The Sound of the Japanese language (Numbers, Greetings, Words & The Parable)

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Japanese (日本語 / Nihongo)
Native to: Japan
Ethnicity: Japanese (Yamato)
Native speakers: ~128 million (2020)
Language family: Japonic

is an East Asian language spoken by about 128 million people, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. It is a member of the Japonic (or Japanese-Ryukyuan) language family, and its relation to other languages, such as Korean, is debated. Japonic languages have been grouped with other language families such as Ainu, Austroasiatic, 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 recorded a few Japanese words, but substantial texts did not appear until the 8th century. During the Heian period (794–1185), Chinese had considerable influence on the vocabulary and phonology of Old Japanese. Late Middle Japanese (1185–1600) included changes in features that brought it closer to the modern language, and 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 of Japan’s self-imposed isolation in 1853, the flow of loanwords from European languages 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 or gender, and there are no articles. Verbs are conjugated, primarily for 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 clear genealogical relationship with Chinese, although it makes prevalent 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 fashion, such as for imported acronyms, and the numeral system uses mostly Arabic numerals alongside traditional Chinese numerals.


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36 Replies to “The Sound of the Japanese language (Numbers, Greetings, Words & The Parable)”

  1. 岡 勝秀の 怖い話の朗読

    I am reading aloud scary stories in Japanese.

    My Youtube channel name is "岡 勝秀の 怖い話の朗読".

    I hope you enjoy it.

  2. Polyglot Seb

    Another way of saying breakfast, lunch and dinner can also be:

    Asa gohan あさごはん(朝ごはん) – Breakfast
    Hiru gohan ひるごはん(昼ごはん) – Lunch

    Ban gohan ばんごはん(晩ごはん) – Dinner

  3. Polyglot Seb

    Just a quick disclaimer, the first set of numbers you heard are numbers which are used for counting non-living things I.e. objects. The second set is the actual numbers which you would count in a sentence 😊

  4. MyMelody5

    The phonetic syllabary of Japanese makes it one of the most pleasant language to listen to. Languages that has a lot of vowels are some of my favourites to listen to like Italian, French, Spanish and Japanese.

  5. Loubna

    The cutest language ever 😭💛
    Btw it's easier than it seems 😂 when i learned how to write and read nihongo for the first time i was on the cloud 9 😭💛

  6. 2manyIce

    Why are there two parts for numbers? Do men and women use different words for numbers? Or is one for counting (one two three) and one for places (first second third)?

  7. Michael Chan

    Old Japanese
    Classical Japanese
    Old Chinese
    Classical Chinese
    Old Korean
    Classical Korean
    Middle Chinese
    Middle Japanese
    Middle Korean

  8. boredstudent

    Ghost of Tsushima brought me here. Along with other games that take place in Japan. Like Yakuza. And Project DIVA music games also brought me here. Yup. 初音ミク (Hatsune Miku)

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