Re: How old is language?
Sun, 01 Aug 1999 17:06:13 +0000

At 05:27 PM 08/01/1999 -0400, Dick Fischer wrote:
>Glenn, you wrote:
>>If language, a very human activity has been around for even 80,000 years,
>>then Christian apologetics needs a major revision.
>Not to be contrary, but the Japanese islands were settled not more than
>years ago (not including the Ainu), and the Japanese language is totally
>to any of the Chinese dialects, even though the Japanese people are obviously
>related to the Chinese. So I would guess that among these peoples, language
>goes back no further than about 10,000 years. And written language goes
>the Sumerians who can be traced no further than about 6,000 years ago. So
>"80,000 years" sounds way out of the ball park.

I don't really understand what you are being contrary about. So what if
the Japanese islands were settled recently. It doesn't mean that language
hasn't been around longer ago than 10,000 years. And from the other side,
your assumptions are wrong. The Japanese people and language are most
closely related to the Koreans or Siberian Tungus, not the Chinese. See

"And Japanese culture and language suggest an origin among
the Tungus, who are widespread tribes of eastern Siberia.
In any case, the Japanese are late-arriving classic
Mongoloids." ~ William Howells, Getting Here, (Washington:
Compass Press, 1993) p. 203

And Merritt Ruhlen places the Japanese language in the Eurasiatic
Family--Turkic branch. Thus the language is NOT totally unrelated to all
other languages. see Merritt Ruhlen, The Origin of Language, (New York: John
Wiley and Sons, 1994), p.115-119

Here are some word comparisons in which the Japanese word is clearly
similar to that of other languages showing that it is NOT unrelated:

The word for finger/digit/hand is commonly the sound of tik or a slight
permutation of it throughout the world's language families. In English the
word digit comes from the tik root.

Family or Language Forms Meaning

Nilo-Saharan tok-tek-dik one
Caucasian(south) titi, tito finger,single
Uralic ik-odik-itik one
Indo-european dik-deik to indicate/point
Japanese te hand
Eskimo tik index finger
Sino-Tibetan tik one
Austroasiatic ti hand, arm
Indo-Pacific tong-tang-ten finger, hand arm
Na-Dene tek-tiki-tak one
Amerind tik finger
Luigi L. Cavalli-Sforza and Francesco Cavalli-Sforza, The Great Human
Diaspora, (New York: Addison-Wesley, 1995), p. 183-185

There is a word for water, aqua, in which the aq- sound commonly is
involved. Japanese also has this sound involved for a word for water. Here
is the word comparison:

Indo European
Latin ak(w)a water
Hittite eku water
Luwian aku water
Palaic ahu drink
Italian akkwa drink
Provencal aiga water
Catalan aigwa water
Spanish agwa water
Portuguese aqwa water
Rumanian ape water
Sardinian abba water
Germanic ahwa river earliest Germanic manuscripts-root
lost in modern German
Tocharian yok drink

Eurasiatic Family
Ainu Wakka water
Ainu ku drink
Japanese aka bilge water

Dene-Caucasian Family (Basque-American Indian)

Chechen aq suckle
Burushaski hagum wet
Newari kwo river
Khaling ku water
Kachin k(h)u water

This is just 2 of the many comparisons which show that Japanese IS related
to other languages.

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