Japanese with japanese to english is the 9th most widely spoken language in the world, with more than 125 million people speaking Japanese. And in terms of complexity, the Japanese language is in the list of absolute leaders. Everything is complicated in it – grammar, phonetics, vocabulary, morphology.
But what scares newcomers who decide to enroll in Japanese for beginners at the InaTriol school? Not even an abundance of hieroglyphs, which will take a long time and hard to learn to write (and not draw!) Correctly. It is frightening to have a certain vocabulary for different styles of speech. True, this fear passes with time, thanks to our teachers.
So, if you decide to learn Japanese for work, travel or other purposes, it will not be superfluous to have a general idea of its main features. Here are 15 of the most interesting facts about Japanese that will help you get to know it better:
Three types of writing.
Japanese uses three types of writing at the same time – hiragana (a syllable system for writing Japanese words), katakana (a syllable system for writing words borrowed from other languages) and kanji (hieroglyphic writing).
And this is not the limit that an educated Japanese can and should master. Do not be alarmed, for a foreigner to communicate correctly with native speakers, it is enough to know only 2000-5000 of these cute “squiggles” (of course, taking into account syllabic
hiragana and katakana alphabets).
Honorific Forms: Are You Polite Enough?
Communication in Japanese In this language, there are several levels of politeness (colloquial, respectful, polite and very polite), which are called honorific forms. These words and grammatical constructions are quite difficult to learn, but you will have to master them in order to communicate correctly with older or superior people.
Japanese is a language with poor phonetics, it lacks such familiar sounds as “l”, “g”, “v”, “z”. And how are you see, many words sound completely different from what one might expect. But this also has its own “highlights”.
Hieroglyphs should be written, not drawn!
Hieroglyphs are not just a set of sticks. Certain information is encoded in these symbols and english to hindi translation. You should take their writing seriously and avoid mistakes.
Negative – as in German.
If you are at least a little familiar with the German language, then you know that the negation in it is placed at the end of the sentence. In Japanese it’s the same story. In practice, it is enough for the speaker to add the negation of “nai” at the end of the sentence to change the meaning of what was said to the opposite.
Verbs without a future…
Japanese is also surprising in that the verbs in it do not have the form of the future tense, but are used only in the present and past. And how to understand the meaning of the sentence, you ask? From context or clarification.
Many Japanese are good at singing and drawing. Maybe in mastering music they are helped by a language in which each word has
maybe a different accent? There are three levels of pitch: high, medium and low. Moreover, the distance between the low and medium tone is equal to a third. And here’s an example for you: the word “ame” with a low accent on the first syllable means “rain”, and if we put the stress on the second syllable and raise the tone to the middle one, we will translate the same word as “gelatin candy”!
Months do not have names in Japanese. Instead, numbers. But everything here, thank God, is in order: September is the ninth month of the year, or “kugatsu”.
It’s not easy to say “I”.
It is difficult to speak Japanese not only with others, but also about yourself. Our “I” in Japanese correspond to a variety of words. And you will have to use this or that word, you guessed it, depending on the situation and the characteristics of the speaker. If the simplest form sounds like “watashi”, then the feminine and masculine forms will sound different – “watakushi” and “boku”.
Without number, face and gender.
Nouns in Japanese do not have the grammatical categories of number, person, and gender. Thus, they do not have direct parallels with Russian or some European languages.
Words and even whole phrases in Japanese are often omitted if they are clear from the context. You can even omit the subject or predicate.
The Japanese do not have selected “strong words”. The most terrible curses from Japanese are comparable to our almost harmless “fool” or “idiot”. But in Japanese, the degree of insult also depends on the intonation and volume with which the curses were uttered.
Japanese has a surprising amount of words borrowed from English. Therefore, even with an average knowledge of the language of Shakespeare, the chances of successfully mastering Japanese increase significantly!
Did you know that words like “cotton wool” or “pollock” are borrowed from Japanese? And the Japanese, in turn, borrowed the word “caviar” from the Russians, turning it into “ikura”. It is impossible not to mention the well-known story with the expression “wu people” (“to the people”), which the Japanese borrowed from Alexander II himself!