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Samuel Martin (linguist)

samuel martin linguist chomsky, samuel martin linguist meaning
Samuel Elmo Martin 29 January 1924 – 28 November 2009 was a professor of Far Eastern Languages at Yale University and the author of many works on the Korean and Japanese languages


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Scholarly contributions
  • 3 Works
  • 4 References
  • 5 Links
  • 6 External links


Martin was born in Pittsburg, Kansas on 29 January 1924, and grew up in Emporia, Kansas During World War II he was trained as a Japanese Language Officer, and was stationed in Japan at the end of the war

After the war, he enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, where he majored in Oriental Languages He graduated in 1947, but stayed on at Berkeley to study for a master's degree in linguistics under Chao Yuen Ren, which he completed in 1949 He then went to Yale University to study for a PhD in Japanese Linguistics under Bernard Bloch He completed his dissertation on Japanese morphophonemics in 1950 published as a monograph by the Linguistic Society of America the following year, and was immediately offered a position at Yale University, where he remained until his retirement in 1994 He was made professor of Far Eastern Linguistics in 1962, and chaired both the Department of East and South Asian Languages and the Department of Linguistics He also served as director of undergraduate studies in linguistics and director of graduate studies in East Asian languages and literatures He was an executive fellow of Timothy Dwight College

After Martin retired from Yale University, he moved to near Vancouver, Washington, near where his wife Nancy Rendell Martin had grown up, and close to Portland, Oregon, where his daughter Norah Martin teaches philosophy During his retirement, Martin continued research on a variety of linguistic topics, notably Middle Korean

In 1994, Martin was awarded the Korean government's Presidential Medal of Honor for Distinguished Cultural Contributions

Scholarly contributions

In the 1950s Martin worked on issues relating to Japanese and Korean orthography and romanizations At this time he coined the term "Sino-Xenic" in creating a common nomenclature for Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary, Sino-Korean vocabulary and Sino-Japanese vocabulary He published a monograph on Japanese orthography in 1952, and in 1954 he was invited by Syngman Rhee, President of South Korea, to give his ideas on the orthographic reform of the Korean script, which were published in 1954 in various Korean newspapers In 1954 he devised the Yale romanization system for transliterating Korean, which is extensively used by linguists During this period he also made important contributions on Chinese, producing a monograph on the phonemes of Ancient Chinese in 1953, and an important article on Mandarin phonology in 1957

During the 1960s Martin extended his linguistic talents to studies of the Dagur language 1961, and the Shodon dialect of Ryukyuan 1970 His most famous work from this period was a 1966 article, "Lexical evidence relating Korean to Japanese", that was based on a systematic application of the comparative method, and which advanced the hypothesis that Korean and Japanese are genetically related He also published articles on subjects that had been very little studied until that time, such as sound symbolism in Korean 1962 and speech styles in Japan and Korea 1964

His monumental work, Reference Grammar of Japanese, was published in 1975, and together with his Japanese Language through Time 1987 are landmarks in the study of the grammar and history of the Japanese language

During the 1980s Martin concentrated his research activities on Middle Korean, making detailed analysis of numerous 15th and 16th century Korean texts, which he used as the basis for a database of Middle Korean linguistic structures and examples This work formed the backbone of his monumental Reference Grammar of Korean 1993 which provides a detailed description of both 20th-century Korean and Middle Korean morphemes, making it a valuable tool for those researching the history and structure of the Korean language

In addition to his scholarly linguistic works, Martin was interested in the teaching of East Asian languages, and he wrote a number of elementary texts and dictionaries for beginners In 1951, in collaboration with DrSane, Martin coined the term "nibling" as a gender-neutral term for a nephew or niece, by analogy with the word "sibling"


  • 1951 Korean in a Hurry: A Quick Approach to Spoken Korean Tuttle Publishing, Japan First US edition: 1954 ISBN 0-8048-0349-8
  • 1966 "Lexical evidence relating Korean to Japanese" Language 122, 185-251
  • 1975 A Reference Grammar of Japanese New Haven: Yale University Press ISBN 0-300-01813-4
  • 1975 With Yang Ha Lee and Sung-Un Chang A Korean-English Dictionary New Haven: Yale University Press
  • 1975 "Problems in establishing the prehistoric relationships of Korean and Japanese" In Proceedings International Symposium Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of Korean Liberation Seoul: National Academy of Sciences
  • 1982 "On the consonant distinctions of earlier Korean" Hangul 175:59-172
  • 1987 The Japanese Language through Time New Haven: Yale University Press ISBN 0-300-03729-5
  • 1990 "Morphological clues to the relationships of Japanese and Korean" In Philip Baldi, ed, Linguistic Change and Reconstruction Methodology Berlin: de Gruyter
  • 1990 "On dating changes in the phonetic rules of Korean" Bochumer Jahrbuch zur Ostasienforschung 14:185-216
  • 1991 "Recent research on the relationships of Japanese and Korean" In Sydney M Lamb and E Douglas Mitchell, eds, Sprung from Some Common Source: Investigations into the Prehistory of Languages Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press
  • 1992 Essential Japanese: An Introduction to the Standard Colloquial Language, third revised edition Tuttle Publishing ISBN 0-8048-1862-2
  • 1993 A Reference Grammar of Korean: A Complete Guide to the Grammar and History of the Korean Language Rutland, Vermont: Charles E Tuttle ISBN 0-8048-1887-8 2006 reprint: ISBN 0-8048-3771-6
  • 1995 "On the prehistory of Korean grammar: verb forms" Korean Studies 19:139-150
  • 1996 Consonant Lenition in Korean and the Macro-Altaic Question Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press ISBN 0-8248-1809-1
  • 1996 "The Middle Korean marker of politeness -ngi" In Shim Chaegi et al, eds, Yi Kimun kyosu chongnyon toeim kinyom nonch'ong Seoul: Shingu munhwasa
  • 1997 "How did Korean get -l for Middle Chinese words ending in -t" Journal of East Asian Linguistics 63: 263-271
  • 1997 "Un-Altaic features of the Korean verb" In Ho-min Sohn and John Haig, eds, Japanese/Korean Linguistics, Volume 6 Stanford, California: Center for the Study of Languages and Information, Stanford University
  • 2000 "How have Korean vowels changed through time" Korean Linguistics 10:1-59
  • 2002 "Coming and going: deictic verbs in Korean and Japanese" In Sang-Oak Lee and Gregory K Iverson, with Sang-Cheol Ahn and Young-mee Yu Cho, eds, Pathways into Korean Language and Culture: Essays in Honor of Young-Key Kim-Renaud Seoul: Pagijong Press


  1. ^ a b c "In Memoriam: Samuel Martin, Illuminated Korean and Japanese Languages" Yale University Office of Public Affairs 15 January 2010 Retrieved 2010-05-10 
  2. ^ a b c d Ramsey, Robert 17 January 2010 "Obituary: Samuel E Martin" LINGUIST List 21294 Retrieved 2010-05-10 


  • Tadashi Kanehisa – his informant of the Shodon dialect

External links

  • The Linguist List Obituary
  • In Memoriam: Samuel Martin, Illuminated Korean and Japanese Languages

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