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JAPANESE

Japanese is difficult in ways that European languages are not, but it is also surprisingly easy in ways that they can be difficult. There is no subjunctive mood to worry about, no grammatical gender, no definite or indefinite articles, and no complex conjugations according to person. It is also extremely easy to pronounce.

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WHERE IS IT SPOKEN?

JAPAN

Japanese Parasols

NUMBER OF SPEAKERS

126 MILLION

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LANGUAGE FAMILY

JAPONIC

THREE FUN FACTS ABOUT JAPANESE

1. The Japanese language is only recognized as the official language of Japan.

Of course, Japanese is the de facto language of Japan, and it’s also the only place where Japanese is the official language. However, Japanese is recognized as a minority language in the Republic of Palau, where the island state of Angaur speaks primarily Japanese. As of 2010, around 1% of Californians and 15% of Hawaiian residents speak Japanese as well.

2. Despite popular belief, Japanese has no genetic relation to Chinese.

We know that Japanese “borrows” quite a few phrases and words from Chinese. The Japanese language as a whole, however, isn’t derived from the same language family as Chinese and has no genetic relation to it whatsoever. In fact, Japanese is considered one of the most unique languages in the world with no direct derivative language that birthed it. Other such languages include Sumerian, Korean and many Native American languages.

3. A Different order

The Japanese language orders words differently than we do in English. Instead of ordering sentences by subject-verb-object (example: I write words), Japanese uses subject-object-verb (example: I words write).

Leading language 

learning in Africa 

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