Overview of the Japanese Language

First let’s understand the characteristics of Japanese.

japanese

Japanese (also named Nihongo, Nippongo) is a language mainly used in Japan and between Japanese.

Although Japan does not prescribe officially the Japanese language by law, all laws and other official messages are written in Japanese.

Japanese is used in various regulations and laws, and in school Japanese is taught as the “national language”.

In fact, it is considered as the official language in Japan.

Regarding the population that uses Japanese, it is estimated at more than 130 million people, including the population in Japan, Japanese citizens living outside Japan, and some residents of the countries that were once ruled by Japan.

 

Character types

As of September 2017, 46 characters are used for “あ to ん” Hiragana, “ア to ン” Katakana, respectively.

Also, there are voiced sounds with voiced dots such as “が、ぎ ・ ・ ・” and reincarnized sounds such as “ぎゃ,ぎゅ ・ ・ ・”.

In addition, there are semi-voiced sounds with semi-voiced points such as “ぱ, ぴ ・ ・ ・” and reincarnized sounds such as “きゃ,きゅ ・ ・ ・”.

Kanji consists of 2,136 commonly-used kanji, that are required to use in daily social life, and 861 kanji, that have been stipulated by law to be used for naming children.

 

Dialect

In the Japanese language different dialects can be found.

Basically each prefecture of Japan has different dialects.

In the same prefecture there can be found several different dialects that are used, depending on the region.

 

Structure of sentences – Grammar

In Japanese, the order of words in a sentence is like “I books read” instead of “I read books”.

The word order in “I read a book” is explained as a SVO type order (subject / verb / object ) like used in English, whereas in Japanese the order used is of the SOV type.

 

Person

In English, the first person is only “I”, the second person is only “You”, but in the case of Japanese there are many ways of indicating a person, as follows.

 

First person :

English → I”

Japanese → Watashi, Watakushi, Atashi, Atakusi, Atai, Washi, Wai, Wate, Wagahai, Boku, Ore, Oira, Jibun, Temae and …”

 

Second person:

English → You”
Japanese → Anata, Anta, Kimi, Omae, Omee, Temee, Kisama, Onore, Ware, Otaku, Onushi, Kikou, Kiden and … ”

 

In addition, in the case of Japanese, the vocabulary counts many words known as onomatopoeias such as “Gatagata, Gotogoto, Dondon, Kankan” and there is also an abundance of mimetic words such as “Kyorokyoro, Zokuzoku, Iraira, Wakuwaku” .