JapanLearn Japanese in Japan
Japanese is known to native speakers as Nihongo and is spoken by 127 million people, most of whom reside in Japan, though significant emigrant populations live in the US, Brazil and other countries. It is the 9th most commonly spoken language on the planet.
The origins of the language are unknown; however there is one other language group; the Ryukyuan languages, which is related. Japanese shares grammatical similarities with Korean, however no genetic relationship with this language can be proven. Although not historically related to Chinese, Japanese is heavily influenced by Chinese through 1500 years of cultural and language contact. Linguistic influences are evident in vocabulary and grammatical similarities as well as in the Japanese system of writing, which consists of a mixture of kanji and kana characters borrowed from the Chinese.
The standard form of the Japanese language is based on the Tokyo dialect; this form of the language has been taught to children since compulsory education was introduced in 1886. Politeness, formality, and hierarchical relationships are codified in the grammatical system of Japanese. Though a loosening of formality has been evident among the younger generation over the past few decades, it is clear that this system will not disappear anytime soon.
Japanese is the 6th most learned language in the United States also many Koreans, Chinese, and Australians are learning the language. Growing interest in Japanese is fuelled by the country's economic prosperity and the spread of pop culture trends like anime and manga.
Japanese words that have been absorbed into the English language often describe cultural imports from Japan. Some examples are: bonsai, sushi, geisha, haiku, judo, futon, tamari, tsunami, ninja, manga.