Finnish and Japanese

Learn and discuss the Finnish language with Finn's and foreigners alike
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enk
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Post by enk » Mon Mar 12, 2007 4:43 pm

sudentassu99 wrote:Ach, don't waste your breath enk. Most of Matulas' posts are either factually wrong or highly misleading and I can't recall a single time when the author returned to defend them when challenged.


I waste my breath a lot :) About to go waste it some more
now that the kids are coming home :lol: But hey, at least
they grow up eventually ;)

-enk



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timtak
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Post by timtak » Sun Oct 28, 2007 8:36 pm

Interesting.

Summarising and adding a couple from online descriptions of Finnish and my knowledge of Japanese

The negative commonalities
absense of grammatically expressed future tense
lack of gramatically expressed gender
no verb conjunctions depending on the subject of the sentence
lack of consonant clusters (in Finnish at the beginning of words at least)
absence of articles (a and the in English),

The more positive commonalities
use of postpositioned question marker ko / ka
suffixing morphology (endings attached to the end of the word)
long words due to the agglutinative structure of the language
mens and womens language
existance of a grammatical polite form
phonetic language where every letter always pronounced
use of long vowels and consonants
similar vowels I think.
personal possession expressed with suffixes containing "n"
Possible existane of vowel harmony as found in Altaic languages in old Japanese
A few (possibly random) cognates yksi/ichi and ei/iie
Word order is flexible but changes emphasis
Ownership is represented by the use of a word which means "be" or exist
I never noticed this before reading that Finnish does not have a word for have. In Japanese too I think it would be fair to say that the Japanese expression for "having" a dog is
"Watashi wa inu ga iru" = "With regards to me there is a dog" or "Speaking of me, a dog is/exists".

While a lot of Japanese take exception to suggestions that there are similarites between Finns and Japanese character....
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.h ... A9629C8B63

Hmm....I have never met any Fins but I get a sort of Japanese (polite, shy, humble. introvert, dilligent...) vibe from Fins that I have read online.

Other points...

It seems to me that the Japanese are (perhaps influenced by the Shinto religion and the closed country policy) are inclined to over emphasise their uniqueness. There was surely a lot of ancient Korean, Silla(?) influence upon Japan at the end of the Joumon period, but the Japanese are inclined to emphasise the continuity of Japanese culture with Joumon culture. My layman belief is that Joumon culture was enourmously morphed out as a result of continental arrivals - bluntly, the Joumon people were invaded in two major waves. But in Japan the reasons for the changes are often ascribed to agricultural technology.

Koreans tell me that Japanese is an easy language for them to learn.

By the way, speaking of language similarity it often amazes me the extent to which the word for "name" is similar in so many languages. (English) "name", (French) "nom", (Japanese) "na" and "namae", Mogolian "nameg", and in Finish too what was it? Quite similar.

Tim


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Mies Belgiasta
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Post by Mies Belgiasta » Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:14 pm

timtak wrote:By the way, speaking of language similarity it often amazes me the extent to which the word for "name" is similar in so many languages. (English) "name", (French) "nom", (Japanese) "na" and "namae", Mogolian "nameg", and in Finish too what was it? Quite similar.

Tim
In Dutch "naam", in Finnish "nimi", in German "name", in spanish "nobre", etc... It's indeed pretty interesting. :)
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timtak
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Post by timtak » Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:39 pm

It would be nice to make a really big list.

The bible and Japanese mythology start with a mention of the naming of things.


Rob A.
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Post by Rob A. » Mon Oct 29, 2007 8:47 pm

timtak wrote:It would be nice to make a really big list.

The bible and Japanese mythology start with a mention of the naming of things.


Gosh...who would have 'thunk' it??? Human beings on some islands off the coast of Asia and human beings living in the Middle East start with similar ideas and concerns... :wink: :wink:

Before you guys get air-borne with your linguistic flights of fancy...someone has already done all the work for you... :wink: :wink:

As I'm only familiar with a few of these languages I DO NOT attest to the accuracy of the list...you can check this out yourself, if the idea continues to fascinate you...

