Learn Japanese

Estimated read time 2 min read
Estimated read time 2 min read

Japanese is the language of Japan, spoken by the Japanese people. However, no law gives it the status of an official language, even though it is the language of official documents and education. Japanese is also used by the Japanese diaspora (notably in Brazil and Peru, where large communities speaking this language are established, such as in Lima and Sao Paulo), and has official language status on the island of Angaur in Palau although it is no longer spoken there.

In Japanese, “Japanese language” is called nihongo (日本語?). The characters 日本 designate Japan (cf. Names of Japan), and the last character, 語, means language. However, the Japanese also use the word kokugo (国語?, lit. “country language” or “national language”) to refer to their language.

Japanese belongs to the isolated Japanese language family. Its vocabulary has been significantly enriched over the course of history through various borrowings: the most remarkable is the presence of numerous words derived or derived from the written Chinese language, which explains why Japanese is called ” Sinoxenic language”; on the other hand, the contemporary language makes frequent borrowings from various European languages, particularly from English.

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