Finnish and Japanese

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smoo
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Finnish and Japanese

Post by smoo » Tue Feb 28, 2006 12:39 am

Ok, so Finnish is in the finno-ugric branch of the uralic family, and some linguists think that the uralic family and the altaic family are actually just branches of one big family. Japanese is sometimes placed in the altaic family. I keep meeting Finns who say that there is something finnish-sounding about japanese, or that they have met japanese people who say that there is something japanese-sounding about finnish. Is this just bollocks, or is there some truth to it? And if so, is it just coincidence or is there really any evidence of similarities between japanese and finnish that are due to shared origins? And while we're at it - is there any evidence that the migration of the finno-ugric peoples from the east has left any genetic markers in the population, i.e. are the finns genetically distinguishable from other scandanavians / northern europeans?

No pseudo-scientific nonsense involving atlantis, samurai aliens from alpha cenauri, or the writings of a certain raft-building norwegian please... :D



Finnish and Japanese

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Hank W.
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Post by Hank W. » Tue Feb 28, 2006 1:32 am

Well, of course theres "sound similarities".
Go ask any schoolkid in the yard whats a F1-driver in Japanese...
"katosiko takakumi"

"Kato" is a common Japanese family name, "siko/shiko" is
a kind of exercise that sumo wrestlers have to do every
day, "taka" means "hawk", and "kumi" is a girl name.

I Finnish its "your rear wheel dissapeared?"
katosiko = did dissapear?
taka= rear
kumi= rubber

:lol:

Of course these have nothing to do with Japanese, but it "sounds" the same. It's not particularly hard to construct "Japanese-looking" Finnish if you just methodically pick suitable words. The fact that the Finnish language has a quite relaxed attitude towards constructing new compound words helps in this, too, as you can mix and match "Japanese-looking" short words into new, unlikely compounds, often adding to the comical effect. The schoolkids could probably tell you a hundred.

There is some words in Finnish and Japanese that are 1:1 as you can see, but they mean nothing even close. Only that when Esko Aho went to Japan as you know 'aho' means an idiot in Japanese, so that was not *that* far off...

Though I am more convinced of the Mongolian connection; after all, who is the best worker in China?
- Hui Lai Lee... ;)
Cheers, Hank W.
sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.


sammy
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Re: Finnish and Japanese

Post by sammy » Tue Feb 28, 2006 8:57 am

smoo wrote:No pseudo-scientific nonsense involving atlantis, samurai aliens from alpha cenauri, or the writings of a certain raft-building norwegian please... :D
Wot, you mean my ancestors did not come from the Easter Islands? :shock: I mean just look at these stone guys:

Image

Image

The same facial expression ("boundless mirth"). Two statues side by side. Can this be just a coincidence? Also see the grid-like markings on the right-hand Moai's breast - and compare them with the lantern carried by its Finnish equivalents, nay, cousins! Furthermore, Aku Aku sounds just like Finnish - Aku is a Finnish male name, in fact. I rest my case!

Naaah. As far as I know, Japanese and Finnish come from completely different branches of the language family tree. They have about as much in common as English and the language of the great apes. (Oongowa, Tantor bundolo! Kreegah!)

While it is true that Japanese has many common sounds with Finnish ie. it might be easy for me to pronounce Japanese... at least on the surface level, the way the Japanese language is constructed - the most prominent features being the syllabic word construction and the three different alphabets (hiragana, katagana and kanji) make it very hard to believe that there's be anything in common between our languages. Unless it we count from Cro-magnon times or something :wink:

(But then again who knows. Hungarian is supposed to be close to Finnish and I can't understand it at all! Apart from a few common words that is.)

Hayoshiko toyo tashi?


smoo
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Post by smoo » Tue Feb 28, 2006 10:31 am

:D :D :D

You've got to hand it to old Thor, though, the "Kon Tiki" at least was a great read.


sammy
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Post by sammy » Tue Feb 28, 2006 12:28 pm

smoo wrote::D :D :D

You've got to hand it to old Thor, though, the "Kon Tiki" at least was a great read.
Agreed! I've also read his account of the Ra journeys (imagine someone trying to cross the Atlantic on what is essentially a bunch of reeds - takes some mad Norwegians to do it - whoever said that codliver oil is good for you? :wink: well to be honest I think his crew was fairly "international") and most of his Easter Island escapades... that was a loooong time ago so I was maybe not so much tuned to assessing whether his theories had any truth in them, I mostly read them for the riveting sense of adventure.


kalmisto
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Post by kalmisto » Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:18 pm

There must be some kind of connection between Finnish and Japanese.

Just look at this ! : http://web.l.u-tokyo.ac.jp/~kmatsum/

:wink:
Last edited by kalmisto on Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.


smoo
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Post by smoo » Tue Feb 28, 2006 6:49 pm

Hmm, good to know that if I live to be 750 there will always be something to do, for example learn Vespian, Votian and Livonian and study their impact on Japanese culture... :lol:


mikebrads
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Post by mikebrads » Wed Mar 01, 2006 5:47 pm

well i remember reading an article on kuro5hin about learing Japanese, and the grammer\structure looked siimilar to finnish (or at least the Level 1 stuff :lol: )

here it is http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2004/3/25/32218/1824, but it is more nerdy than i remember :oops:
ignore spelling and punctuation, i did
was born hereImagemy mum isImagegrew up hereImage


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Hank W.
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Post by Hank W. » Wed Mar 01, 2006 5:57 pm

Well, I find some stuff similar.

