We are sure that you have seen those viral videos online about the uniqueness of Japan. From their ramen vending machines, to bullet train square watermelons to their smart toilets, the Japanese come up with the most fascinating inventions. And have you tried their square watermelons or visited their Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama? No? We highly recommend that you experience these when in Japan.
As fascinating as Japan is, did you know that the Japanese language also has many interesting facts? With the popularisation of anime and manga, people all across the globe are taking interest in learning Japanese language. According to Statista, as of 2021, over 126 million people speak Japanese.
Some of the most interesting facts about the Japanese language.
1. 13th most spoken language in the world
According to data released by Statista in 2021, out of over 7000 languages in the world, the Japanese language ranked 13th in the most spoken languages in the world with over 126 million native speakers.
2. Japanese is an ‘isolate’ Language
The Japanese language is one of the few language isolates in the world.
Now, you may be wondering what language isolate means. Well, Wikipedia defines it as “ a language that is unrelated to any others. In the absolute sense, it is a natural language with no demonstrable genealogical (or “genetic”) relationship—one that has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common with any other language.”
3. It does not have Definite or Indefinite Article
Articles such as ‘a’, ‘an’ or ‘the’ are not there in the Japanese language.
4. It has four alphabets
The Japanese language has 4 alphabets, which are-
- Kanji: This was imported from the Chinese alphabet somewhere in the 3rd century. The Kanji alphabets are logograms and consist of over 50,000 characters.
- Hiragana: It is the basic way of writing in Japanese. Hiragana characters are curly shaped like the English cursive.
- Katakana: They are used for loan words such as animal names, food or companies and are usually used for emphasis.
- Romaji: Meaning “Roman letters”, Romaji is the use of Latin script.
5. The months don’t have names in Japanese
The months are given numbers 1 to 12, with January taking the lead.
6. It follows subject-object-verb order
While the English language uses the subject-verb-object- order, the Japanese language uses the subject-object-verb.
7. It’s real name is Nihongo
Although we simply call it Japanese, the native people of Japan call it Nihongo.
8. It has two main writing styles
The Japanese language can either be written horizontally or vertically.
9. There are no plurals
To understand when some say something is plural or single depends on the context of the sentence.
10. It’s one of the world’s fastest spoken languages
With an average rate of 7.84 syllables per second, it is considered to be way faster than many other languages such as English, which has an average rate of 6.19 syllables per second.
11. It has many common words with Chinese.
This is due to the influence that Chinese culture had on Japan as many words are written in the same way such as genius” 天才, which is pronounced ‘tsièn-sai’ in Chinese ane ‘tensai’ in Japanese.
12. Japanese comes first for Japanese Emigrants
Even after they’ve migrated to other countries, Japanese tend to bring their language and culture with them and utilise as much as possible especially within their communities.
13. Spell Of Homophones
Homophones that have different meanings are pronounced the same. For instance, there are 8 different characters for the word “shin”, which are God, advance, believe, new, true, stretch, heart, and parent.
14. Polite language
Known for their politeness and good manners, Japanese also ensure that their language is structured in a polite manner, be it spoken or written.
15. Days are named after 7 mobile stars known during Antiquity
The Japanese days (Monday to Sunday) are derived from the 7 mobile stars known during Antiquity, which are the Sun, the Moon, Mars (kanji of fire), Mercury (kanji of the water), Jupiter (wood kanji), Venus (metal kanji) and Saturn (earth kanji).
16. Many Japanese words are used by other countries
The words we use such as karaoke, tofu, anime, origami, and so on are originally Japanese words.
17. 7th most languages used on the Internet for 2021
According to Statista, Japanese language is the most commonly used language on the Internet in 2021. It comes after English, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, and Indonesian/Malaysian. It has been on the list since 2011.
18. One must know 2000 kanji to be able to read a newspaper
Out of over 4,476 kanji, you need to know at least 2000 kanji to be able to read a newspaper smoothly.
19. Origins of the Japanese language are unknown
Historically, the origins of the Japanese language is not known and text with Japanese only appeared in the 8th century.
20. It is not a tonal language
Unlike Vietnamese, Chinese or Thai, the Japanese language is not tonal. The pitch accent used can differentiate homophones.
Learn Japanese Language and Explore Opportunities
If you want to learn Japanese in India, there are many offline and online courses available. For instance, if you want to learn Japanese In Delhi, institutions such as AKAL Japanese Academy offer both online and offline courses. These 6-month courses will not only teach you the Japanese language but also introduce you to the rich Japanese culture and traditions.
AKAL Japanese Academy, a dedicated training Institution under AKAL Information Systems Ltd. located in Delhi, also offers online classes to help students learn japanese online.
Under its TITP (Technical Intern Training Program) program, which is run by Japanese government, you will get the opportunity to work for up to 5 years in Japan. The program includes Japanese Language training, Japanese Culture Training, Japanese Company Selection & Placement, Visa Processing, Air Travel to Japan and 1 Month onsite training in Japan before placement.
So, if you are fascinated by the language of Japan, learn Japanese at AKAL Japanese Academy today.