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Japanese Language’s Characteristics

Japanese Language's Characteristics

Although it is the only language used in Japan, Japanese itself varies widely depending upon the speakers regional identification, sex, social status, and occupation. Regional dialects are so strong as to sometimes impede communication among people from different areas, but these differences have diminished since the educational system and mass media adopted a standard Japanese based upon the Tokyo dialect.

The sound of Japanese is distinguished by short and extended vowel sounds with meaning-significant differences between them, pitch accents, and a simple consonant-vowel syllable structure. Yet the very simplicity of the sound structure means there are necessarily many homonyms, which is another reason for retaining the ideographic kanji.

Chinese has been a major influence on Japanese culture and language, and over 60% of all Japanese words are drawn from Chinese. However, in recent years the increasing access to Western culture has meant a greater borrowing of words from Western languages, especially English.

Other features of Japanese are that it is an agglutinative language, indicating grammatical structure by attaching mark word stems, and that it has personal pronouns in itself.


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