|Linguistic classification:||unclear, possibly Altaic (see Japanese language classification)|
|ISO 639-2 / 5:||jpx|
The Japonic languages
The Japonic language family includes the Japanese language spoken on the main islands of Japan as well as the Ryukyuan languages spoken in the Ryukyu Islands. The family is widely accepted by linguists, and the term "Japonic languages" was coined by Leon Serafim. The common ancestral language is known as Proto-Japonic. The essential feature of this classification is that the first split in the family resulted in the separation of all dialects of Japanese from all varieties of Ryukyuan. According to Shiro Hattori, this separation occurred during the Yamato period (250–710).
Scholarly discussions about the origin of Japonic languages present an unresolved set of related issues. The clearest connections seem to be with toponyms in southern Korea, which may be in Gaya (Kara) or other scarcely attested languages.
The Japonic (or Japanese–Ryukyuan) languages are:
- Japanese (日本語)
- Hachijō (conservative dialects[clarification needed] of the Hachijōjima and Daitō Islands, including Aogashima)
- Mainland Japanese
- Ryukyuan (琉球語)
Beckwith includes toponymic material from southern Korea as evidence of an additional ancient Japonic language there:
It is not clear if "pre-Kara" was related to the language of the later Gaya (Kara) confederacy.
The relationship of the Japonic (or Japanese–Ryukyuan) languages to other languages and language families is controversial. There are numerous hypotheses, none of which is generally accepted.
- Shimabukuro, Moriyo. (2007). The Accentual History of the Japanese and Ryukyuan Languages: a Reconstruction, p. 1.
- Miyake, Marc Hideo. (2008). Old Japanese: a Phonetic Reconstruction. p. 66. at Google Books
- Heinrich, Patrick. "What leaves a mark should no longer stain: Progressive erasure and reversing language shift activities in the Ryukyu Islands," First International Small Island Cultures Conference at Kagoshima University, Centre for the Pacific Islands, February 7–10, 2005; citing Shiro Hattori. (1954) Gengo nendaigaku sunawachi goi tokeigaku no hoho ni tsuite ("Concerning the Method of Glottochronology and Lexicostatistics"), Gengo kenkyu (Journal of the Linguistic Society of Japan), Vols. 26/27.
- Blench, Roger M. (2008). Archaeology and language, Vol. 2 , p. 201. at Google Books
- Christopher I. Beckwith, Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present (Princeton University Press, 2009: ISBN 978-0-691-13589-2), p. 105.
- Christopher Beckwith, 2007, Koguryo, the Language of Japan's Continental Relatives, pp 27–28
- Miyake, Marc Hideo. (2008). Old Japanese: a Phonetic Reconstruction. London: RoutldegeCurzon. 10-ISBN 0415305756/13-ISBN 9780415305754; OCLC 51163755
- Shimabukuro, Moriyo. (2007). The Accentual History of the Japanese and Ryukyuan Languages: a Reconstruction. London: Global Oriental. 10-ISBN 190190363X/13-ISBN 9781901903638; OCLC 149189163
- Ethnologue report for the Japanese language family
- The LINGUIST List MultiTree Project: Japonic Family Trees