CAES Vol 2, № 3

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Editor’s foreword

Articles:

Two measures of linguistic distance 

Simon Brown

Abstract:

Linguistic relatedness is often assessed on the basis of lexical analysis using the normalised Levenshtein distance (LDN), but a variant of this is the LDN divided (LDND) has been used in a similar way.  As LDND is the LDN normalised by the ‘global distance’ (Γ(α, β)) between two languages, it is useful to consider both the properties of both LDND and Γ(α, β).  Because Γ(α, β), like LDN, can not be greater than 1, LDND is ‘almost always’ greater than LDN and has no upper limit.  However, for Indo-European word lists LDND is linearly related to LDN (p < 0.001) because Γ(α, β) has a very narrow distribution.  Similar Γ(α, β) of were obtained in two numerical experiments based on (i) randomly generated ‘words’ or (ii) English words.  This indicates that LDN may a better measure of lexical distance.

Key words: distribution; global distance; Levenshtein distance; lexical distance

Brown_Two_measures_of_linguistic_distance

 

Think pieces:

Some notes on structure of verb of Phaistos disc inscription idiom 

Alexander Akulov

Abstract:

Pendlebury and Otkupshchikov have proved that Phaistos disc inscription is read from center to periphery. Word order of all languages of ancient Mediterranean region and neighbor areas was SOV, and it’s rather logical to suppose the same for the language of disc. Having known word order it is possible to single out blocks containing predicates/verbs in the text of inscription. These blocks have plumed head sign in their ends (terminal right positions). Blocks A3, A15 show that Minoan has reduplication of root and well elaborated prefixation. Minoan can’t be relative of Etruscan since Etruscan hasn’t prefixation, but can probably be relative of Anatolian languages, or Hattic or Sumerian. Adding of some known readings hasn’t given any result for verbal forms decoding, but allowed to identify name Tetija (block B8) that seems to be Minoan form of Tethys.

Key words: Phaistos disc; Minoan language;  Tetija; Tethys; writing system deciphering

Akulov_Phaistos_disc

 

Whether Sumerian language is related to Munda?  

Alexander Akulov

Abstract:

Having compared 34 lexical items of Sumerian with 34 lexical items of Mundari/Santali Diakonoff came to conclusion that Sumerian is a relative of Munda languages. The hypothesis seemed to be rather realistic, however, as far as comparison of randomly chosen lexical items without due attention to structures can’t say anything about languages relationship so the hypothesis was to be tested by a verified method. Verified method is Verbal Grammar Correlation Index (VGCI).  According to VGCI methodology index of correlation of two languages belonging to the same stock is 0.4 or higher; index of correlation of two languages that aren’t related is 0.3 or lower. VGCI of Sumerian and Mundari is 0.18 that evidently proves their unrelatedness. Due to transitivity of relatedness/unrelatedness Sumerian isn’t relative of Austroasiatic stock. Perspective directions of searching for potential relatives of Sumerian are the following: Basque, Kartvelian, Northeast Caucasian or Sino-Tibetan stocks.

Key words: Sumerian; Munda; Austroasitic stock; comparative linguistics

Akulov_Sumerian_Munda

 

Contemporary society of the Andaman Islands and problems of indigenous people

Iana Lukina

Abstract:

 The society of the Andaman Islands is a melting pot. There are people from India, Bangladesh, Burma and Sri-Lanka. Nowadays they share these lands with indigenous people who appeared here a long time ago. The establishing of contacts took a lot of time and even though now it seems that the golden middle was successfully found question of communication with indigenous people is still remain quite urgent. From one hand indigenous people receive many goods from modern civilization, however, from the other hand modern world brings such problems as new diseases, alcoholism and destroying of traditional cultures. Indigenous people who actively get in touch with modern civilization usually consider their indigenous culture mostly as a hobby or as a mean for attracting tourists, but they won’t maintain traditions of life of their ancestors seriously. Another problem is that authorities have no clear imagination of policy toward indigenous people.

