Talk:Japanese language/Archive 3

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Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4


Origin of Japanese might be Korean with Ainu Vocabulary

"Apart from racial identification of type between modern Japanese and the ancient inhabitants of the Corean peninsula, Japanese have likewise a tradition that their own original home lay to the west, where the sun sank to rest in the ocean ; and their oldest historical records declare that they "descended from heaven in a boat"—clearly proving their Western origin from across the Tsushima Straits. Besides, in support of this identity of origin there stands out as a clear and distinct proof, that remarkable parallelism of grammatical construction and syntax between the two languages as at present spoken, which can only be explained by unity of race in prehistoric ages. The aborigines of Japan— Ainos—impressed their vocabulary on the immigrants from the peninsula; but these latter were unable to abandon the grammatical construction of their sentences, which remains to emphasize the language as Corean in syntax with an Aino vocabulary. Between the two countries the early history of art and literatnre had always been intimately associated. Corea imports and borrows from China, passing on her new civilization and literature to Japan, where the pupil more apt than the master and located in more favourable surroundings, has long outstripped Corea in the march of progress.

Scott, James. A Corean manual or phrase book: with introductory grammar (1893) p. xviii —Precedingunsigned comment added by Greg Best (talkcontribs) 05:28, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

If you are going to argue this why don't you cite a book published in the last decade or so (say, J. Marshall Unger's book, which I haven't read), rather than one which is over a century old? Hell, at that rate, why not link us to something about animal electricity? —Preceding unsigned comment added by114.181.53.183 (talk) 16:20, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
There is so many studies that link the Korean language as being the origin of the Japanese language. Even the introduction of the Chinese writing system was from Koreans in Baekchae. But this article seems to almost go out of its way the leave Korea out. Even though there is evidence that Koreans had so much to do with introducing the Chinese writing system. This article seems to not even mention it and almost miss lead by making it appear as if the Chinese directly introduced writing to the Japanese. Anyways, what ever the reason for this article trying to leave Korean influence out. The world scientific community seems to have added more evidence tracing the origin of the Japanese language to Korea. Read the article below, it is interesting. --Objectiveye (talk) 08:50, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
You're confusing issues here. That Kanji was introduced from Korea is beyond dispute, but what does that have to do with Korean being related to Japanese? Acidtoyman (talk) 09:27, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
This article is deeply concerning. It is funny how the word "korean" and any sources that link japanese to korean has been completely omitted from this article over time and presents only a selective view of sources by those who had edited this page. And then the article goes on to say things such as "Incorporating vocabulary from European languages began with borrowings from Portuguese in the 16th century, followed by words from Dutch". Anyone who can speak both languages can instantly relate the two even just by grammar and phonetics without needing a scholar to tell them. Those who edited this page were obviously not happy with this linkage to korean and attempted to completely disassociate the two languages in which they have unfortunately, miserably succeeded.Pds0101 (talk) 05:11, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
If there were reliable sources linking Japanese and Korean being deleted from the page, why didn't you revert them? From the linguistics books I've read (and, no, I'm not a professional) the link between Japanese and Korean has neither been proven nor disproven. If you authoritorial have proof, please present it. I watch this page, and if the source is credible, I'll certainly defend it. CüRlyTüRkeyTalkContribs 06:42, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
No need to ask me for reliable sources on that because the editors of this article have far better knowledge and access to sources on the linkage between the two languages. It was simply a matter of what they chose to place in this article or not. But nationalistic sentiments have lead to ignoring some important facts which I think is quite a pity.Pds0101 (talk) 09:48, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
So you'd prefer to wallow in self-fulfilling conspiracy theories than try to be productive. CüRlyTüRkeyTalkContribs 11:04, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
Hilarious. And I get asked why I did not bother in the first place.Pds0101 (talk) 13:50, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
I don't think you understand what I was saying. I was saying, if you have something to contribute, contribute it. Complaining about volunteers not doing the work you want done for you is silly. CüRlyTüRkeyTalkContribs 14:03, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
Here is full report how modern Japanese language have Korean origin (, and it's latest study. If Yayoi invaders was from China or other regions then modern Japanese language would have been more related to Chinese but this isn't the case, so called Japonic language from Jomon is almost extinct and replaced by ancient Korean dialect which is language of Yayoi. We need to mention this to main article.--KSentry(talk) 00:31, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
The link you posted requires a subscription to read. Anyways, as long as the issue is disputed, the right thing to do would be to include the evidence for and against, not to take sides. This is an encyclopaedia. Unless it's unanimous, you need to include all the major points of view. And reference it. CüRlyTüRkeyTalkContribs 02:11, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Add a link to Wikibooks: Japanese (talk) 11:39, 13 January 2009 (UTC)


The Japanese language info at the start of the Gold-whiskered Barbet article could benefit from someone's expertise. If you're reading this and willing to assist, thanks very much. --Boston (talk) 10:46, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Mendev barken karibws dichos niullev gerðer enam. Mä’n obel mïen. Mä vy mhroblem sē niullev veðyler amseris pan roðäs ter terwm i veðyler sē vœdarev wnëer gwethws eskolem penibws. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:09, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Sound bites.

