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The Languages of Japan - Masayoshi Shibatani

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The Languages of Japan
Masayoshi Shibatani
Paperback / softback
Cambridge University Press
UK Publication Date

This book is a detailed survey of the two main indigenous languages of Japan, Japanese and Ainu. No genetic relationship has been established between them, and structurally they differ significantly. Professor Shibatani has therefore divided his study into two independent parts. The first is a most comprehensive study of the polysynthetic Ainu language. The second part deals extensively with Japanese. It discusses topics from the evolution of the writing system and the differences between men's and women's speech, to issues of greater theoretical complexity, such as phonology, the lexicon and word-formation, and the syntax of agglutinative morphology. As an American-trained scholar in Japan, the author is in an unique postion that affords him a dual perspective on language deriving from Western linguistic scholarship and the Japanese grammatical tradition.

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"Shibatani's wide-ranging survey of Japanese is replete with intriguing is a significant and timely contribution to the literature from a productive and influential scholar."
Linguistic Anthropology

"This combination of breadth and boldness makes for instructive and engaging reading, all in an accessible style which promises to make this work a staple on reading lists in future courses on the history and structure of the Japanese language."
Wesley M. Jacobsen, Journal of the Association of Teachers of Japanese

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