Recently, researchers at the University of Tokyo completed an analysis of the different dialects of the Japanese language and how they evolved. According to the New York Times, the results appear to shed light on the origins of the Japonic language family, which includes both Japanese and Ryukyuan, a related language spoken by islanders to the south.
The researchers were trying to answer a question that has long vexed linguists: where did the Japanese language originate, and who brought it to Japan? There are two possible contenders: the Jomon people, a group of hunter-gatherers who arrived on the island during the last ice age, or the Yayoi, a group of rice farmers who came later. Read more