Can the file format for the sound bites be in a format that everyone can use? Not all computers, especially company “work” PC's have a codec to decode *.ogg file format. Suggest that a more generic format that is native to all platforms, be used, maybe MP3 which is native cross almost all OS's. I know that Microsoft Windows is loathed by some people out there but it is out there and it would be good to support all computers of the “world” for the “world” encyclopaedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:32, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Mp3 is more widely used, but unfortunately it is a proprietary format and cannot be distributed with Wikipedia's license. ALTON .ıl 10:27, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Two of these particles

As I've been taught, ga is used as an adjective indicator, while ni is used to denote a general time ('for the occasion of'). I'm not going to remove them yet, and I'll just add these definitions to the article if someone can prove that they're used the way the article says they are. I'm only a student, so I don't know every use of the particles, but I'm pretty sure that I'm learning standard Tokyo Japanese here, so it shouldn't be completely different from what the article says. Example: (Using both) どうなたべものがあさごはんにたべますか 'What kind of food do you eat for breakfast?' --ArchabacteriaNematoda (talk) 23:58, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

どんなたべものがあさごはんにたべますか is wrong. It should be どんなたべものを. It is possible どんなたべものがあさごはんでたべられていますか though. 'What kind of food is eaten for breakfast?'. Oda Mari (talk) 01:56, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
In my studies, I've always seen that 'ga' is used as a subject marker (for situations in which a new subject is introduced). It is possible to use adjectives with 'ga' by adding a nominalizer such as 'no' or 'koto' after the adjective and ataching 'ga' to the new word. 'ni' has a multitude of meanings, though. It can indicate the time of an event, the indirect object, the actor of a passive verb, the person/thing that caused an action (with a causative verb), etc. I can't give examples because my computer's IME is not working correctly. From you example, the particle 'ga' should be replaced with 'wo' because 'tabemono' is the object of the verb 'taberu' (What do you eat? You eat food.)Jf1357 (talk) 01:10, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

Ah, I'm getting rusty already. I may need someone to re-teach me over the summer, although I'll be taking the same level next year as well just to make sure it all gets through. So is 'ni' used like I asked? I'm probably just going senile or something. --ArchabacteriaNematoda (talk) 15:59, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes, the particle 'ni' is used as you asked. Oda Mari (talk) 19:26, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Pan-Japanic artificial languages?

Has anyone created an artificial language along the lines of Esperanto, but observing a pan-japanic grammatical structure? (talk) 00:53, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Why would someone do this? That would be like creating an artificial language using a "Pan-English grammatical structure" as the only Japonic language with a number of speakers worth caring about is 標準語, and also 100% of speakers of other Japonic languages understand standard Japanese —Preceding unsigned comment added by114.181.53.183 (talk) 16:22, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
Most constructed languages are done for the fun of it---Esperanto being a notable exception. One reason to make a Japonic artificial language would be to remove the peculiarities from the language---say, removing counters, making all verbs "ru" verbs, removing honorifics and the different politeness levels---making a streamlined Japanese that's still Japanese but without the things that make it particularly troublesome to learn.
Whether someone's tried to do this I don't know, but there is a huge number of artificial languages out there, so I wouldn't be surprised.Acidtoyman (talk) 11:47, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

Europeans Discover Japanese Grammar

The main article could be improved if there were some explanation of how Europeans discovered Japanese Grammar, and which Europeans first (and subsequently) did this. There ought to be some chronology behind the European grammarians publishing their works. I would expect the first grammar books on Japanese to have been written in Latin, by those who were knowledgeable in that language. And speaking of which, where can I download some of the first Japanese Grammars, presumably written in Latin? The main article tries to describe Japanese from the vantage point of someone who has no experience in Latin. But for those of us who do have some experience with it, where would we go to find this sort of thing? (talk) 19:24, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

The first Japanese grammars by Europeans were written by Portuguese missionaries. The most complete and definite is Arte da Lingoa de Iapam compiled by João Rodrigues between 1604-1608. A shorter version, Arte breue da lingoa Iapoa (1620), is also well known available. There is also Ars grammaticae Iaponicae linguae (1632) byDiego Collado. Vocabvlario da Lingoa de Iapam (1603-1604) is also a related reference. Late Middle Japanese has a bit of info as well. Regards, Bendono (talk) 23:20, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Any relationship with Greek? (e.g. "afgaristo" and "saganaki" sound very Japanese)

Just wondering. (It strikes me that "aregato" and "afgaristo" are quite similar.) Thanks.--Tyranny Sue (talk) 02:59, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