Africaans: naam
Bulgarian: ИМЕ (ime)
Czech: jméno
Danish: navn
Dutch: naam
German: name
Greek: noma
Finnish: nimi
French: nom
Frisian: namme
Hungarian: név
Italian: nomare
Japanese: namae
Latin: nomen
Norwegian: navn
Polish: nazwa
Portugese: nome
Romanian: neam
Russian: имя (pronounced like ima or imya, if I'm not mistaken)
Serbo-Croatian: ime
Slovak: známy
Spanish: nombre
Swedish: namn
Swahili: jina
Turkish: isim
Yiddish: nomen

Belarusian: imia
Hawaiian: inoa
Hindi: nama
Icelandic: kenninafn
Malay: nama
Maori (New Zealand aboriginals): ingoa
Pakanh: nhampa
Pahlavi (Iranian language): na1m
Pali: NŒma
Papiamento (used in Aruba): nòmber
Pidgin (Papua New Guinea): nem
Persian: nâm
Potawatomi (American Indian language): ndeshnekas (though this is "named so" or "name is")
Punjabi (Punjab is in the Himalayas): nwm
Pulaar (in Senegal): 'innir
Saanich (Canadian aboriginals): netYK (netaung, or something like that)
Sinhala (Ceylon): na ma
Sudovian (related to Lithuanian and Latvian): emenis
Tagalog (Philippines) : pangalan
Taiwanian: 名 [/mia]
Urdu (Pakistan): naam
Vietnamese: danh
Welsh: enw
Zarma(kiine) (Nigeria): ma

Should I even bother to mention the "amazing coincidence" between the Chinese numbers 1 to 4 and the Japanese numbers 1 to 4... Maybe Japanese is a Sino-Tibetan language??...Do you think???... :wink: :wink: ...And by deductive reasoning that would then make Finnish, a Chinese language... Are we making any progress?? ...Or could it be that the ancient pioneers came to Japan from China (probably via Korea), retained those early numbers, but adopted different words/sounds for newer concepts involving larger numbers...

OK, ok...I'll stop... :wink: Now, linguistics is complex even for people who devote their lives to an academic pursuit of these matters... :) :)


timtak
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Post by timtak » Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:19 am

Dear Rob A

> similar ideas and concerns...
Having similar ideas and concerns is one thing, giving ones idea or concern the same phoneme, and that idea or concern being the idea for a phoneme linked to an idea/concern or entity, that is another.

>someone has already done all the work for you...
Who did the work? Was it you? Is there a paper?

As you know, the similarity between Japanese and Chinese numbers is no coincidence.

> Or could it be that the ancient pioneers came to Japan from China
> (probably via Korea), retained those early numbers, but adopted
> different words/sounds for newer concepts involving larger numbers...
That sounds quite plausible.

By the same reasoning, looking at your list of name words, it would seem that pioneers went all over the world with a very particularly concept, the concept of attaching phonemes to a concepts/entities/people. The revolutionary nature of that contrivance seems to have been enough to have propelled it all around the world.

It would also suggest a similarity between cultures globallly, and open study of human psychology to the suggestion that it is *cultural and yet shared*, rather than natural. Generally things that are shared globally are assumed to be innate but we have evidence of "pioneers" that "came" pretty much everywhere.


I attempted to goole a word for name in your list and came accross the Yiddish for the Tower of Babel.
And they said, Come, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

Tim
Last edited by timtak on Tue Oct 30, 2007 4:17 am, edited 1 time in total.


Rob A.
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Post by Rob A. » Tue Oct 30, 2007 4:14 am

Well, I won't try to sort out your quotes and my quotes...but I'll try to answer your points systematically... You seem to be a pleasant fellow so I'll avoid any more "snarkiness"... :wink: I tend to be suspicious of "romantic" nonsense that is used to support thinly disguised nationalistic agendas... :)
timtak wrote:> similar ideas and concerns...
Having similar ideas and concerns is one thing, giving ones idea or concern the same phoneme, and that idea or concern being the idea for a phoneme linked to an idea/concern or entity, that is another.


