Influence of Chinese on Japanese grammar

Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by Jeraru, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. Jeraru Member

    España, español y catalán

    Aside of the large amount of Sino-Japanese words and its pronounciation, does anyone know if the historical importance of Classical Chinese in Japan influenced in some way the grammar of Japanese language?
  2. Shatin Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    As a native Chinese speaker, I'd say the influence is minimal. The grammar of the two languages is really very different.
  3. frequency

    frequency Senior Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    Jeraru, if I succeed in proving your question, a university prepares one seat for me;)

    I can't say yes or no..No wonder you think so, because the Japanese language has a lot of kanji borrowed from Chinese kanji (hanji). I can imagine that there are Japanese researchers who have ever held such a theory as well. But we don't have enough old records or materials of Yamato kotoba, the old Japanese. That makes us hard to research.
  4. Tonky Senior Member

    In general, it is said that Chinese has given a great influence on Japanese vocabulary and expressions, but not the basic grammar. Ancient Japanese created a method of reading Chinese without translation, called "kundoku(訓読/漢文訓読) which allowed us to make Chinese readable in Japanese by using kana and symbols. We still use this method to read Chinese Classics in our Japanese classes and it is like a puzzle. (How I hated doing that as a student!)

    Yamada, Yoshio (山田孝雄), an outstanding Japanese linguist, had been researching the influence of this "kundoku" method and "kango" (words of Chinese origin) on Japanese, for decades or maybe all his life. He published many books on Japanese grammar and history, many of which are still considered to be "gems" in Japanese language research world, and a few of them *might* describe what he found.

    Sadly, I myself have only read his works partly in my student days and do not know what his conclusions were for that topic. (His works are written in old Japanese and it is pain to read them.) As far as I know, his works regarding Chinese influence seemed to have an emphasis on gohou/語法(expressions and wording) in written Japanese rather than the pure grammar.

    Like frequency said above, there may be researchers who are studying it now.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2013
  5. Jeraru Member

    España, español y catalán
    Thank you so much, these are very useful responses.

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