Japonic or Japanese-Ryukyuan is a language family composed of Japanese and Ryukyuan. Their common ancestral language is known as Proto-Japonic or Proto-Japanese-Ryukyuan. The essential feature of this classification is that the first split in the family resulted in the separation of all dialects of Japanese from all dialects of Ryukyuan. Hattori in 1954 placed this separation event in the Yamato period.
Some linguists reserve judgment on this point because much is still unknown about the history of the settlement of the Ryukyu Islands by the ancestors of their current inhabitants (when each island was settled and where each group came from). In their view, the term Proto-Japanese is preferable until clearer evidence on these questions emerges.
Japonic languages tree
- Japanese (<-Middle Japanese <- Late Old Japanese <- Old Japanese)