Handbook of the Ryukyuan languages: History, structure and use (review article)

de Boer, Elisabeth M.

In: Studies in Language, 41 (2017), Nr. 3. pp. 781-790. ISSN 0378-4177

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The article is a review of Heinrich, Patrick; Miyara, Shinsho & Shimoji, Michinori (eds.). 2015. Handbook of the Ryukyuan languages: History, structure and use. Berlin: De Gruyter-Mouton [Handbooks of Japanese language and linguistics 11]. lxvii +723 pp. (ISBN 978-1-61451-115-1)

The review starts with a description of the contents of the different chapters and sections of the book, and discusses its significance in light of the endangered status of the Ryukyuan languages.

The critical part of the review takes issue with the way in which the genetic relationship of Ryukyuan and Japanese is presented in the book, namely as sister languages. Although proto-Ryukyuan and Central Old Japanese were sister languages, not all modern Japanese dialects are descendants of Central Old Japanese. Since Ryukyuan shares a number of innovations in the tone system with the Kyushu branch of Japanese, the idea of Ryukyuan and Japanese as two equal branches in the Japonic language family tree should be rejected.

Document type: Review
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 2 November 2018
ISSN: 0378-4177
Faculties / Institutes: Miscellaneous > Individual person
DDC-classification: Language, Linguistics
Controlled Subjects: Ryūkyūanisch, Phonologie, Dialektologie, Historische Sprachwissenschaft, Bedrohte Sprache
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ryukyuan, Japanisch, bedrohte Sprachen, Dialektologie, historische Linguistik / Ryukyuan, Japanese, endangered languages, dialectology, historical linguistics, descriptive linguistics, language shift, language revitalization, tone, phonology
Subject (classification): Japanese Studies
Countries/Regions: Japan