Key words: The Andaman Islands, Jarawa; Onge; Sentinelese; indigenous people; adaptation

Lukina_Andaman_islands_indigenous_people

 

Some preliminary notes on etymology of some Ainu suppletive verbs

Tresi Nonno

Abstract:

In modern Ainu language there are verbs expressing grammatical numbers irregularly: a – rok “to sit”, an – oka “to be present”, arpa/oman – paye “to go”, as – roski “to stand”, ek – arki “to come”, mi – utomciwre “to wear”, rayke – ronnu “to kill”, uk – uyna “to take”, unu – uyruke “to place”. A – rok and as – roski have been made according to the same model: plural form is made of singular by adding rk/ki circumfix; initially r was ar “very” and k/ki was ki “to act”. Arpa and paye both are derivates of pa “to step”. Oman is compound of om “thigh” and an “to be present”. Arki is compound of ar “very” and distorted singular from ek. Rayke – ronnu have been made of root ray “to die” and different causatives. Mi – utomciwre are derivates of different roots. Structures of rest pairs are yet unclear; they will be matter of further consideration.

Key words: Ainu language; suppletive verbs; Ainu language history

Nonno_Ainu_suppletive_verbs

CAES Vol. 2, № 2

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Articles

An examination of the calibration of linguistic distance. I. Sensitivity 

Simon Brown

Abstract:

The interpretation of the calibration of linguistic distance depends on both the model used and on the implementation of the calibration.  While these are important considerations and can greatly affect the estimated divergence times, the calibration data themselves are clear evidence that lexical distance is at best of limited value as a measure of language change for divergence times in excess of about 4500 y.  Specifically, the data indicate that it is likely that at least 50% of lexical divergence takes place over only 1000 y and that by about 4500 y a 1% change in lexical distance corresponds to a 10% change in estimated divergence time.  A measure of linguistic distance that changes more slowly than lexical distance is required if longer divergence times are to be estimated reliably.

Key words: calibration; divergence time; lexical distance; sensitivity

Brown_calibration

 

Symbolism and social control of Zangbeto among the Ogu of Southwestern Nigeria

Dominic Okure

Abstract:

Contemporary global trends undermine African indigenous methods of social control such as Zangbeto masked cult among the Ogu of Southwestern Nigeria. While Zangbeto has enjoyed a great deal of multidisciplinary publicity among Nigerian scholars recently, there are missing emphases on the organizational structure and extant symbolism which enable the cult to function beyond the boundaries of mere vigilantism, serving as an effective mechanism of informal social control among indigenous Ogu communities. This article examines Zangbeto as an integral component of Ogu culture with a variety of symbols that intensify its ethereal and mystical perception by people, as a result of which it is able to function as an effective informal agent of control. It argues that contemporary formal control systems in Nigeria should include indigenous cultural values and methods to attain greater efficiency.

 Key words: Ogu; Zangbeto; social control; symbolism; indigenous people; masked cult

Okure_Zangbeto

 

Think pieces

Ainu is a relative of Sino-Tibetan stock (preliminary notes)

Alexander Akulov

Abstract:

Verbal Grammar Correlation Index (VGCI) can completely answer the question: whether languages are related. VGCI is logical conjunction of two indexes: grammatical meanings sets correlation index and index of correlation of positional distributions of common meanings. If value of VGCI is about 0.4 or more then languages are related; if value of VGCI is about 0.3 or less then languages are not related. VGCI of Ainu and Qiang is 0.41. Due to transitivity of relatedness Ainu is a relative of whole Sino-Tibetan stock. Evidences of linguistics correlate well with those of genetics: Ainu, Qiang, Tibetan have different subclades of Y haplogroup D.

Key words: Ainu language; Qiang language; Sino-Tibetan stock; Ainu relatives; typology; comparative linguistics

Akulov_Ainu_Qiang

 

Culturalist criticism of queer doctrine

Yelena Kolesnikova

Abstract

Queer doctrine is generally considered as good medicine for liberation of gender and sexuality. However, actually queer helps not liberation, but oppression due to the following: 1) term queer actually means “freak”, “weird” and thus it represents all LGBT issues as freakish or issues which have no deep historical background and indirectly strengthens heteronormative/cisgender society based on Abrahamic values; 2) queer doctrine has been inspired by Marxism or its derivatives and thus queer doctrine is also an implementation of Abrahamic tradition as far as Marxism is an Abrahamic religion. Liberation of gender/sexuality is completely impossible if we follow Abrahamic paradigm or its derivatives. Postgenderism (radical elimination of gender) is nothing else but just another side of conservative Abrahamic coin. True liberation of gender/sexuality would be multigenderism, but not postgederism, i.e.: in current conditions settling niches for more than two genders would be much more helpful than complete elimination of gender.