They're similar... how? --LjL (talk) 14:14, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Besides, the Greek is "efkaristo". --LjL (talk) 19:43, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language is the place to ask this question, but I'm pretty sure the answer is no. -- BenRG (talk) 19:42, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
I highly doubt that Greek and Japanese are related languages. The two explanations of the etomology of 'arigatou' (thank you), that I've read, are that it came from the Portuguese 'obrigato' or it came from one of the stems of the adjective 'arigatai'. Jf1357 (talk) 01:17, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
About arigatō, the word has zero relationship with Portuguese or Greek or anything else European. This is demonstrably (and citably) derived as a compound of base verb aru ("to be, to exist") + adjective katai ("hard, difficult"). The aru changes to the stem and connective form ari, and the katai changes to gatai via the process known as "rendaku", producing the adjective arigatai --"difficult to exist, hard to be". Via a process of semantic change over centuries, the meaning shifted to "welcome, thankful, nice to have". This form of the word is still in use: "Kono tenki wa arigatai ne." → "This weather sure is welcome." The adverbial form is derived the same as for other "-i" adjectives, by replacing the "-i" with "-ku", producing arigataku. A sound shift during the Muromachi perioddropped the "k" from adverbs, producing arigatau, much like the "k" disappeared from "-i" adjective forms at the same time (these all used to be "-ki" adjectives). A yet later sound shift flattened au sounds to ō sounds, producing the modern arigatō.
Any resemblance to Portuguese obrigado or Greek ευχαριστώ (efcharistó) is purely coincidental. --Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 01:06, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Use of Kanji characters to write the names of the  ひらがな  and  カタカナ Alphabates?

Any good reason for doing this? I think it makes more sense to write the name of an alphabet using that alphabet. —Precedingunsigned comment added by Haxxploits (talkcontribs) 19:13, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

Because that's not the way they're written in Japanese? In Japanese they're correctly written in kanji. Canterbury Tail talk 20:04, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

No they're not. 違い... Katakana and Hiragana は日本語で "カタカナ" と "ひらがな" ですよ。 僕の日本語が下手ですけど... 僕は正しいですよ。 漢字でカタカナそれともひらがなを書かれた決して見ですよ。 —Preceding unsigned comment added byHaxxploits (talkcontribs) 06:43, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

You have no idea what you are talking about. Hope this helps. Also, what is "決して見ですよ" supposed to mean?
Then why the ja articles ja:平仮名 and ja:片仮名 use kanji for their article names? Oda Mari (talk) 07:17, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Well I'll put it this way... In all my time in Japan, studying Japanese, I have never seen that done anywhere. Text books, charts, dictionaries... even television. I can guarantee you that my friends and teachers here would laugh at me if they ever saw me write the names of either of those alphabets... in Kanji. Seeing as that kind of defeats the purpose of their very existence :D

Regardless... This article says it in both now... I'm happy... you guys are happy. Win Win situation.

Hm, yes, if only there were some famous document using the kanji right in the name. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:32, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
I just tried on my three dictionaries at hand, and all had the kanji, and without the notation of rare usage. Also in all my books and novels, I see them in kanji as much as I see them in kana. Like いい and 良い, you can't say that 良 isn't common. In study and kids materials they're are often only in kana, but in general they are in kanji unless you wan't to use them to discriminate sillabaries (since ひらがな/カタカナ are visually different, while in kanji they're not). Why would your teachers laugh? Will they laugh at you for using 良い, 位(くらい), 程(ほど), 無し(なし) too? They all are used in kana, but also is very, very common to find them in kanji.pmt7ar (talk) 19:33, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
And I must say in my time living in Japan and studying the language the only places I've ever seen them written in kana is in beginners and childrens books. Canterbury Tail talk 20:37, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Then I guess you don't use a Japanese keyboard.
Searching on Google, I find eight times as many hits for 「ひらがな」 than 「平仮名」. My own experience tells me: both are used; neither are rare; 「ひらがな」 is more common than 「平仮名」, especially on labels. Acidtoyman (talk) 12:25, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

Interesting... On a side note, set your keyboard to Japanese Hiragana input and type ”ひらがな” and ”カタカナ”. Press the spacebar after completing each word. Note how Hiragana is left alone (not converted to kanji), and Katakana is converted to katakana letters. Now type ”にほんご” And press space. Note how it converts it to ”日本語”. And since you're in Japan, pick up a dictionary and look them both up... and see what alphabet they're spelled in. Then turn your TV on. Chances are some game show about kanji or spelling will be on. See how they spell it. And when you get to class next, hand your teacher a piece of paper and ask them to spell Katakana and Hiragana, and watch how they spell it. I'll email some people and ask them as well. あなたの日本語はどうですか? この文わかる?

1) depends entirely on your IME and dictionary setup and settings. Mine converts both to kanji natively in Japanese version of Windows. 2) All my dictionaries say 平仮名 and 片仮名. 3) Never seen them used in such shows that I can recall 4) I don't attend classes anymore, no time what with working. Canterbury Tail talk 22:00, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Normally IME's remember your preferences. If, the first time you typed in a word (say 「ひらがな」), you chose the kanji, subsequently you will always be offered the kanji first. Acidtoyman (talk) 12:25, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

