Finnish and Japanese

Learn and discuss the Finnish language with Finn's and foreigners alike
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timtak
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Re: Finnish and Japanese

Post by timtak » Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:17 am

I just attempted to Google for some research on the universality of the phoneme for
"name" and ended up back at this forum! I also found my list of supposed similarities
between Finnish and Japanese that I actually mention in class, though taken from
the Internet!

But regarding the universality of sound -meaning pairs....this is called sound
symbolism apparently -- are some good papers on it.

Sound symbolism that can be both universal (across languages) and language
(across many words) specific.

This thesis introduces a lot of the research
http://www.ling.gu.se/~abelin/ny%20inlaga.pdf
on pages 32 to 34 there are some tables of proposed sound symbolism in English.
Do they apply to Finnish?

"Wr" means something distorted in many Germanic languages apparently.
(Wring, wrong, wrought, written? (squiggles?), wrangle)

The above also introduces supposedly universal sound symbolism such as
Kohler's (1930) on the meaning of "takete" and "maluma," two nonsense
words that sounds spiky and round respectively in many languages.

E.t. this blog is in Japanese but you can see two shapes. Almost everyone
everywhere (certainly in Japan were Maru means round!)
describe the spiky shape as takete and the round one as maluma.
http://blog.goo.ne.jp/urataqw/e/3456186 ... 5e49e169fa

J Ohala's paper on low and high pitch, smiles and male larynx's is quite fun too:
http://linguistics.berkeley.edu/~ohala/ ... bolism.pdf
the small "i" to big "a" is one of the most universally found sound symbolism,
due to the size of the larynx required to produce low and high pitched sounds.

It also occurs to me that if "takete" is universally spikey and "maluma" is
universally round then one would expect phonetic alphabets to refect this
in the shape of the letters for these sounds. It seems to me that that "t"
letters in Japanese (た ち て と) all have lines crossing like the letter
T t and look spike whereas the m letters in Japanese まみむめも all
have a round part in them.

So what about name? There is something about the sounds "na" that
may be universally sound symbolic.

It could be because I have been in Japan so long but I feel some sort of
emphatic-sens to the sound "na" which is used at the end of sentences
to emphasize them in Japanese. This kind of reminds me of the British
school-playground English expression "nah na nah nah na" to mean
something like, "suck on that (which has just occurred)" to tease others
by emphasizing someone else's loss, mistake, or otherwise force them
into the shared (unpleasant) present. So rather than any wandering
band of "namers" perhaps "na" has a sort of here and now, shared
present feeling too it, as "da" may often be related to locations (deictic)
apparently, as mentioned above.

I had a look for deictic in the above thesis to find this research
Traunmüller, H. (1996) 'Sound symbolism in deictic words', TMH-QPSR 2/1996. Stockholm
http://www.speech.kth.se/prod/publicati ... 47-150.pdf
which suggests that there may be "oral pointing gestures" and that
the first person may the use of the lips and teeth (the above thesis
uses the term "nasals"). I think think that an "nnn" grunt is sort of
here and now-y, look here, a verbal pointing to that which is immediate,
and this may have motivated the word name.

I liked the idea of the pan-global namers better, but....

I have also looked for papers on the commonality between Finnish and
Japanese but all I could find were blogs and stuff.

I found that vowel harmony is something that is only meant to have
occurred in ancient Japanese, though I presume it still occurs in
modern Finnish. I am not entirely sure what it is.

Tim



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kalmisto
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Re: Finnish and Japanese

Post by kalmisto » Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:46 pm

I found that vowel harmony is something that is only meant to have
occurred in ancient Japanese, though I presume it still occurs in
modern Finnish. I am not entirely sure what it is.
vowel harmony in Finnish :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vowel_harmony#Finnish


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jahasjahas
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Re: Finnish and Japanese

Post by jahasjahas » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:12 pm

timtak wrote:This thesis introduces a lot of the research
http://www.ling.gu.se/~abelin/ny%20inlaga.pdf
on pages 32 to 34 there are some tables of proposed sound symbolism in English.
Do they apply to Finnish?
I've only done an introductory course on linguistics, but a quick googling revealed an interesting article, Finnish and Gilyak sound symbolism – the interplay between system and history by Robert Austerlitz. Parts of it are available on Google Books.

According to the article, Finnish sound symbolism is mostly related to the vowels y and ö. English and Swedish sound symbolism seem to concentrate on word-initial consonant clusters. Finnish doesn't, which must have something to do with the fact that Finnish didn't orginally have word-initial consonant clusters at all. Many modern loan words have them, but traditionally the clusters were adapted into single consonants. Wikipedia: Finnish phonotactics - word-initial consonant sequences.


timtak
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Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 7:32 pm

Re: Finnish and Japanese

Post by timtak » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:38 am

Japanese doesn't have (almost any) consonant clusters anywhere.

I read the article on vowel harmony but I don't really get the feeling for it.
Olympian sounds as harmonious as olumpian.

