03 March 2010

Japanese writing

Is there such a thing as a language that developed in such isolation that it may be considered a "pure" language and, therefore, its literature may not be describable in terms of multilingual literary criticism? The most obvious example of an isolated language is Japanese, which has, in fact, been called a "language isolate," even if it doesn't appear in Ethnologue's list of such languages. As W. David Marx points out, however, "the most accepted theory of recent years points towards a connection to Korean and the inclusion of both languages in the Altaic family of languages: Turkic, Mongolian, and Tungusic (Manchu)." It will be extremely difficult in practice, but in theory, multilingual criticism can still uncover various cultural substrata even in the relatively "pure" context of Japanese writing.


  1. This item on Japanese language reminds me of an incident a week ago. A German neighbor told me about a medicinal patch that helps relieve arthritic pain, sold as a Japanese product. She showed me a package and the name leaped at me--Salumpas.
    I mentioned this to my wife and she, who cooks and watches food programs on TV, said that the Japanese also had claimed kim chee as Japanese until the Koreans protested.

  2. This comment is interesting, Sir Paulino. Some ESL students, especially Japanese and Koreans have opposite views most of the time; I noticed that. But at present, both cultures are trying to learn seriously about texts like reading English novels (Sheldon's), and the Bible's 10 Commandments.

    I don't know what critics would say/rate about this...thanks