missing in Kumar’s paper.
     
  17. Triginta Septem Junior Member

    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    English - America
    It seems the author is trying to show that Japanese had simply borrowed a good amount from Javanese and, to a lesser degree, the languages of the Philippines, but that small of a relationship contradicts the fact that such integral things as case markers and postpositions are strikingly similar, as was shown there.

    There is enough information to start building basic rules, but like I said, the words are borrowed, not cognates, so such rules don't necessarily need to exist.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
  18. mataripis Senior Member

    I noticed that these words; 1.) Ika 2.) Ikan and 3.) Iwak refer to the act of opening (the mouth?). Ika in Tagalog could be a description of "to open" whether in walking or in speaking.The related word is "buka"/Bika (open wide)/(a lining ).The term "Iwak" is related to Tagalog "Iwa" or could be Hiwa'.(a line or joint part of the causing it to widen in case it is needed). The term kan in "Ikan" sounds Canine to me,(teeth) so it is possible that the mouth/opening is always involved when using this word.
     

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