I think I was reacting to your statement about the bible and Japanese mythology... I, too, am intrigued by the same, or similar, phoneme being commonly used for "name" ...and because of this I don't think it supports the idea of a link between Finnish and Japanese any stronger than a link between Japanese and English... Could it be a phoneme that was so strong, or so well established, that it travelled "out of Africa" 80,000 years ago when the human migrations began?? I don't know...

>someone has already done all the work for you...
Who did the work? Was it you? Is there a paper?


No, and I can't be "arsed" to dig it out again... For anyone seriously interested, I think they would want to check it out for themselves, ...it might be a bit of work, but it would hardly be taxing to the intellect... :wink: And, I was very careful to say at the beginning that "I DO NOT attest to the accuracy of the list".. :) I found it rather quickly through a simple Google search...

As you know, the similarity between Japanese and Chinese numbers is no coincidence.

> Or could it be that the ancient pioneers came to Japan from China
> (probably via Korea), retained those early numbers, but adopted
> different words/sounds for newer concepts involving larger numbers...
That sounds quite plausible.


There are some persuasive views that humans "invented" numbering systems in a gradual and logical way... small numbers, say up to four or five, can be easily conceived in the human mind; then, counting on the fingers, initially, to tally larger numbers of items...(fingers and toes)...and so forth...one of the last concepts to penetrate human consciousness was that of "zero" ....a word of Arabic origin... I know how this proceeded in Europe, but not in China (and Korea and Japan).... But my "guess" is that people were in Japan before complex numbers were in use there...

By the same reasoning, looking at your list of name words, it would seem that pioneers went all over the world with a very particularly concept, the concept of attaching phonemes to a concepts/entities/people. The revolutionary nature of that contrivance seems to have been enough to have propelled it all around the world.


Well, I not sure, ...but we might be thinking the same thing here...that the phoneme for "name" was developed early and carried out of Africa by the human "pioneers"...Or more persuasive to me...but I'm openminded on this...it may be a kind of innate phoneme. ...Like phonemes such as "ma-ma" or "da-da"

It would also suggest a similarity between cultures globallly, and open study of human psychology to the suggestion that it is *cultural and yet shared*, rather than natural. Generally things that are shared globally are assumed to be innate but we have evidence of "pioneers" that "came" pretty much everywhere.


Could be and well worth studying, I would say... :) :)

As to your earlier reference to "cultural psychology"...that's interesting, though I think it is a bit of a controversial field... People certainly are acculturated to the society they might be born into, but I would be very doubtful that it would be "hardwired" into the brain... even over a long period of time... I live in a country that has been, and still is, full of immigrants from around the world.... And despite what the ancestors might have been expecting, their offspring gradually become "Canadianized", no matter where they come from... The process is fastest for the North Europeans (...almost overnight for some of them it seems... :wink:) , then the East and Southern Europeans, then a little longer for Japanese and Chinese, and maybe a bit longer still for South Asians and Philipinos, then for Africans...but it does happen...and it seems to be inexorable... Significant religious differences and strong cultural traditions, might slow the process, though that doesn't seem to stop it...


timtak
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Post by timtak » Tue Oct 30, 2007 4:45 am

I can't seem to be able to google the list. I will keep googling.

My son says "ma-ma" for food or breast feeding. An innate phoneme like this is distinct possibility.

I rather like the idea of a later migration, of people with a concept so powerful that it took them in a wave all over the world! Apparently agricutlure spread in a similar way. But the ability to name things, or people, may have been just as powerful as agriculture. One can know who ones relatives are for example.

Just dreaming though.

I don't believe in hardwiring either, but there are some folks that suggest that there is a language instinct or even that there is a universal grammar. There is something about this that I don't like. Perhaps it is because I am a bit of Buddhist. Buddhists tell us that the way we see the world is fortuitous, and that it is possible to throw off this fortuitiousness and see the world in its chaotic thatness. Contra this, one could respond sort of Chomsko-Kantianly, arguing that people everywhere believe in the external world not because we are in touch with it, but because to do so is hardwired, limit of human language and perception. I.e. that we are stuck with the world, that it is in a sense objective.

Finding that words for "name" all over the world are similar, (and laying aside possibly that this is an innate ma-ma thing), then that suggest that there was a time when the phoneme spread, and a time before it spread when there were no names, perhaps even no nouns (going a bit far there!) and the limits of human perception were different.

