Nissan Seminar: Ryukyuan languages

Convenor(s): Dr Jennifer L. Guest, Dr Linda Flores, and Professor Bjarke Frellesvig

Speaker(s): Thomas Pellard, Professor of Language & Linguistics, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), France

These seminars will occur live and will not be recorded. Unauthorized recording is strictly prohibited.

Please click on the seminar title to register in advance and receive the meeting details.

Ryukyuan languages

This talk presents an overview of the endangered Ryukyuan languages and stresses the importance of their study for both linguistic typology and the historical study of the Japanese language. It also examines how linguistics can help to reconstruct the prehistory of human societies and migrations. In particular, it shows how linguistic data can be used to infer when the Ryukyuan languages separated from Japanese and when and how their speakers migrated to the Ryukyu Islands.

Speaker Information:
Thomas Pellard is a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). He holds a PhD in Linguistics from the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS, Paris). His research focuses on the diversity and the (pre)history of the languages of Japan, and he has conducted fieldwork on all the different Japonic languages. He is the author of several descriptive studies on the endangered Ryukyuan languages, and of several contributions to the historical and comparative linguistics of Japanese and Ryukyuan. His work on “The linguistic archeology of the Ryukyu Islands” combining data from linguistics, archeology, and anthropology appeared in the Handbook of the Ryukyuan languages (2015), and his “Ryukyuan and the reconstruction of proto-Japanese-Ryukyuan” is to be published in the Handbook of Japanese historical linguistics (2022).