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Questions tagged [japanese]

The national language of Japan, member of the small Japonic language family, otherwise considered to be isolated. For non-linguistic questions about the Japanese language, visit our sister site Japanese Language Stack Exchange.

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What languages lack personal pronouns, and why?

The Japanese language lacks personal pronouns in the IE sense. Japanese is very pro-drop, and often sentences will be constructed so personal pronouns do not appear, and the agents which the pronouns ...
dainichi's user avatar
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32 votes
8 answers
23k views

Why do Japanese people have difficulties in pronouncing English?

When I watch Anime, I notice that Japanese English pronunciation is really bad, they twist all the sounds, and they can't pronounce sounds like "L". I think English is the easiest language when it ...
Ichigo Kurosaki's user avatar
23 votes
8 answers
9k views

Does Japanese have determiners?

It's generally established that Japanese does not have the grammatical category of articles (akin to English "a/an" and "the"). But as mentioned in this answer, the concept of articles seems to be ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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22 votes
12 answers
56k views

Why was korea able to remove kanji but japan wasn't when both languages use homophones?

I am strictly interested in the question of homophones and kanji. Korean has homophones yet they removed the Chinese characters and are getting by just fine? Or are they? Japanese kanji lovers say ...
Alex's user avatar
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22 votes
7 answers
4k views

Are the Japanese and Korean subject particles known to be related in any way, including by Sprachbund?

Japanese and Korean have strikingly similar grammars but whether they are related or not is an open question. Both languages have a particle to mark the grammatical subject of a sentence and in fact ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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22 votes
4 answers
4k views

Does Japanese have pronouns?

It is often said that Japanese doesn't really have a pronoun word class, such as in the Wikipedia article on Japanese Grammar: Although many grammars and textbooks mention pronouns (代名詞 daimeishi), ...
curiousdannii's user avatar
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15 votes
3 answers
1k views

Are there other pairs of languages that are as close grammatically despite not being in the same language family as Korean and Japanese?

Though there are many theories grouping Korean and Japanese in the same family, none of these are widely accepted by linguists. Yet the grammars of these two languages are extremely similar in many ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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15 votes
2 answers
2k views

In Japanese, why do certain consonants change depending on the vowel?

I was wondering why in Japanese, certain consonants change depending on the vowel. For example: Consonants that do not change: ka / ki / ku / ke / ko na / ni / nu / ne / no Consonants that do ...
Alan C's user avatar
  • 401
15 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why Korean transcriptions of Japanese words uses the letters ㄱ,ㄷ,ㅈ for initial /k/, /t/, /tɕ/ while using ㅋ,ㅌ,ㅊ for other languages?

Looking at Korean transcription rules for Japanese, I noticed that for some consonants, the hangul transcription would change if it was in the initial position: https://kornorms.korean.go.kr//regltn/...
kanazoshi's user avatar
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14 votes
4 answers
2k views

Are there any papers etc analyzing Japanese as a language with noun cases rather than particles?

Japanese is often included in lists of agglutinating languages. Many (most?) agglutinating languages are analysed as having case systems. Of course cases and prepositions/postpositions fill the same ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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12 votes
4 answers
11k views

Why is Korean considered a language isolate?

According to the Wikipedia article on Koreanic languages: Among extant languages, Korean is considered by most linguists to be a language isolate and by others as part of the widely rejected ...
Alex Kinman's user avatar
11 votes
5 answers
3k views

Why did Japanese borrow words for simple numbers from Chinese?

I just realised that all (standalone) Japanese numbers from 1-10 are borrowed from Chinese (maybe except 4 and 7 if they're read as よん and なな instead of し and しち). Now, I understand why a language ...
HypnoSkales's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is use of sorting expected and used in East Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean)?

For an English speaker with 26 characters, the concept of sorting is ubiquitous. If I see a list, I inherently expect it to be sorted by one of the columns, and of course clicking a column to sort is ...
Oliver Williams's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
395 views

When and how did the Japanese honorific system evolve?

I know that languages, in general, can denote honorifics, especially with second person pronouns (T/V distinction, etc), and I imagine that the Japanese system of honorifics is probably an extension ...
Breaking Bioinformatics's user avatar
10 votes
5 answers
17k views

Why do Korean and Japanese sound similar to each other to native speakers of English?

I don't understand why, but Korean and Japanese sound very similar to me, and also to other native speakers of English. I think I once read a comment saying something like "If it sounds like Japanese ...
Golden Cuy's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
4k views

Relationship between Turkish/Azeri and Japanese/Korean

How are Turkish and Azeri related to Japanese and Korean? Are there obvious similarities between them?
Mo Sanei's user avatar
  • 333
10 votes
1 answer
359 views

What gave rise to the manual alphabet for Latin characters in Japanese Sign Language?

