Japanese

Article

July 6, 2022

"Japanese" can also refer to Japan. Japanese (日本語, nihongo) is a language spoken primarily in Japan. In Japanese it is called nihongo (日本語), from the words Japan (nihon - 日本) and language (go - 語). Japanese is spoken by about 130 million people.

Relationship

Japanese is a difficult language to classify, as its kinship and history are largely unknown. The dialects of the Ryūkyū Islands are not infrequently considered as separate languages. These are also the only things that have been scientifically proven to be related to Japanese. There is also evidence that Japanese may have been influenced by Austronesian languages, nor can it be ruled out that Japanese is an isolated language. Considerable similarities can be traced between Japanese and Korean, without it being possible to say with certainty whether this is due to kinship or contact. Japanese as a member of the Altaic language family still has many followers. In some places outside the linguists' discussions, it has even been claimed: Japanese language is related to Korean, but unrelated to Chinese. [...] The extinct language koguryo, a language spoken in Korea, is thought to be related to Japanese. Koguryo is also claimed to be distantly related to Korean, which therefore supports the theory that Japanese is a member of the Altaic language family. A large part of the vocabulary is loanwords from Chinese; a considerable Sino-Japanese vocabulary has emerged that has played a role similar to Greek and Latin in European languages. Continued use of Chinese characters has enabled a reciprocal exchange between Sino-Japanese and Chinese. Otherwise, an ever-increasing part of the vocabulary consists of loanwords from European languages ​​such as Portuguese and Dutch, but in recent times it is undoubtedly English that has taken over the most important role there.

History

The language history can be divided into the following periods: Ancient Japanese (around 700-800 AD, Nara) Early Middle Japanese (800-1100, Heian) Late Middle Japanese (1100-1500, Kamakura, Muromachi) Early Modern Japanese (17th Century - Mid-20th Century, Edo) Modern Japanese (from the middle of the 20th century, Meiji - today, Heisei). The first hints of written Japanese words are found in the Chinese historical work Wei Chih from the end of the third century and also on various swords and mirrors from the fifth and sixth centuries. . The earliest documents of considerable length are Kojiki from the year 712, Nihon Shoki from 720 and Man'yōshū from 759. That is, within the Nara period.

Structure

Japanese is often classified as an SOV language, where the subject begins a sentence, followed by the object, and then by the verb. However, Japanese has a clause called a topic that comes before the subject, but which is often omitted when both parties in the conversation are expected to be aware of what the topic is. The language is relatively agglutinating, with a number of grammatical endings and particles that can affect the function of a word in a sentence. Font systems The Japanese written language uses three writing systems: Katakana Hiragana KanjiHiragana and Katakana characters, collectively referred to as kana, are two character sets where each character represents a single syllable. A syllable can consist of a vowel, a consonant followed by a vowel or n, and in Katakana, which otherwise covers the same syllables as Hiragana, one can also express v. While Katakana was developed using parts of Chinese characters individually, Hiragana was further developed from calligraphic forms of Chinese characters. Hiragana and Katakana today have different uses: the Katakana characters are used in modern Japanese primarily to spell foreign words and sound-painting words, while Hiragana has a more general use. In the past, the Katakana characters also had more extensive use. Kanji are Japanese varieties of Chinese characters. Most of the characters are taken from traditional and simplified Chinese, but some characters and simplifications of characters are distinctively Japanese. The characters are used to represent both words and morphemes