Japanese Movies Wiki

A page from the Man'yōshū, the oldest anthology of classical Japanese poetry


(日本語,   Nihongo?,

is a Language widely spoken in the country of japan located in the Pacific Ocean near Australia, China and South Korea in east asia.

about over 128 million people speak the language of Japanese daily.

Little is about the language's prehistory, or when it first appeared in Japan. Chinese documents from the 3rd century recorded a few Japanese words, but substantial texts did not appear until the 8th century. During the Heian period (794–1185), Chinese had considerable influence on the vocabulary and phonology of Old Japanese. Late Middle Japanese (1185–1600) included changes in features that brought it closer to the modern language, and the first appearance of European loanwords. The standard dialect moved from the Kansai region to the Edo (modern Tokyo) region in the Early Modern Japanese period (early 17th century–mid-19th century). Following the end of Japan's self-imposed isolation in 1853, the flow of loanwords from European languages increased significantly. English loanwords, in particular, have become frequent, and Japanese words from English roots have proliferated.

Original form of Japanese[]

Old Japanese is the original type of forgotten spoken language of japanese that started in the between 4th-8th century's.

Proto-Japonic, the common ancestor of the Japanese and Ryukyuan languages, is thought to have been brought to Japan by settlers coming from either continental Asia or nearby Pacific islands sometime in the early- to mid-2nd century BC (the Yayoi period), replacing the languages of the original Jōmon inhabitants, including the ancestor of the modern Ainu language. Very little is known about the Japanese of this period. Because writing had yet to be introduced from China, there is no direct evidence, and anything that can be discerned about this period must be based on reconstructions of Old Japanese.

Old Japanese is the oldest attested stage of the Japanese language. Through the spread of Buddhism, the Chinese writing system was imported to Japan. The earliest texts found in Japan are written in Classical Chinese, but they may have been meant to be read as Japanese by the kanbun method. Some of these Chinese texts show influences of Japanese grammar, such as the word order (for example, placing the verb after the object). In these hybrid texts, Chinese characters are also occasionally used phonetically to represent Japanese particles. The earliest text, the Kojiki, dates to the early 8th century, and was written entirely in Chinese characters. The end of Old Japanese coincides with the end of the Nara period in 794. Old Japanese uses the Man'yōgana system of writing, which uses kanji for their phonetic as well as semantic values. Based on the Man'yōgana system, Old Japanese can be reconstructed as having 88 distinct syllables. Texts written with Man'yōgana use two different kanji for each of the syllables now pronounced き ki, ひ hi, み mi, け ke, へ he, め me, こ ko, そ so, と to, の no, も mo, よ yo and ろ ro. (The Kojiki has 88, but all later texts have 87. The distinction between mo1 and mo2 apparently was lost immediately following its composition.) This set of syllables shrank to 67 in Early Middle Japanese, though some were added through Chinese influence.

Due to these extra syllables, it has been hypothesized that Old Japanese's vowel system was larger than that of Modern Japanese – it perhaps contained up to eight vowels. According to Shinkichi Hashimoto, the extra syllables in Man'yōgana derive from differences between the vowels of the syllables in question. These differences would indicate that Old Japanese had an eight-vowel system, in contrast to the five vowels of later Japanese. The vowel system would have to have shrunk some time between these texts and the invention of the kana (hiragana and katakana) in the early 9th century. According to this view, the eight-vowel system of ancient Japanese would resemble that of the Uralic and Altaic language families. However, it is not fully certain that the alternation between syllables necessarily reflects a difference in the vowels rather than the consonants – at the moment, the only undisputed fact is that they are different syllables. A newer reconstruction of ancient Japanese shows striking similarities with Southeast-Asian languages, especially with Austronesian languages.

Several fossilizations of Old Japanese grammatical elements remain in the modern language – the genitive particle tsu (superseded by modern no) is preserved in words such as matsuge ("eyelash", lit. "hair of the eye"); modern mieru ("to be visible") and kikoeru ("to be audible") retain what may have been a mediopassive suffix -yu(ru) (kikoyukikoyuru (the attributive form, which slowly replaced the plain form starting in the late Heian period) > kikoeru (as all shimo-nidan verbs in modern Japanese did)); and the genitive particle ga remains in intentionally archaic speech.


IPA Example English approximation
Kana Romanization
b しょ, かん, ァージョン basho, kabin, vājon bug
びょうき byōki beauty
ç と, ひょ hito, hyō hue
ɕ た, いっしょ shita, isshō sheep
d うも, dōmo, dōdō doctor
dz っと, ん, キッズ zutto, zenzen, kizzu cards
ぶん, ょじょ, エッジ jibun, jojo, ejji jeep
ɸ fuji roughly like phew!
ɡ っこう, りん, んこう gakkō, ringo, ginkō goat
ɡʲ ぎょ kigyō argue
h ん, はは hon, haha hat
j くしゃ, yakusha, yuzu yacht
k る, はっき kuru, hakki skate
きょうかい, けっきょ kyōkai, kekkyoku skew
m かん, せぱい, もんも mikan, senpai, monmon much
みゃ myaku mute
n っとう, かたん nattō, kantan not
ɲ わ, こんにゃく, きちょう niwa, konnyaku, kinchō canyon
ŋ ご, なきょく ringo, nankyoku pink
ɴ にほ nihon roughly like long
p ン, たんぽぽ pan, tanpopo span
っぴょ happyō spew
ɾ く, そ roku, sora American better
ɾʲ りょうり ryōri American party
s る, さっそ suru, sassō soup
t べる, とって taberu, totte stop
かい, けっちゃ chikai, ketchaku itchy
ts なみ, いっつ tsunami, ittsui cats
ɰ さび wasabi roughly like was
ɰ̃ いき, でわ, あしん fun'iki, denwa, anshin sin
z , つ aza, tsuzuku zoo
ʑ かい, じょ mijikai, jojo vision
ʔ あつ atsu'! uh-oh
IPA Example English approximation
Kana Romanization
a aru father
e eki bet
i iru meet
shita whispered meet
o oni story
ɯ なぎ unagi shoot
ɯ̥ きやき sukiyaki whispered shoot
IPA Example English approximation
Kana Romanization
a aru father
e eki bet
i iru meet
shita whispered meet
o oni story
ɯ なぎ unagi shoot
ɯ̥ きやき sukiyaki whispered shoot
IPA Description Example English approximation
Giant Octopus 大 おお ダコ Ōdako
ː Long vowel hyōmei, ojiisan re-equalize
Pitch drop [kaꜜki] (牡蠣, 'oyster'),

[kakiꜜ] (垣, 'fence')

/ˈmæri/ (marry),

/məˈriː/ (Marie)

. Syllabification nin'i [ɲiɰ̃.i] higher /ˈhaɪ.ər/