Abdurrahman Gülbeyaz (Osaka, Japan)
On the Reception of Macro-Altaic Theory in Japanese Studies
(57th Annual Meeting of the PIAC Vladivostok, 2014)
My paper deals with the so called ‘macro-Altaic theory’ in connection with and within the context of linguistic research in Japan. Above all else I concentrate my efforts on finding out what type relationship – if at all – contemporary Japanese Japanologists have with the Altaic theory. In other words I try to ascertain how linguists of Japan tend to react to or to deal with it, what types of approach, patterns of reasoning in this connection prevail and how these reasoning resp. behaviour patterns could sensibly be explained.
For this purpose, I, to start with, concisely recapitulate and discuss the macro-Altaic theory. Secondly I lay bare the making of modern standard Japanese language and the theory thereof within the socio-historical and ideological context of westernisation, modernization and nationalisation of the traditional societies of Japanese Archipelago. Having thus constructed the pedestal for the main leg of the discussion I describe and look into the positions taken by the scholars of Japanese studies in Japan regarding the origins of Japanese language and its historical, structural and further affiliations with other languages or language families. I put therein the main emphasis on the question how the macro-Altaic theory is received and why.