03 March 2010
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.