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date: 03 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The story of the development of linguistic thought in the major cultures of East Asia centers to a great extent on each country’s response to influence from a respected non-related language. In the case of China before the period of European influence, it was Sanskrit, the language of the Buddhist scriptures; for Korea and Japan, it was Chinese, and to a lesser degree also Sanskrit. Both Korean and Japanese borrowed vocabulary extensively from Chinese, as well as the Chinese writing system, and in more recent times, Chinese has borrowed heavily back from Japanese, reflecting the ebb and flow of power between the countries. Korea and Japan later developed their own writing systems, both of which show strong influence from Chinese and Sanskrit. In all three cultures, the formal study of grammar does not begin until the nineteenth century, under European influence.

Keywords: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, history of linguistics, Buddhism

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