1) 本当? 僕の日本語のWindowsXPは漢字で ひらがな と カタカナ を書きません。そして、僕の英語のWindowsXPも漢字で ひらがな と カタカナ を書きません。 2) You're dictionary uses kanji to classify words? Must be a pretty big dictionary... I think you mean it says it in Hiragana or Katakana first... then just lists the kanji for it. Japanese dictionaries use Hiragana and Katakana letters to order words. 3) 日本のテレビをもっと見てください。 4) そうですか。 日本語わかりますか? どのくらい日本語のべんきょうがありますか???    —Preceding unsigned comment added by Haxxploits (talkcontribs) 02:50, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Daijirin dose not give katakana representation for the wordkatakana[1] neigher does Daijisen[2] Writing the word katakana in katakana is just conventional. Similar case can be observed in English, like "please write macro names in ALL CAPS and class names in CamelCase," where names of the naming conventions are all caps and camel case (or medial capitals). --Kusunose 03:36, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Regardless, it is a rather pointless conversation because the Japanese (kanji, hiragana, or katakana) needs to be removed per our guidelines. Remember, we are writing an English encyclopedia. It is beneficial to some, so while not removing it entirely, the Japanese needs to be keep to a minimum. The appropriate place for it is once at the top of an article about the subject. Thus, anyone needing to know how to write it in a Japanese script can click the appropriate links. Bendono (talk) 03:48, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Related to the Japonic-Ryukyuan languages

Why does opening paragraph of the article say that Japanese is "related to the Japonic-Ryukyuan languages". Shouldn't it say that Japanese is a member of the Japonic language family? Tweisbach (talk) 18:47, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Two ways to say the same thing, really. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 19:24, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Not exactly. Saying something is related is less specific than saying it is a member. You can say "English is related to the Romance languages", but that is not the same as saying it is a member of the Romance language family (it is not). Tweisbach (talk) 19:31, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Relationship to Altaic languages in the article

Please discuss here. Rich Farmbrough, 14:41, 30 September 2009 (UTC).

  • Yes. It's a significant theory, and deserves mention-- as a theory, with reliable sourcing. Otis Criblecoblis(talk) 17:15, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

I'm missing something here. Why am I, who never edits this article, the only editor "discussing?" Why are multiple editors reverting out the Altaic theory with no comment? Why is another editor getting by with constantly reverting in a POV mention of the theory without being blocked? Obviously this article is on people's watch pages, or the edit-warring couldn't continue. So why is there no discussing? Why do I just have to "guess" why people are editing as they are-- even edit summaries are rare... Again, here's my opinion, as an outsider: The Altaic theory is significant. It deserves mention in this article as a theory-- not as a fact, or a "there is good reason to believe" POV. Does anyone else care to explain why they are reverting each other? Otis Criblecoblis (talk) 01:03, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

OK. Two more reverts since I posted the above. I guess that answers my question: Two opposing POVs-- neither one interested in NPOV-- edit-warring, and everyone seems to be happy with that. Fine. Ta ta. Otis Criblecoblis (talk) 05:33, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
The ref. User Izumidebito provided is an amazon page and just the title of a book does not support his edit. The therory is not established. According to this page, the origin is not clear. User Izumidebito has never used talk page and his ref. is not good enough to accept his edit is correct. Oda Mari (talk) 08:35, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
The main article of this subject is Classification of Japanese. So the discussion should be held there first not here. Moreover, the description repeatedly added by User:Izumidebito is hardly worth mentioning here because the lead of the main article which seems to be the current consensus says "an Altaic hypothesis is less widely accepted". ――Phoenix7777 (talk) 09:05, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

Actually the proper place to give a brief history of a language and its classification is the main article on the language. (This is judging by, chosen at random, English_language#History/English_language#Classification_and_related_languages, French_language#History,Korean_language#History, Chinese_language#History/Chinese_language#Influences_on_other_languages,Vietnamese_language#Genealogical_classification, and even a true language isolate like Basque_language#History_and_classification.) Looking over this particular article, I now see the real problem with mentioning the Altaic theory here: There is no history section, or section on the place of Japanese in the world. So, yes, I guess adding only the Altaic hypothesis would be giving undue weight to just one theory. But here's the bigger issue: Why is there no history/classification section? Add that, put the Altaic hypothesis in its place, as just one of several theories-- accepted, not accepted, partially accepted, whatever, just do it in a sourced NPOV manner. We are not here to judge the validity of any view of the classification, only to mention the main ones espoused by scholars on the subject. Just a paragraph will do, with a link to Classification of Japanese, which discusses the topic in detail. Instead we have here no placing of Japanese within history or human language. If the editors here will put together a proper history/classification section(s) properly summarizing these topics, and linking to the main articles, then the problem is solved. As it stands, this article is hindered, if not actually biased by the ommission of highly relevant information-- the history and classification of the language. Otis Criblecoblis (talk) 21:34, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

That's simply because Japanese language has a dedicated article Classification of Japanese, while others not. ――Phoenix7777 (talk) 23:35, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
OK, we seem to have hit a nerve here. The Altaic thing is a red herring-- of course it should not be mentioned if there is no other mention of the language's history and classification. But a stand-alone article is certainly no reason not to summarize it in the main article. See all the "History of" links above, which are contained in the main article, and link to the stand-alone, full article. What's the deal here? Why is history/classification being kept out of this article? Otis Criblecoblis (talk) 16:39, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
I have no preference on this issue. However it is a subjective issue to what extent the article refers to the main article. French language#History only have a link to the main article and Korean language#History devotes two lines, while This article describes in the first paragraph with a link. I don't know which is preferable. I leave it to others. ―― Phoenix7777 (talk) 22:53, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
I think it would be appropriate to have a paragraph on the topic. Tweisbach (talk) 00:18, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

My revert of Altaic in the lead

Nothing ever gets unanimous acceptance; there are some fringe people who even reject Indo-European. I said "general acceptance" for a reason; there is no broad consensus among linguists that Japanese is related to Korean or that Japanese and Korean are part of Altaic. I've encountered linguists who believed Japanese was obviously an Altaic language but also linguists who regarded Altaic itself as an old hypothesis that had largely been rejected. No side can claim to be the uncontested mainstream position.