I am aware of the fact that this question is rather specific, but anyway I would like to give it a try. Japanese Sign Language has three manual alphabets: one for representing kana-characters, and ...
onionics's user avatar
  • 101
9 votes
2 answers
3k views

In what way is Japanese related to Sanskrit?

The Wikipedia says that Japanese katakana vowels “The gojūon inherits its vowel and consonant order from Sanskrit practice. “. Could expert explains this in easy language?
Ying Xiong's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
859 views

Is it accurate - Chinese Wikipedia on Japanese/Korean classification

I'm not very updated on random theories regarding the Altaic theory (which I personally am agnostic about; though I slant towards not believing in it due to the extreme lack of any regular sound ...
ithisa's user avatar
  • 395
8 votes
4 answers
1k views

How common is a topic particle beyond just Japanese and Korean?

Both Japanese and Korean are "topic-comment" languages and both have an explicit topic particle. (I believe Chinese might be an example of a topic-comment language without a topic particle but I may ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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7 votes
4 answers
2k views

Can the Chinese script be used to record non-Chinese languages?

I know of at least 3 countries in the Sinosphere that have historically used the Chinese script (or scripts derived from it) - Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. So how did it work? Did they use it to read ...
sashoalm's user avatar
  • 510
6 votes
1 answer
388 views

What is the difference between the nominative case and the subject?

I'm studying Japanese and recently I came across the term "double nominatives". The idea is that ga marks the nominative case, so a phrase with two ga has two phrases in the nominative case: boku ga ...
OdraEncoded's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
447 views

Discourse analysis of Japanese particles?

Have there been any English language attempts (preferably readily-available) to define Japanese particles from the perspective of discourse analysis? Some of the things I would be interested to see ...
Justin Olbrantz's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
325 views

Abbreviations for pinyin and hepburn transliterations?

Are there 2 letter ISO codes for the pinyin or hepburn transliterations? If not, are there non-ISO abbreviations in common use? Thanks.
posfan12's user avatar
  • 163
6 votes
0 answers
147 views

Term for non-homograph homophone synonyms?

In Japanese, 熱い and 暑い are both read atsui and both mean 'hot'. The former pertains to an object (e.g. hot coffee) and the latter to weather. In French 'cuissot' and 'cuisseau' have the same ...
Mathieu Bouville's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
660 views

Pronunciation in languages from East Asia of words that are Japanese loanwords in English

In English, most loanwords from Japanese are pronounced similarly to the Japanese word. It isn't an exact match, for example with "karaoke" the pronunciation of the second "a" differs between English ...
Golden Cuy's user avatar
  • 1,238
5 votes
2 answers
829 views

What is the maximum number of forms a (modern) Japanese verb can take?

Recently I've begun to wonder how many possible forms can be made from a single Japanese verb. I asked a similar question first on the Japanese Language & Usage site, where I received some ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 14.7k
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Suppletion vs. missing verb forms

Japanese is famous for its very few irregular verbs, but there are some cases where verb-forms are missing and other verbs/adjectives are used instead. For example, (in standard Japanese) the verb ある ...
dainichi's user avatar
  • 1,564
5 votes
1 answer
543 views

Japanese terms from Sanskrit

This question started when I learned that "hannya haramita" (般若波羅蜜多) comes from Sanskrit "prajñā pāramitā" (प्रज्ञापारमिता). It is not hard to see that what was /p/ in Sanskrit ...
Ergative Man's user avatar
  • 1,446
5 votes
0 answers
222 views

What language/script did Japan during the Yamato period and earlier have?

The Yamato period (300 - 710) had an organized ruler, civilozation, etc. However, only in Nara period (710 - 794), which existed along with the Tang dynasty of China, a Japanese script and language ...
Andy W.'s user avatar
  • 51
4 votes
2 answers
650 views

Is grammar the main barrier to Japanese people understanding English?

Although a much higher proportion of Japanese people understand English than people from English-speakering countries understand Japanese, it isn't as high as the Scandinavian countries. I wouldn't ...
Golden Cuy's user avatar
  • 1,238
4 votes
1 answer
350 views

Japanese kun'yomi with final N? [closed]

It is thought that the moraic post-vocalic consonant [N], spelt with ん, appeared in Japanese under the Chinese influence, with the influx of borrowings. Are there any kun-readings in Japanese that ...
Alexander Z.'s user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
872 views

Is Swahili a Mora-counting language like Japanese?

I have this simple question on Kiswahili, a Bantu language. As you know in english, we can not always define morae. it's completely different from Japanese morae system. But when I learn Swahili, ...
mt.tread's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
439 views

Why is transliteration of japanese always done English-style while transliteration from other non-latin script languges doesn't?

