Japanese language

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Introduction to Japanese Language
– Japanese is the principal language of the Japonic language family.
– It is spoken by the Japanese people, with around 128 million speakers.
– Japanese is primarily spoken in Japan, where it is the national language.
– It is also spoken by the Japanese diaspora worldwide.
– The Japonic family includes the Ryukyuan languages and the Hachijō language.

Historical Development of Japanese Language
– Little is known about the language’s prehistory or when it first appeared in Japan.
– Chinese documents from the 3rd century AD recorded a few Japanese words.
– Substantial Old Japanese texts did not appear until the 8th century.
– From the Heian period, Sino-Japanese vocabulary entered the language.
– Late Middle Japanese saw grammatical changes and the introduction of European loanwords.

Linguistic Features of Japanese Language
– Japanese is an agglutinative, mora-timed language.
– It has a relatively simple phonotactics and a pure vowel system.
– Japanese has lexically significant pitch-accent.
– Word order is subject-object-verb, and sentence structure is topic-comment.
– Sentence-final particles are used for emotional impact or to form questions.

Writing System of Japanese Language
– The Japanese writing system combines Chinese characters (kanji) with two syllabaries: hiragana and katakana.
– Kanji are used for their phonetic and semantic values.
– Manyōgana, based on kanji, was used in Old Japanese.
– Latin script (rōmaji) is also used in a limited fashion.
– The numeral system uses Arabic numerals and traditional Chinese numerals.

Development of Japanese Language over Time
– Proto-Japonic, the common ancestor of Japanese and Ryukyuan languages, arrived in Japan in the 4th century BC.
– Old Japanese was influenced by Chinese and had 88 distinct syllables.
– Early Middle Japanese underwent phonological developments and became mora-timed.
– Late Middle Japanese saw sound changes and the introduction of non-native sources.
– Modern Japanese emerged during the Edo period, with loanwords from European languages.

Japanese language (Wikipedia)

Japanese (日本語, Nihongo, [ɲihoŋɡo] ) is the principal language of the Japonic language family spoken by the Japanese people. It has around 128 million speakers, primarily in Japan, the only country where it is the national language, and within the Japanese diaspora worldwide.

Japanese
日本語
にほんご
nihongo
The kanji for Japanese (read nihongo)
Pronunciation[ɲihoŋɡo]
Native toJapan
EthnicityJapanese (Yamato)
Native speakers
~128 million (2020)
Japonic
  • Japanese
Early forms
Dialects
Signed Japanese
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-1ja
ISO 639-2jpn
ISO 639-3jpn
Glottolognucl1643  excluding Hachijo, Tsugaru, and Kagoshima
japa1256  Japanesic
Linguasphere45-CAA-a
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

The Japonic family also includes the Ryukyuan languages and the variously classified Hachijō language. There have been many attempts to group the Japonic languages with other families such as the Ainu, Austroasiatic, Koreanic, and the now-discredited Altaic, but none of these proposals has gained widespread acceptance.

Little is known of the language's prehistory, or when it first appeared in Japan. Chinese documents from the 3rd century AD recorded a few Japanese words, but substantial Old Japanese texts did not appear until the 8th century. From the Heian period (794–1185), extensive waves of Sino-Japanese vocabulary entered the language, affecting the phonology of Early Middle Japanese. Late Middle Japanese (1185–1600) saw extensive grammatical changes and the first appearance of European loanwords. The basis of the standard dialect moved from the Kansai region to the Edo region (modern Tokyo) in the Early Modern Japanese period (early 17th century–mid 19th century). Following the end of Japan's self-imposed isolation in 1853, the flow of loanwords from European languages increased significantly, and words from English roots have proliferated.

Japanese is an agglutinative, mora-timed language with relatively 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 form questions. Nouns have no grammatical number or gender, and there are no articles. Verbs are conjugated, primarily for tense and voice, but not person. Japanese 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.

The Japanese writing system combines Chinese characters, known as kanji (漢字, 'Han characters'), with two unique syllabaries (or moraic scripts) derived by the Japanese from the more complex Chinese characters: hiragana (ひらがな or 平仮名, 'simple characters') and katakana (カタカナ or 片仮名, 'partial characters'). Latin script (rōmaji ローマ字) is also used in a limited fashion (such as for imported acronyms) in Japanese writing. The numeral system uses mostly Arabic numerals, but also traditional Chinese numerals.

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