In Japanese some vowels occasionally change to their ancient forms, such as
konoha (tree leaves) konomi (tree fruit, nuts) komoribi (dappled sunlight through trees)
instead of kinoha kinomi kimorebi. To me the change from kimorebi to komorebi
sounds harmonious, but my Japanese wife thinks otherwise.

Does "Nn" or "na" sounds like an emphatic, immediate, first-person pointing sound
to Fins? No need to reply to that one. If anyone knows of any research on Finnish-
Japanese language affinity please let me know since my lecture is rather embarrassing.

Tim


CH
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Location: Espoo

Re: Finnish and Japanese

Post by CH » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:04 am

The wikipedia article was really interesting, thanks for the link, Kalmisto. As a Swedish speaker I've never thought about why some words are "hard" for some Finnish speakers (the olympia -> olumpia), but that totally made sense.
timtak wrote:I read the article on vowel harmony but I don't really get the feeling for it.
Olympian sounds as harmonious as olumpian.
It's not about being "harmonious". Taken from the linked wikipedia article:
"In languages with vowel harmony, there are constraints on which vowels may be found near each other."
So, for the Finnish rules a "back" vowels needs the other vowels to be "back" vowels (hmm, I've never thought about where the wovels are said, either... interesting!). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vowel_backness#Backness

So, the "O" is a back vowel where as "Y" is a front vowel, and the "Y" is therefore substituted for the back woven "U". Note that not everybody does it, but some indeed do. I would not think any that pronounce it as "olumpia" would know why they did it, it would just feel "better".
timtak wrote:Does "Nn" or "na" sounds like an emphatic, immediate, first-person pointing sound
to Fins? No need to reply to that one.
Well... anything sounds like that if you have somebody pointing and making some sounds. But at least to me, not really (disclaimer: I'm a Swedish speaker, but with more-or-less native Finnish skills). The taunting "song" here would be "lälläl lälläl lieru" (now... study the universality of that taunting song melody... that would be interesting!). Most "pointing" words that I could think about were "tuo"/"to", "si" kind of words. "Tuossa" (right there), "tuonne" (to there), "toi" (that one), "siellä" (there, a bit further away), "sinne" (to there). And no, it doesn't sound like it in my Swedish speaking ears, either, sounds more like something about "no".
as "da" may often be related to locations (deictic)
And for instance for this one, the "D" sound is a "foreign" sound in Finnish, and often substituted to an R or a T. "Enpä taida" (I don't think I will) -> "enpä tairra". "Daniel" (the name Daniel) -> Taneli.


opinto
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Location: Sendai Japani maanjäristys ja tsoonami paiqqa

Re:

Post by opinto » Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:43 am

Hank W. wrote: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... ;)
Kumi 組 Qoomi on yhtymä soomo paininja :ochesey: たか組 何?カあの言葉わからないんでも言葉の組方は難しいフィンランド語の言は似ています。
haluan oppia puhumaan suomea peremmin Kirjoitaa se


opinto
Posts: 88
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:14 am
Location: Sendai Japani maanjäristys ja tsoonami paiqqa

Re: Finnish and Japanese

Post by opinto » Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:10 am

漢字kaveri :lol: foorumi行って下さい。olen Qanjiqaveri :thumbsup:
haluan oppia puhumaan suomea peremmin Kirjoitaa se


opinto
Posts: 88
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:14 am
Location: Sendai Japani maanjäristys ja tsoonami paiqqa

Re: Finnish and Japanese

Post by opinto » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:03 pm

Nihongo Yaranaqttemo. Opi Ainoo itaq ! Mooqashi no honto no nihon no genkotoba desooyooo.
haluan oppia puhumaan suomea peremmin Kirjoitaa se


timtak
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 7:32 pm

Re: Finnish and Japanese

Post by timtak » Fri May 06, 2016 12:34 pm

I am back here again because of my embarrassing lecture on the Japanese language. And I find that there is a pretty scholarly book on the similarities between Japanese and Uralai by Kazar Lajos, a Hungarian I believe.

Kazar, L. (1980). Japanese-Uralic language comparison: Locating Japanese origins with the help of Samoyed. Finnish, Hungarian, etc.: An attempt, Lajos Kazar-Tsurusaki Books, Hamburg.

Dr. Lajos's book has hardly been quoted by anyone! Three citations on google scholar.
https://scholar.google.co.jp/scholar?ci ... =0,5&hl=en

Which is currently unavailable
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Japanese-Urali ... entries*=0
But I got my hands on a copy.

It was very damningly reviewed by a Japan = Altaic scholar Miller. This is Prof Lajos's response to Miller
http://www.jstor.org/stable/489210?seq= ... b_contents
Prof Lajos claims to find about 600 lexical and 30 morphological parallels.

One he points to is "ma" (a central Japanese term for space) and the use of ma in Finnish place names, the similarity between Japanese for bath furo and Hungarian for bathe.

But looking through the good professors book, I can find little that is compelling enough to report here.

Tim


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