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naus888

Modern Japanese influence on Modern Korean grammar

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naus888

I just started checking out Korean and found it to be on the surface strikingly similar to Japanese grammar. So similar, I believe a machine translation could actually be completely on the mark. Yet I am suspicious of this similarity, Korea was a Japanese colony for 50 years at the very time when Korea was undergoing modernization (Japanese was also the official language of Korea during this time period). Modernization does wonders on the vocabulary and grammar of a language (as Japanese was first to find out in East Asia). Does anyone know how different Korean grammar was say during the 1800's compared to the grammar used today?

An analogy of the situation in China. Before 1850's, the major Chinese vernaculars had SIGNIFICANT differences in grammar. With the introduction of Mandarin and the Mandarin modernization movement since the late 19th century and widespread Mandarin education since the 1950's, all Chinese dialects (except perhaps Minnan) underwent dramatic changes and all moved to close the gap with Mandarin. By the 1970s, there were only a few minor differences in grammar between the Chinese dialects and this gap is still closing today. This leads one to think that Korea under Japanese rule during the first half of the 20th century would have experienced very strong Japanese influences on its language (especially since Japanese was the official language and students were banned from speaking Korean).

Anyone have more information? Thanks.

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woodcutter

I have never heard anything to back up your theory, but then again the Koreans would do their best to keep it quiet. From my very non-expert perspective, the grammar doesn't appear to have changed all that much over the last 150 years, and has always been very similar to Japanese. After all, ancient Japanese people probably came from Korea, for the most part.

So why, you ask, are these languages not considered part of the same language family. Beats me. Politics?

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yonglan

I would say from what I've read (though I'm no expert) it seems the opposite: Japanese came from Korean. I should say that while I am not aware of any specific information for the languages following that way, things in many other areas were that way (ie Japan followed Korea).

An analogy of the situation in China. Before 1850's, the major Chinese vernaculars had SIGNIFICANT differences in grammar. With the introduction of Mandarin and the Mandarin modernization movement since the late 19th century and widespread Mandarin education since the 1950's, all Chinese dialects (except perhaps Minnan) underwent dramatic changes and all moved to close the gap with Mandarin. By the 1970s, there were only a few minor differences in grammar between the Chinese dialects and this gap is still closing today.

That's interesting. So, Chinese dialects other than Minnan were also very different from Mandarin in the past? And I'm curious, could you tell me if Minnan on the mainland is as different form Mandarin as that spoken on Taiwan? I was really surprised to read an article earlier this year (which I can't seem to find in my bookmarks, though I know it must be there somewhere) that reported on some government exam being written in Taiwanese and those unfamiliar with the dialect, though native speakers of Mandarin, were said to be unable to comprehend the questions. I wonder if that was an exaggeration? Anyway, while I knew they used different vocabulary and usage I would have guessed that for a native speaker of another Chinese dialect that they could have figured it out. What do you native speakers say? Can you truly not understand written Minnan or would understanding it just be cumbersome for you? Of course, you probably never saw written Taiwanese?

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Quest
Anyway, while I knew they used different vocabulary and usage I would have guessed that for a native speaker of another Chinese dialect that they could have figured it out. What do you native speakers say? Can you truly not understand written Minnan or would understanding it just be cumbersome for you?

My answer is -- not always. There are slangs, idioms and local vocabulary that are different and not easily understandable.

With the introduction of Mandarin and the Mandarin modernization movement since the late 19th century and widespread Mandarin education since the 1950's, all Chinese dialects (except perhaps Minnan) underwent dramatic changes and all moved to close the gap with Mandarin.

I don't think that's true to Cantonese, at least not yet. It's probably true in the written form but not colloquially.

naus888, I think the time period you suggested was too short to have any significant impact on a language, given that the language remained live (being spoken) during the period.

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marcopolo79

According to linguistic analysis, Japanese and Korean might share a common ancestry, which is far more likely to account for any grammatical similarity than a relatively brief period of occupation.

The Normans invaded the British Isles in 1066, displaced the local aristocracy, and their language slowly premeated through to the lower classes to the extent that nearly half of Modern English words are of French origin. Yet the fundamental grammar structure of English is one that is far more closely related to Germanic than to Romance languages.

Korean has been absorbing Chinese influences for over two thousand years, to the point where half their vocabulary, even their numbers, is derived from Chinese, yet their grammar is not a simple SVO affair.

Vocabulary might be influenced, especially if many new terms and items are brough in from abroad, but something as substantial and elemental as grammar would require a far more thorough and lengthy penetration for it to be affected.

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