James B. Duke Assistant Professor of Asian Studies
I am a linguist whose specialization is in Japanese language, past and present. I joined Furman in 2016 after completing my Ph.D. in Japanese at The Ohio State University, where I developed expertise in Japanese linguistics, pre-modern Japan, and Japanese language teaching pedagogy. At Furman, I teach courses on Japan, focusing primarily on first-year Japanese language. I also teach courses on Japanese culture, Korean language, and Asian linguistics. My goal as a language teacher is for my students to learn how to communicate effectively in the target language. Throughout all of my courses, students will gain an appreciation of the diversity of languages and cultures in East Asia, and learn about the interconnectedness of Japan, Korea, and China. When I am not at Furman teaching and helping students and doing research, I enjoy hiking in the mountains, backpacking, road trips, and cooking at home with my cats.
- James B. Duke Chair in Asian Studies (2018)
- Japan Foundation Doctoral Fellowship (2016, declined)
- Ph.D., The Ohio State University
- M.A., The Ohio State University
- B.A., Williams College
My research focuses on the history of the Japanese and Korean languages, targeting stages of these languages before textual evidence and reconstructing hypothetical ancestor languages. My scholarly interests have taken me across Asia and Europe, and I have been a visiting research fellow at the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics (Japan), as well as a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (Germany). I am currently working on a book that explores in depth the case for a Japano-Koreanic language family, and I have worked with undergraduate students on research internships on this topic.
- Francis-Ratte, Alexander & J. Marshall Unger (to appear). "Contact between genetically related languages: the case of Old Japanese and Old Korean". The
Oxford Guide to the Transeurasian Languages, Oxford University Press.
- Francis-Ratte, Alexander. 2017. "Lexical Recycling as a Lens onto Shared Japano-Koreanic Agriculture". In Language Dispersal Beyond Farming, edited by Martine Robbeets,
John Benjamins Publishing Company: 75-92.
- Francis-Ratte, Alexander. 2017. "The End of the Voicing Controversy in proto-Korean-Japanese". MIT Working Papers in Linguistics 83.
- Francis-Ratte, Alexander. 2016. "Morpho-lexical evidence for proto-Korean-Japanese".
Buckeye East Asian Linguistics Vol. 2.
Recent Professional Presentations
- 2018. “Assessing the current state of Japano-Koreanic”. Invited lecture, City University of
New York Graduate Center.
- 2018. “Ancient Loanwords and their Significance for Language Contact in Early Japan”.
Southeast Conference on Linguistics, Blacksburg, Virginia.
- 2018. (with Emily Nicholson ‘18) “New Japanese-Korean Cognates and Some Implications
for Japanese-Korean Border Crossings”. Southeast Conference on Linguistics, Blacksburg, Virginia.
- 2018. (with J. Marshall Unger) “Contact between genetically related languages: the case of Old Japanese and Old Korean”. Workshop on Transeurasian Languages, Jena,
- 2017. “Reassessing morphological and lexical evidence in the quest for the origins of
Japanese”. Invited speaker, The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human
History, Jena, Germany.
- 2017. “New evidence for the common origin of the Japanese and Korean languages”.
Invited speaker, University of Gent, Belgium.
- 2016. “Lexical Recycling as a Lens onto Shared Korean-Japanese Agriculture”. Societas
Linguistica Europaea Annual Meeting, Naples, Italy.
- 2016. “The End of the Voicing Controversy in proto-Korean-Japanese”. 12th Workshop on
Altaic Formal Linguistics, New Britain, CT.