Key words: culturalism; LGBT; gender theory; multigenderism; queer doctrine; postgenderism

Kolesnikova_against_queer

 

India Northeast indigenous people adaptation to modern life (preliminary notes)

Iana Lukina

Indigenous people of Indian Northeast represent a notable example of indigenous people involved in the process of adaptation to contemporaneity. It is important to note that indigenous people of considered region mostly belong to Mongoloid race and speak different languages belonging to Sino-Tibetan stock. The process of adaptation always goes side by side with a huge amount of problems; problems appear when people who have no connections have to live together. Politics, religion and social habits play a very specific and significant role in such cases. An ethnic minority can very easy lose its identity and become not able to survive.

Key words: Northeast of India; cultural adaptation; indigenous people of India; indigenous identity

Lukina_Nagaland

 

Resemblance of Ainu ornaments and those of Shang culture

Tresi Nonno

Abstract

 Comparison of ornaments should be the same as comparison of languages, i.e.: should be compared sets of basic elements and positional distributions of elements. Having applied this methodology to Ainu ornaments and to those of Nivkh, Tungusic people, Tlingit, Maori and Shang I discovered that ornamental traditions of Ainu and Shang demonstrate notable resemblance while the rest traditions differ seriously from Ainu. Main element of Ainu and Shang ornamental traditions is rectangular volute, and this element covers almost all available space. This fact also correlates well with data of genetics. This is a strong proof of southern origin of Ainu. Also it can be one of evidences of Ainu and Sino-Tibetan people relatedness.

Key words: Ainu; Shang; ornaments

Nonno_Ainu_Shang

 

CAES Vol. 2, № 1

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Editor’s foreword

Articles:

An analysis of the distributions of linguistic distances

Simon Brown

Abstract:

Standard measures of language relatedness such as the proportion of cognates or lexical distance that are commonly used are averaged over the pairs in word lists. Underlying these are distributions of data that have characteristics that convey information about the language pairs. A simple model of the distribution of lexical distance (D) based on a mixture of the beta distribution and discrete probabilities has been devised. Expressions based on this model are given for the expected value and variance of D that agree well with the values obtained from 1225 pairs of Indo-European languages.

Key words: distribution; lexical distance; mean; variance

Brown_distribution

Commented translation of 魏志倭人伝 “Notes about Wa people from the chronicle of Wei”

Tresi Nonno

Abstract:

魏志倭人伝 “Notes about Wa people from the chronicle of Wei” is the main source about cultures existed upon Japanese archipelago in second half of Yayoi epoch (1 – 3 centuries AD). Despite the text is very important source for studies of Yayoi cultures, it has never been translated into English proper way, i.e.: until now there were no English translations of “Notes about Wa people” where each sentence of original classical Chinese text would be accompanied by corresponding English translation and required commentaries. Also all academic interpretations of “Notes about Wa people” have been made from the point of view of Japanese state historical mythology; such approach hardly can be productive since there were no Japanese in the epoch of Yayoi yet. In current paper a precise and impartial translation of 魏志倭人伝 is represented; all personal names and place names directly related to Wa people are given in reconstructed forms (i.e.: in forms of Early Medieval Chinese).

Key words: Yamatai, queen Himiko, Wa people, Wajin den, Woren chuan

Wei_zhi

Think pieces:

Krasheninnikov’s and Dybowski’s materials as sources on grammar of Kamchatka – Northern Kuril Ainu dialect

Alexander Akulov

Abstract:

Krasheninnikov’s and Dybowski’s recording on Kamchatka – Northern Kuril Ainu dialect are actually word lists. However, since they contain not just lexis, but also phrases it is possible to reconstruct grammar of the idiom. Krasheninnikov’s and Dybowski’s recordings represent different stages of the same dialect, but not different as it probably can be supposed. Grammar of the dialect actually doesn’t differ much from that of other Ainu dialects, but it has some local features: negation is expressed by preposition of eyn while other Ainu dialects use somo as negative preposition; also there seem to be two desiderative forms while other Ainu dialects have one desiderative form only.

