Alexander V. "Sasha" Vovin (born 1961 in Saint Petersburg, Russia) is a Russian-American linguist and philologist in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, EALL at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, where he is a Professor of Japanese language. In 2009-2010 he was the interim chair of the department.
Alexander Vovin earned his M.A. in structural and applied linguistics from the Saint Petersburg State University in 1983, and his Ph.D. in historical Japanese linguistics and premodern Japanese literature from the same university in 1987, with a doctoral dissertation on the Hamamatsu Chūnagon Monogatari (ca. 1056). After serving as a Junior Researcher at the St. Petersburg Institute of Oriental Studies (1987–1990), Assistant Professor of Japanese at the University of Michigan (1990–1994), Miami University (1994–1995), and Assistant and Associate Professor at the University of Hawai’i (1995–2003), he became the full professor at the same university. He has also been a visiting professor at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto (2001–2002, 2008), a visiting professor at the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany (2008–2009), and a visiting professor at the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics (NINJAL) in Tokyo, Japan in May-August 2012.
Alexander Vovin is an authority on Japanese historical linguistics (with emphasis on etymology, morphology, and phonology), and Japanese philology of the Nara period (710–792), and to a lesser extent of the Heian period (792–1192). His most current and ambitious project involves the complete academic translation into English of the Man'yōshū (ca. 759), the earliest and the largest premodern Japanese poetic anthology, alongside with the critical edition of the original text and commentaries. He is also a leading Western specialist on the moribund Ainu language in northern Japan, and he is also well known for his seminal work on Inner Asian languages, especially those only preserved in Chinese transcription, as well as on Old and Middle Korean texts.
- Vovin, Alexander (1993). A Reconstruction of Proto-Ainu. Leiden: E. J. Brill. ISBN 90-04-09905-0.
- Vovin, Alexander (2000). "Did the Xiongnu speak a Yeniseian language?". Central Asiatic Journal 44 (1). ISBN 978-3-447-09164-0. ISSN 0008-9192.
- Vovin, Alexander (ed.); Osada Toshiki (長田俊樹) (ed.) (2003). 日本語系統論の現在 (Perspectives on the Origins of the Japanese Language). Nichibunken sōsho, 31. Kyoto: International Research Center for Japanese Studies. ISBN 978-4-901558-17-4. ISSN 1346-6585.
- Vovin, Alexander (2003). A Reference Grammar of Classical Japanese Prose. London: RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 0-7007-1716-1.
- Vovin, Alexander (2005). A Descriptive and Comparative Grammar of Western Old Japanese: Part 1: Sources, Script and Phonology, Lexicon and Nominals. Folkestone, Kent: Global Oriental. ISBN 1-901903-14-1.
- Vovin, Alexander (2006). The Manchu-Tungusic Languages. Richmond: RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 978-0-7007-1284-7.
- Vovin, Alexander (2008). Korea-Japonica: A Re-evaluation of a Common Genetic Origin. Hawaii studies on Korea. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-3278-0.
- Vovin, Alexander (2009). A Descriptive and Comparative Grammar of Western Old Japanese: Part 2: Adjectives, Verbs, Adverbs, Conjunctions, Particles, Postpositions. Folkestone, Kent: Global Oriental. ISBN 978-1-905246-82-3.
- Vovin, Alexander (2009). Man'yoshu Volume 15: A New English Translation Containing the Original Text, Kana Transliteration, Romanization, Glossing and Commentary. Folkestone, Kent: Global Oriental. ISBN 978-1-906876-03-6.
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