Interesting and Less-Known Facts about the Japanese Language

What Motivates People to Learn the Japanese Language

Many people find it difficult to learn the Japanese language. It has a distinct vocabulary, grammar, and characters. Nevertheless, people still keep trying to learn it given its importance. Japanese art and culture have inspired millions of people across the world. People feel motivated to learn the Japanese language so that they can understand Japanese music, songs, dramas, theatre, and movies and enjoy them without having to look at the subtitles.

It is also noteworthy that the Japanese language is growing in popularity all over the world. People from different countries live and work in Japan. The country also has trade relations with many countries across the world. Hence, learning the language is fundamentally important to integrate into Japanese culture and understand the meanings fully and appropriately. For all those interested in pursuing education in Japanese and others who adore Japanese art and culture, this article compiles important facts about the Japanese language.

Japan Has a Different Name for Itself

There are very few countries in the world that are called differently by their native speakers than their names popular in the world. You might be surprised to learn that the native people of Japan pronounce their country as ‘Nippon’. Some may call it ‘Nihon’ as well. Even though you might think that you are learning Japanese, you are trying to learn Nihongo.

The Japanese Language Hosts Distinct Writing Mechanisms

The Japanese language is an amalgamation of three distinct systems of writing. They are as follows:

  • Kanji
  • Katakana
  • Hiragana.

Even though the three systems have a unique definition and style, they are beautifully integrated into sentences in the Japanese language. The same sentence holding words from different writing systems reflects the richness and diversity of the Japanese language. People usually form sentences joining the words of hiragana and kanji, whereas katakana helps the people place more stress on the words of their choice.

Have you ever thought about the similarities between Japan and China? Apart from the fact that Japanese and Chinese people look similar to each other, the Japanese language also has a range of Chinese characters in it. For many centuries, people spoke the Japanese language but did not write it. When the scholars finally decided to carve a way to write the Japanese language, they got inspiration from the classical Chinese language.

Hence, they took various characters from kanji to include them in the Japanese language. However, because of its simplicity as compared to kanji, hiragana gradually got integrated into Japanese language writing.

For beginners, understanding the linguistic origins of words in the Japanese language may be difficult. Since it’s not an easy language, many people use Japanese to English translation services. The website translates it all for you.

The Japanese Language Has Different Formality Levels

The level of richness of a language reflects from the levels of formality in it. People often need to use words, phrases, and accents that can make a person feel respected and regarded. Luckily, the Japanese language introduces its speakers to this facility. The grammar of the Japanese language reflects the level of formality maintained by the speaker or writer in the language.

Various conjugations of verbs convey a sense of formality or a lack of it in the language. With the use of the right words, the speaker can convey to the listeners that he/she values them and has huge regard for them. Formal Japanese is not easy, though – many native speakers have a hard time finding the right words to build or maintain the formal appeal.

The Japanese Language is Devoid of Plural Form

Every language typically differentiates between one thing and a large number of things. For example, ‘man’ is a singular form, and ‘men’ is its plural form. Likewise, Urdu, Arabic, Hindi, and French have different variations of the same word to tell singular from the plural form. However, that’s not the case with the Japanese language.

There are very few languages in the world that do not differentiate between singular and plural. Whether a person wants to refer to one orange or a dozen oranges, he/she would use the same word. This lack of plurality in the language makes it difficult for new learners of the language to understand whether someone is talking about one thing or a range of things. However, native Japanese people have an inherent ability that guides them to understand what the speaker means.

The Online Popularity of Japanese Language

Do you think Japanese is a language limited to the region of Japan? Think again! Because Japanese is the third most used language on the Internet, with English being the first, and Spanish being the second. Knowing that the speakers of the Japanese language are not even 2% of the total population of the world, you might be surprised by this finding. But the fact of the matter is that nearly 10% of the users of the Internet are Japanese speakers.

Words Pronounced the Same Complicate Japanese Language

Words with the same pronunciations are called homophones. The English language has many such words, but they are abundantly found in the Japanese language. Here are a couple of meanings of one word that is pronounced ‘shin’ in the Japanese language – God, true, parent, and to believe. If you are trying to learn Japanese, you might feel like there should have been more words to express different meanings in the language, but they just lack.

Understand Japanese Culture to Learn the Language Quickly

If you are trying to learn Japanese, an effective strategy is to watch Japanese dramas and movies. They feature the actors communicating with each other and expressing emotions. You will learn how many meanings one word can hold.