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Hakka, Tang Dynasty and Japanese.
: Back in Junior College, A friend of mine was studying Japanese and I
: remembered I asked him to count numerically (one, two, three) in
: At that time, I remembered I made this comment that it was very similar
: one of our dialects. Not exactly similar to any of our dialects but it is
I am not a linguist, but from what I gather through reading and learning
the Japanese language in a piecemeal fashion, I have found the following:
The -t ending in Hakka seems to be reflected by the Japanese -chi or -tsu
C=character, M=Mandarin, H=Hakka, J=Japanese, E=English meaning:
C. ¤@ M. yi H. yit J. ichi E. one;
C. ¦ò M. fu H. fut J. butsu E. Buddha
The ending ~k is sometimes reflected by the ~ki or ~ku ending in Japanese.
C. ¨| H. yuk J. iku E. educate;
C. ¾ä H. lak J. reki E. calendar
Most of the Hakka nasal ng~ initials seem to be written with the nasal g~
initial similar in sound to ng~.
C. ¤ë M. yue H. nget J. getsu E. moon
C. ¸q M. yi H. ngi J. gi E. righteousness
The majority of the words have Kan-On pronunciations, whilst Go-On, and
Tou-On are later additions. They kept the various borrowings because they
had different uses. The Kan-On borrowings are mostly because of the
importation of the Confucian ideas. Go-On has been preserved via the advent
of Buddhism, whilst the later introduction of Zen meant a new borrowing
classed as Tou-On. However, the names, Kan for the Han Dynasty, Go for the
Wu Dynasty and Tou for the Tang Dynasty is merely a convenience, since
there has been continual social-economic and intellectual traffic between
China and Japan. As in my previous message, we notice that the present day
Southern Chinese dialects of Cantonese, Hakka and Min, hold clues to the
language of the Wu state 1500 years ago.
: much closer to Hakka than any others. I remember it was not close to
: Mandarin too.
Mandarin has changed so much that it has lost four types of endings that
are still present in the Southern Chinese Dialects. These are -m, (which
has mutated to -n), and the stops -p, -t, and -k.
: However, two years back, I got hold of a software that teach Japanese. I
: could not see any similarity between its grammar and any of our dialect.
The Japanese language is not a Sino-Tibetan language, and its exact
ancestry is still being debated. The nearest seems to be Korean which has
similar grammatical points in common. However, the Korean language is not
like Japanese in any other way.
It is odd to think that non-Chinese langauges such as Annamese (Vietnamese)
Japanese and Korean have used in one form or another the Chinese characters
as a mode of writing their own languages. Also, it is odd that some chinese
dialects themselve do not use Chinese, but have an alphabet derived from
other languages such as Sanskrit.
: This is something that is rather intriguing (Japanese language actually
: tenses). Except Kanji writing, Japanese seemed to have adopted only a
: minute part of our language.
There are only two basic tenses in Japanese, the present tense, and the
non-present tense. Tense means the temporal situation of a verb. All the
supposed tenses are really 'moods'. So, it is problematic because the
sentence is left to the context to fix its temporal situation.
: There is this saying that Japanese culture has been influenced by the
: Dynasty. Well, I don't know if we need to consult a linguist, If we look
: at how Japanese count, there might just be a relation between Hakka, Tang
: Dynasty, and Japanese language.
As for Tang influence, I have read that the Japanese old capital was
modelled on the gridlike nature of the Tang Empire's own capital city.
Nowadays, the architecture of Tang China is still preserved in Japan,
whereas they have since been replaced in China itself. Though this last
point may be open to criticism from others.
With the linguistic links through the Wu state at, Hakka language and
people may indeed have influenced the Japanese in more ways than we have
originally thought. We should look on that as a source of pride.