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Old January 16th, 2018, 11:35 AM   #1
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Kojoson words in the Fangyan


The Fangyan was a work from the 1st century BC or 1st century AD that recorded dialectal differences between the various states in the Central Plains region. So far as I know it include words that were shared between northern and eastern Yan and Kojoson? Anyone know of any possible linguistic links? Where can I find a good list of them?

Last edited by Haakbus; January 16th, 2018 at 01:04 PM.
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Old January 16th, 2018, 05:15 PM   #2
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It wouldn't be such a bad idea if you could work closely with a someone well versed in Classical Chinese texts who could help you out. I think you can try emailing Mark Byington for some headways
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Old January 16th, 2018, 05:26 PM   #3
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Old January 16th, 2018, 05:36 PM   #4
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I found a version on Wikisource, but I don't know how accurate it is and I'm not well-versed in Classical Chinese so my translation would only be meh.
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Old February 9th, 2018, 06:46 PM   #5
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This is a fairly important topic in East Asian history, and one that I've commented on in the past, so I thought I'd bring it back.

For those who didn't go to the link, this is a 2017 article written by 鄭載男 in 동아시아고대학회. The article is not open access and is written only in Korean. The thesis is as follows:

* In the 1st century AD Chinese text <方言> there are records of vocabulary used by various dialects and languages spoken in different regions of China, including importantly 北燕 North Yan and 朝鲜 Chaoxian. The former refers to Liaoxi while the latter refers to the county corresponding to the newly conquered territory of Wiman Joseon in or near the Korean peninsula.

* According to <方言>, 北燕 and 朝鲜 share much of the same vocabulary - 50% of the 55 words listed for 北燕 match 80% of the 32 words listed for 朝鲜. Therefore, the two regions likely spoke similar languages or the very same language.

* These word lists are not shared with other regions in the book, including the nearby 燕 region in Hebei. Thus, the author reasons, they should represent the language of Old Joseon because historically, Old Joseon's migration from Liaoxi to the Korean peninsula would explain the close linguistic relationship between the two counties of 北燕 and 朝鲜.

The above logic would argue that we already have linguistic evidence of the language spoken by Old Joseon, via the 55 + 32 words recorded in <方言> for the regions of 北燕 and 朝鲜.

Of course, this article wasn't the first to examine the linguistic evidence in <方言> for such material. In fact, a lot of linguistic and comparative work has already been done on <方言>, which is one of the most important sources for reconstructing Old Chinese.

However, no comparative linguist, to my knowledge, have been able to connect the vocabulary lists above with the Koreanic language family, while suggestions have even been made that they actually record a variety of Chinese.

Traditionally, this is explained through stating that the languages in <方言> represent the language of the Sinitic or Sinicized population in the region, rather than the aboriginal language. The author of the above article, however, proposes that this is wrong, since the 北燕 and 朝鲜 regions have different vocabulary than other regions, including the 燕 region that presumably conquered 北燕. Thus, the language recorded should represent the aboriginal language, not a Chinese import.

The author then goes to argue that linguists have "misunderstood" the Chinese characters used to transcribe the vocabulary in <方言>, and that previous analysis regarding the language being a variety of Chinese is therefore incorrect.

Unfortunately, since the paper wasn't published in a major international journal in English, it's not likely the author's research will be peer reviewed quickly by international experts. To which end, we MIGHT actually have evidence of Old Joseon's aboriginal language, or we might not, and even in case we do, it is not certain to what language family it actually belonged.

Last edited by Cerberus; February 9th, 2018 at 07:32 PM.
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Old February 9th, 2018, 08:06 PM   #6
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The author of the article said: "Therefore, the languages of Northen Yan and Chosun areas could be grouped by isogloss line in linguistic geography and be categorized as the same language group, an assumed proto-Korean language of Kochosun, holding a quite different identity from ancient Chinese language. "

So does he in fact have evidence that the Kochosun language is Koreanic? If not, it could simply be another language isolate, or some of other linguistic families that are neither Chinese nor Korean.
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