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An introduction

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    Vili Maunula

    This introductory section is in no way compulsory. If you choose write one about yourself, you are of course free to write about yourself up to any detail you wish to. Although bear in mind that this website is aiming to be child-friendly, so keep some details to yourself. 😉

    I’m actually personally not one to write too much about myself, but perhaps I might at least say that my name is Vili Maunula and that I am a theoretical linguist at days, and the webmaster of this website (and a number of others) at nights.

    I got into Kurosawa through an old language teacher of mine. I was still in primary school back then (7th grade, I think), when she told me that if I wanted to see a really good movie she would lend me one. (I don’t remember why she told me this, but it was probably a reaction to something or other I had said in class.) The film she brought me the next day was ‘Seven Samurai’. I went home, fed it to my VHS player, and that’s where it all started. A year later I had seen all the classics, and about half a decade later I found myself in Japan where I saw the rest of Kurosawa’s films, and started to learn what the country is all about (not that Kurosawa would have been the only reason I chose Japan).

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    Lewis Saul

    Wow, do you still live in Japan?

    I want to go there so bad. Someday.

    I discuss who I am and how I got into Kurosawa on my blog, so I guess I’ll just post that and if you’re interested, there it is:

    Lewis Saul

    http://www.lewissaul.blogspot.com

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    Vili Maunula

    No, I don’t. I’m thinking of going back one day, though, if only for a year or two. I haven’t actually been to the country for about 8 years now. I quite miss the place.

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    yippee

    Hi all. Happy to see this site! Happy to know that Kurosawa is still relevant and meaningful to people out there, and that there are those looking forward to celebrating his upcoming 100th!

    I belong to an OZU group, as well, (http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/ozu/) and I am also interested in Mizoguchi, Kobayashi (Japanese post-War cinema in general) and the writings of Yasunari Kawabata. My other interests are in the visual arts, art history, educational travel and culture studies. I am a (lapsed) language learner of Chinese, a painter and work in education.

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    Vili Maunula

    Welcome to the group, yippee. 🙂

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    ssj

    A linguist, vili! If you don’t mind my asking, do you have a specialty in certain language groups?

    I’ve been curious for many years about the similarities between mongolian/korean/japanese/other tungusics and finnish/estonian/hungarian/turkish. I was pleased to discover that the latter group might have postpositions as in korean and japanese, many similarities in phonetics, though the subject-object-verb syntax seems much more strict in korean and japanese than in the related European languages. As far as I’m aware, for hanguk-eo and nihongo, the verb is not final only if one adds the addressee at the end of the sentence (e.g., “where to going, kurosawa sensei?” and the addressee could be addressed just as easily at the beginning of the sentence or is often the subject) or if one is slinging slang.

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    Vili Maunula

    I’m afraid I no longer really actively move in the linguist circles, ssj. But what you are talking about is commonly known as the Ural-Altaic hypothesis. I never specialised in any particular language or language group, but the theory is quite familiar to me as I speak a few languages to varying degrees from the proposed grouping.

    The long and short of it is that the Ural-Altaic hypothesis is not really accepted by linguists today. It used to be a popular theory in the early 1900s, but has since been shown not to really correspond with the data. The similarities are too superficial to hold water. You still hear rumblings about the theory every now and then, but mainly from non-linguists and/or people with some sort of a political agenda.

    From the two main components of the proposed language grouping, Uralic and Altaic, the latter is similarly discredited. The Altaic theory proposed that Turkic was related to a group of North Asian languages including Japanese and Korean, but again this doesn’t really seem to fit the facts. Japanese, or rather the Japonic language group, actually seems to stand fairly isolated, as far as we can see. This doesn’t mean that the languages couldn’t be somehow related, but if they are, the split is so old that it doesn’t show up in the available data.

    Turkic on its own has also been linked to Uralic languages (which include Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian and a number of others), but despite superficial similarities, my understanding is that there is again very little that would support such a grouping.

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    ssj

    ah, bummer, vili. i know some estonians who consider me their long-lost NE asian cousin. 🙂

    of course, whichever paths our linguistic histories flowed, i’m still related to all other humans on this planet. maybe even vice versa. 😛

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