Origins of Japanese

In his April 25th article in Science, titled Farmers and their Languages, Jared Diamond hypothesizes that “language follows agriculture”. As other scholars have already proposed, he muses that Japanese may have been derived from a language brought to Kyushu by Koreans (the “Yayoi” immigrants) who introduced their rice farming technology there, around 400 BC. Under this theory, Japanese was based on one particular Korean language known as Koguryo (whereas modern Korean is said to be based on the language of Shilla). Other researchers, though, view Japanese as more of a mixture, or even pidgin, of the language brought by the Yayoi invaders and the indigenous Jomon tribes.

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