Earlier in the year I wrote an article about Japanese and how it is not in the same language family as Chinese, but it may surprise you to know what language family Japanese is really in.
It has been suggested that Japanese is a kind of Creole, with an Altaic grammatical substructure, and core Austronesian vocabulary. Evidence for this theory lies in the fact that like Turkish and Korean, Japanese is an agglutinative language.
Additionally, there are a suggestive number of apparently regular correspondences in basic vocabulary, such as Japanese “ishi” (stone) to Turkic “das”, Japanese “yo” (four) to Turkic “dört“… they may not look much alike to you but, they display regular correspondences to each other as as does the English “four” to Old English “feower”, Old German “*fetuor”, Latin “quattuor” Lithuanian “keturi”, Old Irish “cethir”, Welsh “pedwar” and Sanskrit “catvarah” which categorically put these languages in the same Indo-European Language Family. Lets have a look at some evidence which I hope is more compelling for putting Japanese in the same Altaic lanuage family as Turkish…
Lets consider just one pair of the supposedly related words. Japanese “hashimasu” and Turkish “kosmak” both meaning “to run”. (prononced “hashimas” “koshmak” respectively).
How can these two words be related to each other? How can the “k” of Turkish relate to both the “h” and “s” of Japanese?
Well if we look at three primitive language family trees for the Indo European words which give us modern English words, “heart”, “core”, “horn” and “hound”, even if we don’t enumerate the reasons for or the processes involved in such a phonetic shift, we may be able to accept the possibility of such a change.
If we pay close attention to the Germanic words, we notice that at some point in history, the Indo-European velar plosive “k” weakened into a Proto-Germanic velar fricative “kh” then further into the modern English glottal fricative “h”.
Similarly, looking at the Sanskrit and Slavic words, although the process is not as clearly defined, the Indo-European velar plosive “k” would probably have gone through a similar phase as a velar fricative before moving to the front of the mouth as the alveolar fricative “s”.
However (assuming that “k” was the original sound), how can the same letter in the mother language (“k”) change to two different letters, and do that in the same daughter language (e.g. “s” and “h”)?
Well phonemes (sounds) undergo changes at different stages of a languages development. One particular change might occur at one point in its history (k à s) then another at another stage of its development (k to h… or perhaps s to h )…
To illustrate the complexity of phonemic shifts (sound changes), in Old English the word “scyrte” meant a short garment and was pronounced somewhat like //skeerta//. A nationwide phonetic change then occurred perhaps through imitation and transmission that caused the word to be pronounced //sheerta//. Perhaps it was the latest fashion among Anglo-Saxon youths or maybe it was the newest in-thing to pronounce the word like this. In fact all existing words in Old English beginning with “sk” were softened to “sh”. At that time there was not one word in English with the consonant cluster “sk”… That is, until the Vikings and Danes began to invade. As they integrated into Anglo-Saxon culture, they introduced a plethora of Old Norse words into Old English vocabulary including “sky”, “skin”, “skip”, “skull”, “skill” “scatter”… and …“skyrta”, which did not replace, but peacefully coexisted with the Anglo-Saxon words “heaven”, “hide”, “ship”, “shell”, “craft”, “shatter” and “scyrte” respectively… The word “scyrte” evolved into “shirt” and the word “skyrta” into “skirt”, two different words, and two different short garments, but one common origin.
So here we see, that the same phoneme cluster “sk” in Old English became two different phoneme clusters in the same language (sk to sk) and (sk to sh)…
So coming back to the point, (across a slight diversion) perhaps this is the sort of thing that happened to the Proto-Altaic sound “k” which perhaps remained the same in Turkish but changed at two or more different points in Japanese.
Frankly, we don’t know enough about the early developments, invasions and borrowings of early Japanese to be able to formulate a solid theory about the suggested phneme changes (k to s) and (k to h), but this is enough to speculate that both the “s” and “h” of “hashimasu” could have come from Proto-Altaic “k” under different conditions and at different points in history.
Hmmmmm… hashimasu… kosmak… hashimas… koshmak… hashmak… koshmas… khashmask…… am I stretching it a bit here???
If anyone had some thoughts regarding this theory or relating to any of the other words in the list, feel free to reply.
– Article by steevmak, of the “Association for the Common Origin of the World’s Language Super-Families” (ACOWLSF), which is in no way affiliated with the “Genesis Foundation for the Vindication of the Post-Deluvian, Tower of Babel Story” (GFVPDTBS).