Thursday, August 4, 2011

5 Interesting Things About the Japanese Language

Learning how to speak Japanese, I have found many interesting things about the language & culture and narrowed it down to five:
  • There are 129 Japanese words for "honor".
  • The two languages of Japan are "ichi nihongo" which is spoken by 99% of the population and "ni nihongo" which is only spoken by the emperor.
  • You're supposed to bow after every sentence.
  • On Sundays, everyone in Japan has to speak English.
  • In terms of speaking etiquette, there's three: casual form, polite form, and samurai form.
Okay, I was bored and made those up. I hope I didn't offend anyone. lol.

(a picture from my 3D portfolio)

Now on to the real post...

5 Interesting Things About the Japanese Language
  • The verb goes at the end of the sentence. However, certain non-verbs are put at the end after the verb like "yo" (for sure), "ne" (right\yeah?), "kara" (because), and "kedo" (though).
  • There are no question marks. In writing, they may use question marks for style or emphasis but grammatically & traditionally, question marks don't exist. Instead, simply adding か (ka) at the end of a sentence changes its meaning into a question.
  • Every syllable ends in a vowel sound. Examples are "a-ri-ga-to" and "sa-yo-na-ra". The exception is "n" (like in "Japan") and de-voiced vowels (like the "u" in "masu", "desu", and "kokusai").
  • There are three ways to write every word. They are ひらがな (hiragana) which looks more rounded, カタカナ (katakana) which looks straighter, and 漢字 (kanji) which looks Chinese (that's b\c it is Chinese). All three are used regularly and intermixed with each other.
  • Many Japanese words are borrowed from English. A few words include "konpyuta" (computer), "koohii" (coffee), "miruku" (milk), "gorufu" (golf), and my favorite, "kurejitto kaado" (credit card). And no, I'm not being racist. Look these up yourself!

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