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How and when was Japan settled by speakers of Japanese? Exploring the clues to Japanese prehistory preserved in old dialect divisions

How and when was Japan settled by speakers of Japanese? Exploring the clues to Japanese prehistory preserved in old dialect divisions

Objective

It is thought that the Japanese language was brought to Japan in a series of west-to-east migrations from the Korean peninsula in prehistoric times. Through fieldwork on the tone systems of a cluster of outlying and not sufficiently documented dialects in Japan (the so-called Gairin or ‘outer circle’ dialects), a genealogy of the members of this dialect group will be reconstructed.

A central question is whether the similarities between the Gairin dialects are the result of parallel developments or a common descent. If these dialects share a common descent, the next question is what the relative timing of the dialect splits is, and the degree to which the different Gairin dialects are related to each other.

The outcomes of my research project will answer these questions and put approximate dates to some of the main phonological developments. These outcomes will add unprecedented detail, based on linguistic data, to migrations that so far could only be traced through archaeology: The project will make it possible to reconstruct the prehistoric migration routes that resulted in the present-day scattered geographical distribution of this dialect group.

Study of the oldest historical records of the tone systems of this dialect type will add greater detail and time-depth to the analysis.
Leaflet | Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors, Credit: EC-GISCO, © EuroGeographics for the administrative boundaries

Host institution

RUHR-UNIVERSITAET BOCHUM

Address

Universitaetsstrasse 150
44801 Bochum

Germany

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 1 394 040

Beneficiaries (1)

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RUHR-UNIVERSITAET BOCHUM

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 1 394 040

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 677317

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 May 2016

  • End date

    30 April 2021

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 1 394 040

  • EU contribution

    € 1 394 040

Hosted by:

RUHR-UNIVERSITAET BOCHUM

Germany