Classification of Japanese gives a good overview of the levels of acceptance for the various positions, though it may overstate the support for Japanese-Koguryoic. Regardless, both the Japanese-Korean and Japanese-Koguryoic hypotheses have significant scholarly support. (Support for the Altaic hypothesis is basically a strict subset of that for Japanese-Korean; there are those who regard Japanese-Korean as convincingly demonstrated who are nevertheless skeptical or agnostic about an Altaic connection.)

It would be undue emphasis to mention Altaic in the lead without the other well-supported hypotheses. I don't think we should overburden the lead with this. If we want to discuss this on the main page, I think we should briefly describe all the major proposals in a short section/paragraph, possibly following "Dialects".--Chris Johnson (talk) 07:14, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

I agree with all the above. My impression of what it going on here is that we have an extreme pro-Altaic editor(s?) pushing that theory into the article, and another group of editors keeping it out as undue emphasis without addressing the larger problem: No history/classification section in this article. And it is this major omission which seems to be attracting the more extreme pro-one-theory trollish-type editing. I'm not saying this article should favor or emphasize any one theory unduly (and mentioning Altaic in the lead would certainly do that), only that the article is lacking a history/classification section, and should have one. I have familiarity with Japanese and Korean, which has given me a certain point of view on their relationship. (I think they are related, but that both sides politicize the issue, and I have no opinion on the larger Altaic hypothesis). But I am no linguist, and don't consider myself competent to work on an article like this. I do hope, since this is a major subject, that this article can be improved with appropriate history and/or classification summary sections, and also that the article as a whole will be written in a more thorough, better-sourced, and less anecdotal style. Since I can't do this myself, I'll bow out for now and trust more knowledgeable editors to work on these problems. Regards. Otis Criblecoblis (talk) 15:28, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

In hopes of ending this edit warring over the first paragraph, I've added a classification section. It's badly written and currently uncited; we might want to expand it a bit or move some of the information about the Ryukyuan languages into it. It's just a starting point; please edit mercilessly. --Chris Johnson (talk) 08:51, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

Trikemike, I see you reverted my removal of your sentence before I added my section on classification. I'm not going to remove it again myself to avoid edit-warring, but I'd like to keep the specific proposals out of the lead. We should avoid cluttering the first paragraph. --Chris Johnson (talk) 09:09, 4 November 2009 (UTC)


This article has been protected due to edit warring. Please discuss whatever issues you have here, come to a consensus, and then edit the page accordingly. Constantly reverting each other and using the edit summaries to argue is not acceptable. Thank you. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 2:47, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Altaic in the lead, one (hopefully) last time!

As I understand it, here's what happened: A couple weeks ago, my impression was that we basically agreed that specific proposed relationships belonged in a classification section rather than the lead. But no one actually bothered to write such a section, so after some time passed the edit war started again. I meant to work on the section earlier, but I got distracted. Sorry about that.  :)

Now that there's a classification section which discusses the proposed relationships with Korean and Altaic, does anyone still think Altaic needs to be in the first paragraph? If so, we should discuss that. If not, I don't think there's anything else left in dispute. Everyone has always agreed that the Altaic theory belongs in this article; the question was just where and in what context. So, what do people think? --Chris Johnson (talk) 04:38, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

If no one objects beforehand, I'm going to go ahead and remove the sentence "Japanese is classified as an Altaic language by many linguists, even more linguists see a connection with Korean" from the lead tomorrow, for the reasons given above. All of that information is included later in the article. --Chris Johnson (talk) 13:59, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

nihongoresources book moved

the link to the nihongoresources book is no longer valid, its new location is on instead —Precedingunsigned comment added by Pomax (talkcontribs) 22:39, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

General vs. unanimous acceptance

The sentence on classification in the lead currently reads: "There are a number of proposed relationships with other languages, but none of them have gained unanimous acceptance." Personally, I prefer "...none of them have gained general acceptance" or "...none of them have gained broad acceptance". Saying "unanimous acceptance" implies that almost everyone has accepted a certain hypothesis aside from a handful of holdouts. No theory gets unanimous acceptance; there are still fringe views that reject Indo-European. The classification of Japanese is controversial. While there is significant support for Japanese-Korean (with or without Altaic) and Japanese-Korguryic, neither view has gained general acceptance. I believe we should change the sentence back to "general acceptance", though if someone has a better way to word that sentence, I'd love to hear it. --Chris Johnson (talk) 13:57, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

