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Alugha speaks Japanese!

Japan is small but mighty!

That’s how you could describe this country that is made up of 6852 islands and its citizens. They are known for their technology, video games, creativity, mangas, sushi, samurai and for being the land of the rising sun. The Japanese are very imaginative when it comes to inventing. By the way, they invented the cuddly pillow, survival horror, calculators, selfie stick, instant noodles, and Blu-Ray discs. Now, let us talk about the language of this thousands-of-years-old culture!

Facts

  • Japanese is the official language of Japan.
  • Around 127 million people speak Japanese. That’s 2.4% of the world’s population.
  • Japanese is the 9th most spoken language in the world.
  • Japanese is not a world language because the number of second language speakers is too low and therefore Japanese is limited to Japan.
  • Outside of Japan, Japanese is mainly spoken in the US with around 440,000 speakers, and in South America, especially Brazil, with around 380,000 speakers.
  • Scientists don’t agree on the language’s origin and classification. There are several theories.
  • Japanese has several writing systems, divided into logographic and syllabic types.
  • Logography is a writing system in which written characters represent words or phrases, just like Egyptian hieroglyphs or Maya script.
  • Syllabary is a type of writing system in which the individual characters represent syllables and not only a sound as it is the case for alphabetic scripts.
  • Numbers are written in Arabic (1, 2, 3) or Chinese numerals (一, 二, 三). The Arabic numerals are used in horizontal writing and the Chinese numerals in vertical writing.
  • Japanese has four alphabets - hiragana, katakana, kanji and romaji. We will deal with this topic extensively on June 13.

You’ll find more information about the Japanese language here: weltsprache, planet-wissen an at asiandivision.

Customs and Knowledge

Similarly to Germany, Japan experienced an economic miracle after the Second World War. The former agrarian country became a high tech economic nation in a few decades.

That’s why the country is very appealing to many, but the customs of Japan are very different compared to Western countries. So, to make sure nothing goes wrong when you visit Japan you need to prepare a little.

Good manners are very appreciated in Japan, therefore you greet each other with a slight bow and attach “san” (Mr/Ms) or “sama” (a more respectful version for people of a higher rank than oneself) at the end of people’s names. Shaking hands is overrated.

Slurping while eating is considered polite. Shoes are taken off at the entrance of every home and at the entrance of most companies and hotels. Surgical masks are worn to protect others from your germs.

You should avoid eating, blowing your nose and talking on your cell phone in public. Oh, tipping is considered an insult and the Japanese drive on the left! Watch out!

Now, we’ve learned some information about Japan. We would be glad to learn more about Japan and its culture with the help of our multilingual video platform. Use this opportunity and make your own multilingual videos. It’s free! We say goodbye with a Japanese proverb: “It’s not important to be better than everyone else. It’s important to be better than you were yesterday!”. We hope to accompany you on this path!

Jikai made! See you next time!

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