Information About the Japanese Language

Lisa R. Parker

Japanese or Nihongo is the language of more than 130 million people in Japan as well as Japanese emigrant communities. It belongs to the Japonic family of language. Although there are several suggested connections with other languages, none of them have become unanimously accepted. There is a belief that the Japaneses language has some links with the Altaic family, which also includes Turkish, Mongolian, and other languages.

In its written form, the language is made up of a mix of three scripts: kanji, which is modified Chinese characters; hiragana, composed of a basic set of characters involving vowels and consonants; and katakana composed of straight strokes and angular corners and the most basic among the scripts. Romaji, the Latin alphabet is also used often in modern Japanese. These letters are very common in company names and logos, advertising, or when inputting text into the computer.

The vocabulary of the Japaneses language got heavy influence from loaned words from other languages. Majority of the words traces its roots from the Chinese for at least 1,500 years. Since the latter part of the 19th century, the Japanese vocabulary consisted of words borrowed from the Indo-European languages. Since the special trade relationship involving Japan and Portugal in the 16th century and Netherlands during the 17th century, Portuguese and Dutch have also made significant contributions in Japanese vocabulary.

The Japaneses language consists of two forms: hyojungo, which is the standard language, and kyotsugo, or common language. These two terms are almost identical. They trace their roots from the Meiji Restoration. It was the language spoken by higher-class citizens in Tokyo as a result of the need to communicate. Hyojungo is taught in educational institutions and used for official communications as well as in the television.

In writing, bungo or literary language was distinct from kogo or colloquial language. The former served as the principal method of writing Japanese until around 1900. On the other hand, the latter is the predominant method of speaking and writing in modern times.

The Japaneses language is composed of pure vowels and no diphthongs. The consonants have multiple allophones, which can result to a large inventory of sounds.

Leave a Reply

Next Post

Psychology of Lying - 3 Bizarre Reasons Why People Lie

In order for an individual to detect that a person is telling a lie, the person needs to understand the psychology of lying to know the reason behind the act. In fact, having knowledge on the psychology of lying can help you become more observant to the different signs of […]

You May Like