Japan travel guide




Japan Travel Guide

Japanese Language

Japanese is an interesting language spoken by approximately 140 million people, in Japan and in several Japanese communities around the world. It's an elaborate, compound language and it is remarkable by a complex system of honorifics reproducing the hierarchical nature of Japanese society, with verb forms and peculiar vocabulary to indicate the relative status of speaker and listener. The consistent inventory of Japanese is relatively small, and has a lexically distinct pitch-accent system.

The Japanese language is conformed for a combination of three different classes of scripts: Chinese characters called kanji, and two syllabic scripts made up of modified Chinese characters, hiragana and katakana. The Latin alphabet, romaji, is regularly used in modern Japanese, usually for company names, emblems, advertising, and when inputting Japanese into a computer. Western style Arabic numerals are generally used for numbers, but traditional Sino-Japanese numerals are also commonplace.

Japanese Characters

The story ignores the origins of the Japanese language; this is a mystery, until the sixth century it only existed in the spoken form. Once the Japanese imported Chinese characters, known as kanji, they start to formulate their own forms of written language.

Japanese Grammar

Basic Japanese grammar is simple. Complicating factors such as gender articles and distinctions among plural and singular are missing almost completely. Conjugation rules for verbs and adjectives are simple and almost free of exceptions.

Common words and phrases in Japanese

Some useful common words and phrases in Japanese.

Japanese Pronunciation

Unlike other languages, Japanese has relatively few sounds, and pronunciation gives little problems to several learners. The biggest problems are accents, which do exist, but to a much lower dimension than in the Chinese language. Taking some lessons will make easier the study of Japanese. Many students decide to combine an online course with self-study or tradicional lessons at a language school.

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