Key words: Kamchatka Ainu; Ainu language; Ainu language history

Kamchatka_Kuril_idiom

Ethnic identity of Setos in the light of constructivism and positivism

Alexander Akulov; Fedor Alekseev

Abstract:

Seto people are an indigenous ethnic and linguistic minority in South-Eastern Estonia and North-Western Russia. Seto language belongs to Finnic group of Uralic family. There are about 15 thousands of Setos around the world: 214 of them live in Pechorsky District of Pskov region (Russia) and the rest live in Põlva and Võro counties (Estonia). Also there is unverified information about some Setos in Siberia. In Pskov Region Setos are officially recognized as a protected minority. In Estonia Seto idiom is considered as a variant of Võro idiom: this case is a notable illustration of extreme positivism approach to ethnic identity. Such approach hardly can be considered as productive since proximity of idioms can’t be obstacle for recognition of an ethnic group as separated; also due attention should be paid to narratives about self-identification, i.e.: ideas of both approaches (positivism and constructivism) should be taken into account.

Key words: Seto people; ethnic identity; language revitalization

Seto

Virtualization as a mean of endangered languages revitalization

Alexander Akulov; Tresi Nonno

Abstract

Normal existence of any language is possible only if language can change itself freely and naturally, but isn’t restricted by an artificially created traditional culture. As far as normal development of indigenous languages (endangered languages are mostly languages of indigenous people) in real life meets many obstacles we suppose that virtualization can be helpful. Virtualization means that main platform of language use is web and virtual worlds; virtualization can provide good field for language use and also can restrict negative influence of New Age and ‘frowning elders’ (i.e.: those indigenous people who are against any invention of new items and any changes). Virtualization also suggests serious revision of such concepts as ethnic identity and native tongue: ethnic identity should be determined not by genetics/physical anthropology, but by language; the concept of native tongue should be thrown out and attention should be paid to actual communicative ability only.

Key words: endangered languages; language revitalization; virtualization

Virtualization

CAES Vol 1 № 4

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Editor’s foreword

Articles:

Representation of grammar as a set of vectors

Alexander Akulov

Abstract:

Verbal Grammar Correlation Index (VGCI) is typological method of comparative linguistics: it allows completely answer questions of whether certain languages are related. VGCI is logical conjunction of two indexes: index of correlation of grammatical meanings sets and index of positional proximity of grammatical meanings that are represented in both of compared languages. For illustrative purposes grammatical systems of compared languages can be represented as tables that show what grammatical meanings exist in languages and their positional implementations. Such representation can be converted into a set of topological vectors and can be begin of true conversion of linguistics into an exact science that is inspired by mathematical structures, but not just uses some statistics. Also such issues can also be useful in cultural anthropology since culture as well as language is ordered pair: <A; Ω> where A is set of concepts/grammar meanings and Ω is set of distributions.

Key words: Verbal Grammar Correlation Index; formal methods in  linguistics; set theory; abstract algebra

grammar_vectors

 

Verbal Grammar Correlation Index (VGCI) method: a detailed description

Alexander Akulov

Abstract:

Current paper is detailed description of Verbal Grammar Correlation Index that is a precise typological method of comparative linguistics. The method is intended to direct comparison of really existing/existed languages. The method is based on the following: language is determined by set of grammatical meanings and set of their positional distributions; degrees of correlations of both sets can be calculated. Tests of the method on the material of firmly assembled stocks (Indo-European; Sino-Tibetan; Austronesian) show the following: if value of VGCI is about 0.4 or more then languages are related; if value of VGCI is about 0.3 or less then languages are not related.

Key words: typology in comparative linguistics; Verbal Grammar Correlation Index; comparative linguistics

VGCI_detailed

 

A bioimformatic perspective on linguistic relatedness

Simon Brown

Abstract:

It is usually assumed that all languages are ultimately derived from the same proto-language.  If this is the case then all languages are related, however distantly.  However, relatedness is only defined with reference to unrelatedness, so it must be possible for languages to be unrelated.  This is reminiscent of the search for genes ‘missing’ from genomes using sequence analysis, which is based on measurements that are related to lexical distance.  The ‘relatedness’ of gene sequences can only be established probabilistically because relatedness lies on a continuum that ranges from ‘identical’ to ‘completely different’.  This is also true of languages irrespective of the basis or bases of the distance measurement.

