posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 04:09 AM
About the Korean being invented (I am Korean, so I know what I'm talking about) - that is in reference to the written, not the spoken, language. The
current written form of Korean was designed by a panel of royally-appointed scholars in the mid-1400s. Prior to this, all Korean was actually written
in Chinese (thus rendering a significant majority of the general population illiterate - changing this was the idea behind the invention of modern
written Korean). In terms of writing, the Korean and Japanese languages are strongly (in the case of written Japanese inextricably, since Japanese is
still written in Chinese characters with a few extra Japanese-specific characters thrown in) linked to written Chinese simply from the close proximity
for an extended period of time. It is likely that a majority of Korean and Japanese words are actually "loan words" acquired from the Chinese and
gradually modified to fit the local language.
However, when it comes to spoken Korean or Japanese, neither is anywhere close to Chinese (though sometimes the two sound similar to each other, but
again this could just be because of long periods of proximity in history) except when pronouncing cognates (words that are shared between languages
and sound similar between them - for instance, "burg" in German means "town" or "city" and it means the same thing in English, thus "burg" is
a cognate - the cognates between Korean, Japanese, and Chinese are generally based on the local pronunciation of the Chinese characters on which the
words are based).
No one has been able to agree thus far where to put Korean and Japanese, and so most researchers today simply consider them language isolates. The two
are different enough from Hungarian and Finnish that a real link, if it exists, is obscured.
However, I remember watching one winter olympics when the Finnish team was doing curling, and I remember that a lot of what the Finnish team was
saying to each other sounded remarkably like Japanese. But then this link - video.google.com...
makes me think twice about that association.