East Asian Languages and Literatures is pleased to sponsor a talk by visiting professor Dr. Timothy Vance.

Date: Friday, September 5, 2014
Time: 3:00 – 4:00pm
Location: Moore Hall 258

The present-day Japanese writing system is widely recognized as the most complicated system still in use, but very little of what we find in Japanese writing is unique. The cuneiform system used to write the extinct Semitic language Akkadian offers some particularly striking parallels. The Akkadian system was derived from the system invented in the neigh­boring country of Sumer for writing Sumerian, a non-Semitic language that was typologically quite different from Akkadian. As a result of cultural contact, however, many Sumerian vocab­ulary items were borrowed into Akkadian, and the parallel between Sumerian/Akkadian on the one hand and Chinese/Japanese on the other is obvious. If we compare the historical develop­ment of the Akkadian and Japanese writing systems, we see analogous responses to analogous problems, and the presentation will look at a few selected examples of how the two sys­tems resemble each other and how they differ.

Light refreshments will be served.

Please contact Professor Julie Jiang (lijiang@hawaii.edu) or Professor Dong-Kwan Kong (dongkwan@hawaii.edu) for more information.


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