Key words:  gene; genome; language; relatedness; uncertainty

Brown_unrelatedness

 

Think pieces:

 Kamchatka Ainu dialect revitalization perspectives

Alexander Akulov; Tresi Nonno

Abstract:

Since 2008 in Russian media appears information about Ainu community in Kamchatka. Despite some members of the community were marked as Ainu in last census that took place in 2010, the community has not been officially recognized as indigenous. The root of problem is that members of community demonstrate lack of identity: they demonstrate little interest in their own native language, while it is ability to speak in corresponding language that is used as marker of identity by officials. That’s why revitalization of Kamchatka Ainu dialect is matter of high importance. Kamchatka Ainu is among badly described Ainu dialects; however, its proximity to Hokkaido dialects allows making extrapolation of Hokkaido forms in doubtful cases. Also important point is that for successful revitalization sphere of language use should not be restricted by so called ‘traditional culture’; use of the language in web and in urban sphere should be widely developed.

Key words: Kamchatka Ainu dialect; Northern Kuril Ainu dialect; language revitalization

kamchatka_Ainu

 

People of converted gender in Ainu culture

Alexander Akulov; Tresi Nonno

Abstract:

Neighbor ethnicities of Ainu (Japanese; Itelmen) had traditions of converted gender and that allows us to suppose that Ainu also had alike traditions. Krasheninnikov wrote that there were people of converted gender among Ainu of Northern Kuril and Southern Kamchatka as well as among Koryak and Itelmen. Also we have found a folklore narrative of Sakhalin Ainu where it seems to be described a person of converted gender. The narrative can be considered as a relic of converted gender tradition. It can be stated that in Ainu culture were people of converted gender and they could be shamans. It seems that initially Ainu spiritual tradition demonstrated more spontaneity and was more about shamanism while later with increase of Japanese influence and especially with cargo Confucianism influence was established a tradition of male elders’ rigorism and shamanism was marginalized and ancient traditions were abandoned.

Key words: Ainu shamanism; transgender shamans; gender in religions, Ainu history, Ainu folklore

cispo

CAES Special Issue (October 2015)

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Ainu and Great Andamanese are relatives  (proved by Prefixation Ability Index and Verbal Grammar Correlation Index)

Alexander Akulov

Abstract

Prefixation Ability Index (PAI) allows us to see whether languages can potentially be related (languages can potentially be related if their PAI values don’t differ more than fourfold); Verbal Grammar Correlation Index (VGCI) completely answers the question whether languages are related (testing of VGCI on the material of undoubtedly assembled stocks shows that VGCI values of distant relatives should be about 0.4 and more while VGCI of unrelated languages show values of VGCI about 0.3 and less). Having applied these methods to Ainu language I got the following: PAI has shown that Southern but not Northern direction is perspective for searching for Ainu language potential relative. VGCI of Ainu and Austronesian stock is 0.26; VGCI of Ainu and Mon-Khmer stock is 0.24; it means that Ainu is completely unrelated with both. From the other hand VGCI of Ainu and Great Andamanese is 0.38 that is evident proof of their relatedness. Also in the case of Ainu and Andmanese data of linguistics correlate well with those of genetics since both populations have D as main Y DNA. It seems that Ainu and Andamanese are relics of Negrito racial group that was spread rather wide in Southern and Southeast Asia; remains of this population also can be seen in Malaysia, in Thailand and in Philippines. Also I suppose that languages potentially related to Ainu-Andamanese stock probably can be found among so called West Papuan languages.

Key words: Ainu; Andamanese; PAI; VGCI; typology; comparative linguistics

Ainu and Andamanese

CAES Vol 1 № 3

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Editor’s foreword

Think pieces:

Whether is it possible to prove genetic unrelatedness of certain languages?

Alexander Akulov

Abstract:

In contemporary linguistics there is a presupposition that we can prove only genetic relatedness while unrelatedness can’t be proved. When they speak about proves of relatedness then relatedness means “to belong to the same stock” but when they speak about unrelatedness, then appears idea that all existing languages are related since they are supposed to be derivates of the same proto-language and so we can’t prove unrelatedness but can just state that a language doesn’t belong to a stock. Relatedness is equivalence relation described in set theory, relatedness necessarily supposes grouping of elements of a set into equivalence classes which aren’t interjected. Contemporary linguistics knows 7102 languages which are grouped into 234 stocks; if there would be no possibility to distinguish languages then even a single stock hardly could be assembled. Possibility of proving of unrelatedness is necessary tool of any classification: unrelatedness can be proved as well as relatedness.