But as you say, perhaps the phoneme spread with humans out of Africa, in which case there never would have been a nameless humanity.

This is the beginning of the Kojiki
"At the time of origin, a chaos had already curdled, but force and form had not appeared yet. There were no *na*mes (the word used is "na"), no motions. So nobody knew the form. "

I am not sure which nation I might be rooting for. I am a Briton. I live in Japan.

Tim


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Mies Belgiasta
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Post by Mies Belgiasta » Tue Oct 30, 2007 1:39 pm

Rob A. wrote:
timtak wrote:Should I even bother to mention the "amazing coincidence" between the Chinese numbers 1 to 4 and the Japanese numbers 1 to 4...
If you are referring to the way they are written : "一二三四" as kanji/hanzi, it's not really that a coincidence. If you are referring to the pronunciation, "yi er san si", it doesn't have any relation with "ichi ni san shi/yon" in my opinion. :?
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timtak
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Post by timtak » Tue Oct 30, 2007 5:57 pm

> "yi er san si" "ichi ni san shi/yon"
Japanese numbers are (phonetically) hi fu mi yo
Chinese imported Japanese numbers are (phonetically) ichi ni san shi
The shi is often changed to yon even in places where the Chinese would otherwise have been used since "shi" a homonym with death.


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Mies Belgiasta
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Post by Mies Belgiasta » Tue Oct 30, 2007 7:18 pm

timtak wrote:> "yi er san si" "ichi ni san shi/yon"
Japanese numbers are (phonetically) hi fu mi yo
Chinese imported Japanese numbers are (phonetically) ichi ni san shi
The shi is often changed to yon even in places where the Chinese would otherwise have been used since "shi" a homonym with death.
I know, they use it in counters like hitotsu, futatsu, mitsu, yotsu... But I don't get the relation with Chinese? :?

You know in some buildings they even don't have a 4th floor, because it reminds of death? :)
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timtak
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Post by timtak » Tue Oct 30, 2007 7:32 pm

I know, they use it in counters like hitotsu, futatsu, mitsu, yotsu... But I don't get the relation with Chinese?


Nor me.

There are no 4th rooms and even floors in some hospitals and hotels.

There was no room number 13 in an apartment block in which I once lived in London.

Is 13 the unlucky number in Finland as well? How about 4?

Tim


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Post by Jukka Aho » Tue Oct 30, 2007 7:44 pm

timtak wrote:Is 13 the unlucky number in Finland as well?

It’s known as one, yes. (It could be debated how much of that “knowledge” is based solely on Anglo-Saxon pop culture influence, such as movies like Friday the 13th, instead of being a genuinely “Finnish” belief through and through, though.)

timtak wrote:How about 4?

Not as well-known as 13, but those who know their trivia probably also know that 4 is the unlucky number in some Asian countries – China, at least.
znark


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Post by Hank W. » Tue Oct 30, 2007 7:50 pm

I still find it intriguing though, why Finns say "helvetin 16" and Swedes "17 också"... ah, thats because the åland people sold "ettan". :lol:
Cheers, Hank W.
sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.


Rob A.
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Post by Rob A. » Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:50 pm

Mies Belgiasta wrote:
Rob A. wrote:Should I even bother to mention the "amazing coincidence" between the Chinese numbers 1 to 4 and the Japanese numbers 1 to 4...
If you are referring to the way they are written : "一二三四" as kanji/hanzi, it's not really that a coincidence. If you are referring to the pronunciation, "yi er san si", it doesn't have any relation with "ichi ni san shi/yon" in my opinion. :?


Well...I'm not professing to be an expert in Asian languages...but I was taught how to count to ten in Cantonese...I can only remember 1 to 4, now...I've also hear these numbers in Mandarin...and it all seems close enough to Japanese numbers which I've also heard, to suggest a similarity. But I'll certainly defer to someone who can demonstrate a greater knowledge on the subject... :wink: :wink:

timtak: I tried to find the link to the list of names, which I didn't bookmark as I thought it would be easy to find again...but I can't... :oops: Sorry... the list was in a forum discussing languages issues... But it should be easy enough to confirm the list...


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