Kanji are hardly “modified”

I’m making one small change: deleting the word modified from the first mention of kanji. They are barely altered at all from Chinese, compared with kana (described as “modified” in the same sentence). I almost wrote “borrowed” instead of “modified” but I think it’s clearer without either word. (I tracked the original edit down to a now-defunct user account Lewishirst in September 2007; it was the only contribution from that account. Sorry to wipe out someone’s only addition.) MJ (tc) 23:51, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Presumably this refers to the handful of simplifications, or to the fact that certain characters (捜, 飯, 黒) are traditionally written differently. —Preceding unsigned comment added by114.181.53.183 (talk) 04:12, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
My understanding is the simplifications are recent---the Kanji would have originally been taken from Chinese more or less as the Chinese wrote them. Besides, the characters have changed over time (organically) in both languages, so I can't see how "modified" could be appropriate.Acidtoyman (talk) 12:00, 27 March 2011 (UTC)


This page says Japanese is the official language of Japan. But, Japan says they do not have an official language. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Fulldecent (talkcontribs) 17:10, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

I think this is not a conflict. The text here says “the de facto official language” (as opposed to de jure), q.v. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mark R Johnson (talkcontribs) 00:01, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
"De facto official" is an alias for "inofficial". This "de facto" this-and-that is a silly way to make "no" = "yes". Rursusdixit. (mbork3!) 14:12, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

Drop-dead Chomsky

Why should Chomsky's ideas on Japanese be relevant. As far as I know, it is common sense, that in spoken Japanese implied parts of sentences are simply dropped. But is this relevant to the full grammatical analysis of the Japanese language?--Radh (talk) 12:56, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Chomsky is a well known academic in language study. His thoughts and commentary are very relevant to any discussion of language. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 05:15, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

は particle description in Japanese_language#Inflection_and_conjugation

The text here seems incorrect:

* wa for the topic. It can co-exist with case markers above except no, and it overridesga and o.

The problem is that は can most certainly co-exist with の, such as the phrase …というのは…. There are even archaic and dialectical examples of using を + は, where 連濁 produces the particle combo をば. As it is, I'm editing the text quoted above in the body of the article to remove the bit about の, and add a caveat about を. -- Cheers, - Eric Anderson (talk) 20:45, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Vocabulary and "New Math"?

It would appear that someone's made a goof somewhere. The Vocabulary section mentions the following:

According to a Japanese dictionary Shinsen-kokugojiten (新選国語辞典), Chinese-based words comprise 49.1% of the total vocabulary, Wago is 33.8% and other foreign words are 8.8%.

A quick sum shows that these percentages total 91.7%, which begs the question of where the remaining 8.3% of the Japanese vocabulary originated. Does someone here have a copy of the Shinsen Kokugo Jiten? Can anyone fix these clearly deficient numbers? -- Curious, - Erik Anderson98.225.16.161 (talk) 04:59, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

According to the Japanese Wikipedia, the other 8.4% constitute hybridized words (混種語), meaning that they draw elements from more than one language. — Io Katai ᵀᵃˡᵏ 12:46, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Great, I'll add a note to that effect to make the math add up properly.  :) -- Cheers, - Erik Anderson205.166.76.15 (talk) 20:21, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

I've reworked the Vocabulary section. Of note, the preceding version said:

Japanese vocabulary has been influenced by loanwords from other languages. 2.3%~4.5% of the words contained in a Japanese dictionary is gairaigo[1].

This phrasing is ambiguous and seems to discount the large body of Chinese-based vocabulary. Furthermore, the stated "2.3%~4.5%" disagrees both with the later-mentioned Shinsen Kokugo Jiten source, and even with its own provided reference PDF. The PDF states right on page 1 that:

また、 『現代雑誌九十種の用語用字』では、異なり語数の内で、その9.8%を占めていて(3)、やはり雑誌という時代の先端をいく媒体の中では、外来語の比率が大きいことがうかがえる。

The 9.8% in the PDF is at least close to the 8.8% mentioned by the Shinsen Kokugo Jiten, so I've gone with the SKJ numbers for the sake of simplicity. I then moved the remained of the first paragraph elsewhere in the section for a more logical flow. -- Cheers, - Erik Anderson205.166.76.15 (talk) 21:03, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Manyogana from Baekje?

I use the translation site because I cannot understand English.

It is a mistake to write the hypothesis as "Fact of the history". As for the defect of wikipedia, what wrong information and the hypothesis are admitted as "Source".

Shunpei Mizuno denies the hypothesis "The origin of Man'yōgana is Baekje".



It recognizes it as a hypothesis of insufficient evidence in academic circles in Japan. Why do you describe it as "Historical fact"?