Key words: languages unrelatedness; historical linguistics; comparative linguistics; logic; abstract algebra; set theory

unrelatedness

Why conclusions about genetic affiliation of certain language should be based on comparison of grammar but not on comparison of lexis?

Alexander Akulov

Abstract:

In contemporary linguistics there are an obsession of discovering genetic relationship of certain languages by comparison of lexis and a tendency to ignore grammatical/structural issues. If certain morphemes are considered it is done almost the same lexical way, i.e.: only material exponents are compared and no attention is paid to the fact that grammar is positional distribution of meanings. Using such methodology we can prove that completely unrelated languages are relatives, for instance: we can ‘prove’ that Japanese and Chinese are relatives. Another notable fact is that different scholars using this methodology attribute same language to completely different stocks: Sumerian is considered as a relative of Kartvelian, of Uralic, of Mon-Khmer or Sino-Tibetan; Ainu is considered as a relative of Altaic, of Austronesian or Mon-Khmer. These facts are evidences that comparison of lexis is a completely irrelevant method and that genetic classification should be based on analysis of structural issues.

Key words: historical linguistics; comparative linguistics; typology in comparative linguistics; typology

why typology

Folk-history in Post-Soviet states and its influence on official history

Yelena Kolesnikova

Abstract:

There are two basic types of folk-history: 1) folk-history about enigmatic issues of ancient civilizations, 2) nationalistic folk-history. The first type is mostly spread in the West while the second in the East. In USSR official history was just a set of dogmas: conceptions were changed not due to discovering some new facts but just due to zigzags of ideology. Due to this fact in mass consciousness wasn’t formed right notion of historical methodology: history was considered just as a set of different versions. It was good background for folk-history. The most notable issues of Post-Soviet folk-histories are: Ukrainian and Turkic folk-histories: they both harshly ignore facts and methodology; also they both influence on academic history. In this aspect Ukraine is closer to Turkic world and to the East rather than to Europe while Russia is closer to the West since in Russia folk-history has no influence on academic history.

Key words: folk-history; Post-Soviet folk-history; nationalist folk-history

folk_history

History of Ainu causatives

Tresi Nonno

Abstract:

In modern Ainu there are two types of causatives: plain causative (-e/-ka/-ke/-re/-te) and indefinite/respectful causative (-ar/-yar). Among forms of plain causative there is group that originated directly from verb ki “to do”, “to perform”, “to act”: *ki > ke > te > re > e (forms -ke/-te/-re/-e appeared due to different positional assimilatison). Suffix -ka seems to be contraction of verb kar “to make”, “to do in order to get a result”; this kar most probably initially was compound of ki “to do” and ‘ar “very”/”intensively”; so this form is resultative causative. Indefinite causative -ar/-yar is direct derivative of ‘ar “intensively”, i.e.: initially it was intensifier rather than causative marker. Plain causative *ki seems to be the most ancient causative that appeared in Middle Jōmon yet, indefinite causative appeared later and resultative causative obviously appeared closer to Yayoi epoch.

Key words: Ainu language; Ainu language history; Jōmon Ainu language reconstruction; causatives; Ainu causatives

history of Ainu causative

On the etymology of word ama (海人・ 海女・海士)

Tresi Nonno

Abstract:

Word ama seems to be of not Japanese origin due to the following reason: kanji by which word ama is written (海人・ 海女・海士) are read according to irregular way of reading; in Okinawa such divers are named umi-n-chu, in Izu peninsula they are named kaito, both names mean “people of sea”, both are transparent for speakers of correspondent idioms, while word ama is completely dim from the point of view of Japanese language. From the other hand in Ainu language there are the following words: am-pa “to carry” lit.: “to grab and go”; am-us-pe – “crab”, lit.: “being that grabs”. It seems highly possible that the same root (i.e.: am “to grab”) is in word ama. Initially word ama had the following appearance: ʔam ʔwa “people who grab [shellfishes]” / “people with claws” and later it became ʔamma, ʔama and finally ama.

Key words: ama divers; Ainu language history; history of Japanese language; Japanese history

ama