So it's a common issue that words transliterated from a non-latin alphabet towards latin alphabet will depend on which language using the latin alphabet they're translated into. Arabic example : The ...
Bregalad's user avatar
  • 344
4 votes
4 answers
323 views

Generic name for Hànzì/Kanji/Hanja/Chữ nôm/Sawndip?

So I was thinking about how to talk about these characters in a culturally-neutral way. Chinese seems to be used, but it implies a particular way of writing characters (not to mention it makes it ...
Chris Slojkowski's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
1k views

Are Japanese honorific お and ご prefixes, particles, or both?

In Japanese there are two morphemes which are used before certain nouns as part of the honorific system: お (o) ご (go) Which terms can be used to refer to these out of "prefix" and "particle"? I ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 14.7k
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

Etymology of Japanese no/na/ni/ga?

What is the current accepted origin of the Japanese particles no/na/ni/ga? One account I heard was that all were descended from a common root: an existential verb nu or ni, where ni was the ...
Justin Olbrantz's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
627 views

Is the concept of syllables pronunciation-relevant in languages with mora-based pronunciation?

Japanese pronunciation is mora-based (correct me if there is a better word), i.e. each mora is pronounced with equal length. Still I sometimes see the concept of syllables used, e.g. 疲労 /hirō/ '...
dainichi's user avatar
  • 1,564
4 votes
1 answer
771 views

What are arguments for and against a common origin of Korean and Japanese?

Now, Korean and Japanese have been proposed to be part of other language families, for instance Altaic, but Altaic is not considered a valid term subterfuged by evidence as much as Sino-Tibetan and ...
Abdul Al Hazred's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
347 views

Basic resource on Japanese phonetics

Could you recommend a good reference for studying Japanese phonetics?
4 votes
1 answer
102 views

"Quoted speech" forms in Japanese

Consider the following sentences in standard Japanese: とても小さな文字を読もうとしました。 それを信じようという気は更になかった。 なんで外国語を学ぶのに勇気が要るかというと、最初は失敗ばかりするからです。 大人になっても可愛くいたいという意識があるのかも知れません。 Below are the same four sentences, ...
kjo's user avatar
  • 279
4 votes
2 answers
170 views

What methods do languages use to re-introduce the subject of a passive construction?

In German and Spanish (I think), you use the word for 'from'. In Japanese though, I think they use 'ni' (which can either mean 'to' or 'at'). In English we use the preposition 'by', which is rarely ...
user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
247 views

Is the social relationship between listener and referent grammatically realized in japanese or korean?

I know that the social relationship between speaker, listener and referent are grammatically realized in japanese and korean. I know there are different levels for the relation between speaker and ...
meireikei's user avatar
  • 745
3 votes
2 answers
937 views

The difference between the phonemes /p/ and /b/ in Japanese

Is there any difference between the phonemes /p/ and /b/ in Japanese ? In English, they are pretty distinguishable. E.g: 'Bat' and 'pat' In Japanese, however, I get lost trying to tell which is which. ...
Kenny FürEver's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
1k views

Are there other languages where pronouns behave like they do in Japanese, Korean, and Ryukyuan?

In Japanese and Korean (and I have to assume the Okinawan / Ryukyuan languages also), pronouns are quite different from most other languages from most families in at least two ways I can think of: ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 14.7k
3 votes
2 answers
378 views

Why can Japanese Godan verbs only have nine possible consonant sounds before the final -u?

The dictionary form of Japanese verbs always ends in a -u syllable. Ichidan (one row or single-step in German) verbs will always end in -る (-ru, e.g. 食べる, taberu, to eat) while godan (five rows or ...
Jan's user avatar
  • 1,160
3 votes
1 answer
135 views

Markers for size, shape etc. on number words in Japanese

Some languages, such as Japanese, mark number words with suffixes denoting size, shape, and other qualities (e.g., ichi (one) becomes ippon for one book). Why would such a linguistic practice develop?
fred's user avatar
  • 31
3 votes
1 answer
207 views

Differences between free languages and official languages?

In short: as far as I know, English in the USA has no official standards from the government for how it's to be written and used. There are just dictionaries. Spanish however, has the RAE, which is an ...
OtheJared's user avatar
  • 131
3 votes
0 answers
213 views

Where can I find Japanese-English (manually) word-aligned corpora?

I'm looking for as many very reliable Japanese-English corpora as possible so I'd like to ask: Are there any other manually aligned corpora besides KFFT's and Utiyama's? What are the most accurate ...
user2779's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
4k views

Which of 可爱/可愛い was exported to the other between Chinese and Japanese?

In Chinese (Mandarin), there exists a word 可爱 that means "pretty" or "cute" in English. In Japanese, there is also a word 可愛い (adjective) that means the same thing in English. Given that both words ...
Blaszard's user avatar
  • 553