I know the South Korean always insists on the origin of all Japanese cultures, and is doing the propaganda all over the world systematically. For instance, VANK is famous. For instance, the newspaper of South Korea is agitated like rewriting the article on Cherry blossom.[3] "Origin insistence of South Korea" is famous in Japan. Samurai, Ninja, Kabuki, Sakura, Katana, and Waka, etc. were made a target. Please refer to "韓国起源説" of Japanese version wikipedia.-- (talk) 17:10, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Samurai, Ninja, Kabuki, Sakura, Katana, and Waka, etc are not related to this talk, also Koreans have hard evidence of Man'yōgana is Baekje origin because there's archeological to written documents from both Korea and Japan. Don't try to deny Baekje's influence over Japanese language.--KSentry(talk) 00:25, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree with KoreanSentry. One man writing two books for elementary-level students and vague references to alleged widespread academic disagreement in Japan are not sufficient evidence to dispute what is written in the article. Furthermore, this seems personally driven and smacks of nationalism. 僕もKoreanSentryとの賛成です。 たった一人が小学校用の本を書いたからといって、韓国起源が歴史上の事実だと否定するわけにはいけません。それより、個人的な、または愛国主義に基づいた意見は無関係で、事実が変わることはありません。White722 (talk) 12:48, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Questions on the section 'Sounds'

1. Wouldn't it make more sense to call the section Pronunciation of Japanese?

2. The article states under 'Sounds':

    >>Japanese has five vowels, and vowel length is phonemic, so each one has both a short 
    and a long version. Each vowel can be elongated, but it is not looked at as a separate 
    vowel to its shortened version, so there are only 5 vowel sounds, not 10.<< 

Isn't that a bit of an internal contradiction? On the one hand the section claims that short and long vowels are phonemically distinct (because vowel length is phonemic); on the other hand it vaguely says that each vowel is not looked on as a separate vowel. In some accounts of Japanese phonology and phonetics, that is precisely what is done: vowel length is phonemic, so the phoneme inventory expands to 10 vowels, and some linguists add several diphthongs as well (which I am going to get to under the Japanese Phonology article). Of course one might argue that 'vowel length' is its own phoneme (as some have done with geminate consonants), but I haven't seen it in the major sources on the topic. Also, the use of sounds here would be idiosyncratic if somehow it was supposed to trump 'phoneme' (even if most definitions of 'phoneme' say a phoneme is not a speech sound). (talk) 12:06, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

I agree on both counts. The "Sounds" section ought to be renamed "Pronunciation of Japanese", and I would add that it ought to have at least some mention of Japanese pitch accent. Also, the above quoted passage on 5 versus 10 vowel sounds is confusing and perhaps is POV—maybe this could be resolved by citing sources. (talk) 14:47, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
I noticed that the article chroneme states: "It could be said, also, that vowel lengthening—chronemic contrasts—nearly doubles Japanese's rather small inventory of vowel phonemes." So that implies the number is 10 (or "nearly" 10?), although the statement is unsourced and is qualified by "could be". So is this an unresolved issue among linguists? (talk) 17:45, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Women not allowed to attend schools?

The Hiragana article states that until recently (at least in terms of history; I'm assuming the past 100 years or so), females were not allowed to learn Kanji. Is it known when they allowed both genders to attend school and learn the same written language? This would be great to add to the article. Estheroliver (talk) 20:13, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

(cross-posted: Talk:Hiragana#Women_not_allowed_to_attend_schools) Estheroliver (talk) 01:59, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

Uniqueness of Japanese language

I have removed this statement: "If Japanese and Korea ever shared similar ancestry, several thousand years of isolation via surrounding sea have made Japanese language unique." It was an unnecessary statement of the obvious, as all languages are unique by definition.Eurasiatic (talk) 05:40, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Map inclusion criteria unclear

The map in the infobox that shows countries where Japanese "is a minority language" needs to explain in the caption the inclusion criteria that are used. Japanese could theoretically be claimed as a "minority language" in any country with even a handful of Japanese immigrants, but presumably the map is using some percentage cutoff criteria, or official recognition criteria, or ranking criteria, to determine which countries to include. This should be explained. (talk) 03:13, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Is Japanese language 'feudal'?

I quote from the article: {It is distinguished by a complex system of honorifics reflecting the nature of Japanese society, with verb forms and particular vocabulary to indicate the relative status of the speaker, the listener, and persons mentioned in conversation.}

This is a feature of most Asian, and possibly African langauges. Some European languages clould also have this feature.

It does create a terrible mental strangulation as well as elevation in different groups of people.

If the society is homogenous, then a discipline akin to the one found in Asian armies can be seen in the society.

However if the society is not homogenous, there can be a lot of disintergrative forces in the society.

On the whole, the society can have an hidden horrendous character, that can lead to severe mental trauma in the lower placed persons.

Moreover, there can be a sly treachery in all social and business dealings.

I hear that Japan has the highest number of suicides in the world.

Nations like India and China do have terrible feudal languages.

The current Tsunami in Japan can give a real observation point on how the language deals with rearranging the social order. Persons who understand what I am talking about can take a very detailed observation on what is emerging.

