Japanese Language

Japanese Language

Japanese (日本語, Nihongo?, /ni.ho.ɴ.go/, ) is an East Asian language spoken by about 125 million speakers, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. It is a member of the Japonic (or Japanese-Ryukyuan) language family, whose relation to other language groups is debated, particularly to Korean and the Altaic language family.

Little is known of the language's prehistory, or when it first appeared in Japan. 3rd century Chinese documents recorded a few Japanese words, but substantial texts did not appear until the 8th century. During the Heian period (794–1185), Chinese had a considerable influence on the vocabulary and phonology of Old Japanese. Late Middle Japanese (1185–1600) saw changes in features that brought it closer to the modern language, as well the first appearance of European loanwords. The standard dialect moved from the Kansai region to the Edo (modern Tokyo) region in the Early Modern Japanese period (early 17th century–mid-19th century). Following the end in 1853 of Japan's self-imposed isolation, the flow of loanwords from European languages has increased significantly. English loanwords in particular have become frequent, and Japanese words from English roots have proliferated.

Japanese is an agglutinative, mora-timed language with simple phonotactics, a pure vowel system, phonemic vowel and consonant length, and a lexically significant pitch-accent. Word order is normally subject–object–verb with particles marking the grammatical function of words, and sentence structure is topic–comment. Sentence-final particles are used to add emotional or emphatic impact, or make questions. Nouns have no grammatical number, gender or article aspect. Verbs are conjugated, primarily tense and voice, but not person. Japanese equivalents of adjectives are also conjugated. Japanese has a complex system of honorifics with verb forms and vocabulary to indicate the relative status of the speaker, the listener, and persons mentioned.

Japanese has no genealogical relationship with Chinese, but makes extensive use of Chinese characters, or kanji (漢字?), in its writing system and a large portion of its vocabulary is borrowed from Chinese. Along with kanji, the Japanese writing system primarily uses two syllabic (or moraic) scripts, hiragana (ひらがな or 平仮名?) and katakana (カタカナ or 片仮名?). Latin script is used in a limited way, often in the form of rōmaji, and the numeral system uses mostly Arabic alongside traditional Chinese numerals. Japanese was little studied by non-Japanese before the Japanese economic bubble of the 1980s. Since then, along with the spread of Japanese popular culture, the number of students of Japanese has reached the millions.

Read more about Japanese Language:  Geographic Distribution, Classification, Phonology, Vocabulary, Writing System, Study By Non-native Speakers

Other articles related to "japanese language, japanese, language":

Japanese Language - Study By Non-native Speakers
... See also category Japanese-language education by country Many major universities throughout the world provide Japanese language courses, and a number of secondary ... This is much changed from before World War II in 1940, only 65 Americans not of Japanese descent were able to read, write and understand the language ... International interest in the Japanese language dates from the 19th century but has become more prevalent following Japan's economic bubble of the 1980s and the ...
Literary Language - Other Languages - Japanese
... Until the late 1940s, the prominent literary language in Japan was Classical Japanese language (文語 "Bungo"), which is based on the language spoken in Heian Period (Late Old Japanese) and is different ... relevance for historians, literary scholars, and lawyers (many Japanese laws that survived World War II are still written in bungo, although there are ongoing efforts to modernize their language) ... are occasionally used in modern Japanese for effect, and fixed form poetries like Haiku and Tanka are still mainly written in this form ...
Minae Mizumura - Works
... The Fall of the Japanese Language in the Age of English (Nihongo ga Horobiru Toki – Eigo no Seiki no Nakade), Chikuma Shobo, (ISBN 4480814965) 2008 ... Reading in the Japanese Language (Nihongo wo Yomutoiukoto), Chikuma Shobo, (ISBN 9784480815019) 2009 ... Writing in the Japanese Language (Nihongo wo Kakutoiukoto), Chikuma Shobo, (ISBN 9784480815026) 2009 ...
Ministry Of Education Language Centre - Courses
... The Bishan MOELC offers the French language, German language and the Japanese language while the Newton MOELC offers the French language and the Japanese language under ... The Malay language is not included in both as it is generally considered a mother tongue ... The Malay language courses have both a Malay (Special Programme) and a Higher Malay track for different degrees of advancement in the language ...
Minae Mizumura
... Mizumura Minae?, born 1951) is a novelist currently writing in the Japanese language ... wrote her first published work in the English language, a scholarly essay on the literary criticism of Paul de Man ... She is often portrayed as a Japanese novelist who questions the conventional boundaries of national literature ...

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