I mean a Finn can say:
Minun on nälkä = Mine is the hunger

Where as in English you don't really say but "I am hungry" which also you can say in Finnish "minä olen nälkäinen" or minulla on nälkä= I have the hunger.

While pondering on that, stop burning! :lol:
Cheers, Hank W.
sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.


sammy
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Post by sammy » Thu Mar 02, 2006 1:30 pm

Hank W. wrote:Well, I find some stuff similar.
I'd say most of the similarities are there rather by coincidence :wink: After all, human languages are not that different from each other when you think about them in very general terms. I've only taken a very short introductory course in Japanese, and if I remember correctly there are no plural forms (like "shoes" is exactly the same word as "shoe", for example). Maybe I'm not remembering correctly though :) And were there also "women's words" in Japanese... that men would never ever use? Hmm.

But... the above reminds me of a joke we once toyed with when at the university... one of my friends came up with an idea of writing about a newly found language (completely fictional, of course) that would be spoken by a secluded indian tribe deep in the heart of the Amazon rain forest... the language had some particularly exciting features that caused a sensation among linguists, e.g.

- there are no verbs at all (because the tribe's way of living is so easy-going and lazy that they never actually do anything)
- partly for the same reason, there are at least 50 different words that signify "hammock"
- plus, the pronunciation of the language presents challenges to its learners as it has one quite particular sound previously unknown to phonetics - the fartyngal

... and so on.


smoo
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Post by smoo » Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:54 pm

- there are no verbs at all (because the tribe's way of living is so easy-going and lazy that they never actually do anything)
Reminds me of a Jorges Luis Borges story about a similarly fictional place in which there were two language systems. One was based entirely on verbs, the other entirely on adjectives. Neither had any nouns! So "the moon" would either be something happening, or else an an un targeted collection of attributes, e.g. silver and round. Philosophers in this world came up with the theoretical concept of the noun, however, and some heretics even suggested that physical objects actually existed!


sammy
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Post by sammy » Thu Mar 02, 2006 4:01 pm

smoo wrote:Reminds me of a Jorges Luis Borges story about a similarly fictional place in which there were two language systems. One was based entirely on verbs, the other entirely on adjectives. Neither had any nouns! So "the moon" would either be something happening, or else an an un targeted collection of attributes, e.g. silver and round. Philosophers in this world came up with the theoretical concept of the noun, however, and some heretics even suggested that physical objects actually existed!
Got to check that out - could you remember the name of the story by any chance...?

Language and it's relation to us/the world is indeed an interesting issue. It is somehow strange to think that, to exist as a human being (and not merely an physical organism), is fairly largely tied to language. But how on the other hand do concepts like"no-mind" in Zen fit into this? And would it be possible to think about these things without language of some sorts? :wink:


smoo
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Post by smoo » Thu Mar 02, 2006 8:18 pm

Got to check that out - could you remember the name of the story by any chance...?
It's a short story called "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" (Borges was never one for short, snappy titles!). It used to be published in the UK in a Penguin collection called "Labyrinths".
Language and it's relation to us/the world is indeed an interesting issue. It is somehow strange to think that, to exist as a human being (and not merely an physical organism), is fairly largely tied to language. But how on the other hand do concepts like"no-mind" in Zen fit into this? And would it be possible to think about these things without language of some sorts?
I could talk for hours about this sort of stuff, but I have to rush! :D


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Post by enk » Fri Mar 03, 2006 12:25 am

sammy wrote:'ve only taken a very short introductory course in Japanese, and if I remember correctly there are no plural forms (like "shoes" is exactly the same word as "shoe", for example). Maybe I'm not remembering correctly though :) And were there also "women's words" in Japanese... that men would never ever use? Hmm.
Yes and yes. But the Mari language does not use plurals (even though it has them) and the Chukchi language has completely different pronounciations for the same letters, depending on if you're male or
female.

I'm rather disappointed that I've never received an answer to how
transgendered people speak in these societies though :p

-enk


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matildemichi
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Re: Finnish and Japanese

Post by matildemichi » Fri Mar 03, 2006 5:48 pm

[quote="smoo"]Ok, so Finnish is in the finno-ugric branch of the uralic family, and some linguists think that the uralic family and the altaic family are actually just branches of one big family. Japanese is sometimes placed in the altaic family. "ö

I definitely agree. im trying to find some scientific proofs of what you said, but since im just a student i cannot do it. : / ive been studying japanese for 4 yrs and im studying finnish language now. im from italy. of course japanese is an altaic language and finn is an uralian one, and together they are part of the same big family called "uralic-altaic language", which have same grammar connections with turk hungarian mongol and so on... i noticed that in finnish there is a particular form to ask for questions which needs the word "kö/ko" attached to the word you want to be remarked by the question. in japanese you use a similiar little word, "ka" attached at the end of the sentence to ask for questions too. and not just this. i hope oneday i will be able to find some scientific proof of this :wink:
and i do also think that genetic features are also common, as you can notice from oriental eyes you can find in finnish faces sometimes, and also in estonian and hungarian ones.


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