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112 votes

Why do Japanese people have difficulties in pronouncing English?

Several reasons: English pronunciation isn't easy Don't think that, just because you find it easy, most people in the world will; English pronunciation is actually quite complex by any measure. ...
melissa_boiko's user avatar
21 votes
Accepted

Why is Korean considered a language isolate?

Remember "isolate" doesn't mean "shown to be unrelated to any other language". It means "not shown to be related to any other language" (in a sufficiently convincing manner to establish a consensus). ...
brass tacks's user avatar
  • 18.3k
21 votes

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

It must be remembered that in the Japanese language system, the lexeme's sound and the lexeme's spelling are much less correlated with each other than even in Chinese; the phenomenon of 訓読み kun'yomi ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
  • 7,516
19 votes

Why do Japanese people have difficulties in pronouncing English?

Here's an answer from developmental psychology: When a baby is born they can natively pronounce phonemes of every language, but as they develop, their brains are constantly calculating and keeping ...
Steven's user avatar
  • 307
16 votes

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

Yes, all of these cultures expect and use sorting pretty much just like alphabet-using cultures do. Japanese has a set of some 46 phonetic characters called kana. They're arranged by phonetics in a ...
melissa_boiko's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

Why did Japanese borrow words for simple numbers from Chinese?

Besides prestige reasons, there is also the fact that the Old Japanese numeral systems can be seen as inconvenient, especially for higher numbers. Disadvantages compared to the Chinese system are: ...
Dodezv's user avatar
  • 411
12 votes

Why did Japanese borrow words for simple numbers from Chinese?

The reason is similar to the reason why English has borrowed (French) words for beef, pork, mutton even though there are Germanic words for cows, swine and sheep. There is a tendency to borrow words ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.2k
11 votes

In what way is Japanese related to Sanskrit?

Due to the study of Buddhism and its scriptures in the source language (either Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit or Pali) Japanese scholars were aware of the structure of the Indic scripts finally coming from ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

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

I assume you mean "what is the difference in pronunciation between Japanese /p/ and /b/?". English and French also have /p,b/ but the physical realization of that contrast differs. French ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.2k
10 votes

Japanese kun'yomi with final N?

Kun-readings are an orthographic notation for the native lexical stratum (Yamato-kotoba). So the underlying question is, are there native morphemes with closed syllables (that is, with a consonant at ...
melissa_boiko's user avatar
10 votes

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?

As you may know, "single" stops in Korean are weakly aspirated in initial position only (audio example), so Japanese stops in the unvoiced series (such as た) correspond to Korean "...
jogloran's user avatar
  • 5,144
9 votes
Accepted

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

The similarity in sound is the result of two factors: overlapping phonetic inventories, and word length (which affects syllable duration). If you wanted to quantify the similarity, those would be the ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.2k
8 votes

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

The goal of the Hepburn system is to provide a more or less regular, unified system for writing Japanese using the Roman alphabet. Though superficially similar to English, it doesn't have to follow ...
Locoluis's user avatar
  • 456
8 votes
Accepted

Etymology of ぐるぐる

Chinese gūlu < *kʰaːroːɡ is probably not onomatopoeic, especially if it came from (PIE) *kʷékʷlos "wheel" (related to English "circle") as Bauer suggests. Japanese guruguru &...
melissa_boiko's user avatar
7 votes

Does Japanese have pronouns?

The OP focused on one peculiarity of Japanese pronouns: they can be qualified. One can note that in English 'me' rather than 'I' would be qualified and if there is any conjugation it will be in the ...
Mathieu Bouville's user avatar
7 votes

Why do Korean and Japanese share similar borrowed Chinese characters and is different from Chinese language?

TL;DR: language contact between Japanese and Korean has been particularly strong due to historical factors. There have been some papers that break down the different paths of divergence between them ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
  • 7,516
6 votes

What languages lack personal pronouns, and why?

According to WALS, Wichita and Wari' lacks any personal pronoun. Since they're polysynthetic languages, they probably used personal affixes to convey the same meaning instead. (And this is not just ...
Xwtek's user avatar
  • 221
6 votes

Why do Japanese people have difficulties in pronouncing English?

Part of a theory of foreign pronunciation proceeds straightforwardly from David Stampe's theory Natural Phonology. Every natural language is phonetically difficult for a child, because many sounds ...
Greg Lee's user avatar
  • 12.5k
6 votes

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

Extremely similar phonemic systems. In particular, both languages tightly limit syllable-ending consonants, unlike English which permits almost any consonant to end a syllable. Large numbers of loan ...
Joe Walsh's user avatar
  • 129
6 votes

What exactly is the Japanese 'u' sound?

The labelling of phonemes is fairly arbitrary: we say English has an /d/ phoneme, for example, but it may not ever be realized as a true perfect IPA [d]. Reconstructed languages often have phonemes ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 67.1k
6 votes
Accepted

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

"Multiple Nominative Constructions in Japanese and Their Theoretical Implications", by Masahiro AKIYAMA, indicates that in at least some Japanese sentences with multiple noun phrases marked by ga, ...
brass tacks's user avatar
  • 18.3k
6 votes
Accepted

Pronunciation and spelling of English loanwords in Japanese

Many of the 外来語 gairaigo loanwords in Japanese are indeed from German, many of which date from the very late 19th century / early 20th century. アレルギー arerugī (note the long i at the end!!!) is ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
  • 7,516
6 votes
Accepted

Japanese is in its own lingustic family, but it sure seems to have a lot in common with Turkish

Japanese and Turkish are structurally similar, if you compare them to English, Spanish, Vietnamese or Arabic. They are somewhat more like Arabic, but I am guessing that you don't speak Arabic so you ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.2k
5 votes

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

A common origin for two languages is a concept that has been proposed and theoretically grounded within the comparative method invented at the beginning of the 19th cent. by Rask, Bopp and Grimm. Two ...
Artemij Keidan's user avatar
5 votes

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

Atypically for a sign language, many JSL morphemes are derived in some way from the writing of the society's spoken language (I could suggest that's because Japanese has quite an unusual way of ...
Omar and Lorraine's user avatar
5 votes

To what extent can Japanese Kana be adapted to the Spanish language and be intelligible?

The phonology of Spanish might be vaguely similar to that of Japanese but the differences are also relevant. There are many consonantal clusters in Spanish and also word final consonants, and this ...
Artemij Keidan's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Can the voiceless velar fricative, [x], be represented in Japanese?

I will assume that by "translate" you mean which syllables in words loaned by Japanese correspond to [x] in their source language. The answer is that words containing [x] which come directly from ...
jogloran's user avatar
  • 5,144
5 votes

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

It's an old question, but no one gave an answer that covers Korean. Korean is written in Hangul, which combines "initial", "middle", and (an optional) "final" letters in a single syllable block. For ...
Ignatius's user avatar
  • 357
5 votes

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

Besides what others mentioned here, there's also the fact that as foreigners, we are more likely to hear the similarities (especially when we know a few words) than the differences. For me, after I ...
Carl Dombrowski's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Vowel Deletion and Allophone variation in Japanese High Vowel Clusters?

Since the only syllable-final consonants in Japanese are /N/, a nasal whose place always assimilates to the following consonant, and /Q/, which geminates the following consonant, and there are no ...
Nardog's user avatar
  • 4,951

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