|Korea, Japan, Southern Manchuria|
The Buyeo languages, or Fuyu languages (Korean: 부여; Chinese: 扶餘, Fúyú), are a hypothetical language family that consists of ancient languages of the northern Korean Peninsula, southern Manchuria and possibly Japan. According to ancient Chinese records, the languages of Buyeo, Goguryeo, Dongye, Okjeo, Baekje—and possibly Gojoseon—were similar but very different to Tungusic languages. The Ye-Maek language may have been ancestral.
Classification of the Buyeo languages
The ancient Koreanic languages is divided into two branches: the Buyeo languages and the Han languages. According to ancient Chinese records, the Buyeo languages appear to have been different from ancient Tungusic languages like Mohe.
A number of linguists such as Kim Banghan, Vovin and Unger classify Goguryeo as Old Korean. They note that the toponyms which resemble Japanese are mostly found in the central part of the Korean peninsula, and theorize that they do not reflect the Goguryeo language but rather the pre-Goguryeo population of the central and southern parts of the Korean peninsula. Since a number of Japanese-like toponyms found in the historical homeland of Silla were also distributed in the southern part of the Korean peninsula, these linguists propose that there was once a Japonic language spoken on the Korean peninsula, perhaps Gaya, which forms a substratum of the Silla language; Unger suggests that the ancestors of the Yayoi people would have settled in Japan from the central or southern part of Korea. None of the Japanese cognates have been found in the historical homeland of Buyeo and Goguryeo in the northern part of the Korean peninsula or south-western Manchuria. Koreanic toponyms, on the other hand, are distributed across the entire territory of the Three Kingdoms, from Manchuria to the southern Korean peninsula.
Additionally, Shoku Nihongi implies that the Balhae language (a Goguryeo language) and Silla language share a close relationship[clarification needed]: a student sent from Silla to Japan for an interpreter training in Japanese language assisted a diplomatic envoy from Balhae in communicating during the Japanese court audience.
Exclusive Japanese–Koguryoic hypothesis
The Korean state of Baekje (18 BCE — 660 CE) was founded by Goguryeo (37 BCE – 668 CE) princes, and considered itself descended from Buyeo (2nd century BC — 494 AD). Baekje subsequently had close relations with Yamato period Japan; Christopher Beckwith suggests that at that point the Japanese may have still recognized a relationship to Buyeo. Beckwith reconstructs about 140 Goguryeo words, mostly from ancient place names, including Gaya. Many include grammatical morphemes which appear to be cognate with morphemes of similar function in Japanese, such as genitive -no and attributive -si. In a review of Beckwith's book for Korean Studies, Thomas Pellard criticized Beckwith's work for serious methodological flaws, such as rejecting mainstream reconstruction of Chinese and Japanese and using his own instead. Pellard also pointed out the difference between Beckwith's hypothesis and the older, more widely held, view that both Japanese and the Koreanic languages are part of a larger Altaic family, or that Koguryoic is related to modern Korean and the Koreanic languages are related to Japanese.
- Buyeo languages
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