--Ved from Victoria Institutions (talk) 11:49, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

All the preceding is totally and utterly irrelevant to this article. And Japan does not have the highest suicide rate in the world (although it has gone up since the bubble burst). Acidtoyman (talk) 12:08, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
I sincerely hope no one "understands what (you) are talking about" because you make no sense whatsoever; also, what this has to do with an article on the Japanese language is unfathomable. HammerFilmFan (talk) 03:22, 22 May 2011 (UTC) HammerFilmFan
As stated before, this is irrelevant to this article. A more apropriate place to bring this up would be in the Japanese Culture article. However, in reference to your point, the honorific/speech level system is not a 'bug' (to use a computing term), but rather a feature of the language. Its purpose is to show respect to the listener or referent. This is common in every language (including English with such words as Mr., Mrs., Ms., Rev., Ph.D., M.D., 'Your Honor', etc.). I would argue that most European languages include this feature. Spanish has it (tú versus usted), French has it (tu versus vous), Hungarian has it (te versus maga), German has it (du versus Sie), etc. This does not however 'strangulate' thought. But I digress. Jf1357 (talk) 01:48, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

I have a suggestion for an external link

Here is a short blog that I have been working on. I believe that it contains a list of all the materials needed for someone to learn Japanese fluently. I have used this same method to place into the third year of Japanese in college without taking any formal classes and I will continue to use this method until I am fluent. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Yagokoro (talkcontribs) 07:33, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia aims for encyclopedic content, and don't allow original research or use of primary sources.pmt7ar (talk) 15:58, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
External links aren't governed by the primary source rule, else (for example) an article on an artist would never link to that artist's own website. —Tamfang (talk) 18:34, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
Oh, sorry. I mixed the concepts with WP:ADV. I don't think the content on that link is particularly useful to make a study program, let alone doing it fluently. Plus, it start right away encouraging a torrent for downloading copyrighted content. Doesn't if fall in WP:ELNEVER?pmt7ar (talk) 19:07, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

Official status: clarification

There are a couple of points in the section "Official status" that I think could benefit from some clarification:

  • I have no clue what the following means: "The meanings of the two terms are almost the same. Hyōjungo orkyōtsūgo is a conception that forms the counterpart of dialect."
  • What is the relationship between hyōjungo/kyōtsūgo and kōgo? The article says "Hyōjungo is [...] the version of Japanese discussed in this article", but then that "Kōgo is the dominant method of both speaking and writing Japanese today". (talk) 18:53, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

"ti" versus "chi" and similar

Some Japanese consonants have several allophones, which may give the impression of a larger inventory of sounds. However, some of these allophones have since become phonemic. For example, in the Japanese language up to and including the first half of the 20th century, the phonemic sequence /ti/ was palatalized and realized phonetically as [tɕi], approximately chiAbout this sound listen ; however, now /ti/ and /tɕi/ are distinct, as evidenced by words like[tiː] "Western style tea" and chii [tɕii] "social status".

Is it true that this distinction has only come about in order to cater for foreign loanwords (especially English)? If so, I think it could be usefully mentioned. I can't think of any examples of native Japanese words that distinguish between "ti" and "chi", or any other analogus pairs, but I am not expert enough to be confident about adding this myself. (talk) 20:38, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

"(especially English)" is completely superfluous, but otherwise, yes, it's true (same for "di"). A large proportion of the population continues to pronounce words with "ti" and "di" in them as "te" and "de" (witness the pronunciation of "DVD" by many people). If someone can find a source discussing this (I can't imagine one not existing) I think it would be good to put it in. Acidtoyman (talk) 03:15, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

vowel length

Elongated vowels are usually denoted with a line over the vowel (a macron), or a hyphen succeeding the vowel.

Is a following hyphen really common enough in romaji to warrant mention in a sentence that contains the word usually?—Tamfang (talk) 03:37, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

No. I corrected the sentence. Thank you for pointing that out. Oda Mari (talk) 04:59, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
I think the commenter mean to say that not all forms of romanization use the macron---sometimes they use the circumflex, sometimes transliterating from the hiragana representations (e.g. 「おう」 ==> "ou"), sometimes using some other system (like transliterating 「大石」 as "Ohishi"), etc. I think the commenter was questioning whether the usage of macrons in romanization was common enough to warrant saying that that is how long vowels are "usually" represented. Does anyone have statistics for or against? Acidtoyman (talk) 07:44, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Really? Not a hyphen succeeding the vowel? I thought the hyphen meant chōonpu in Japanese. As far as I know, hyphen is not used as a denotation of long vowels in Romaji. Oda Mari (talk) 09:55, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I misread. I thought the "hyphen" was referring to the macron.
Although I still don't think the sentence is correct---for romaji, see what I wrote above. For Japanese, chōonpu is usually done with katakana. Given that the vast majority of non-kanji writing is in hiragana, I think saying long vowels are "usually" represented withchōonpu is pretty inappropriate.
To be honest, I don't think replacing "usually" with another word would do it. I think the sentence warrants a rewrite. I can't think of anything good at the moment. Acidtoyman (talk) 12:02, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
You are right. Yes, choonpu is mostly used in katakana/loan words. There are some exceptions like an onomatopoeia, しーんと or ながーく when emphasizing a word, I don't think they are the standard usage though. Be bold and rewrite the sound section in the article. I'm not sure I can rewrite well. Oda Mari (talk) 14:37, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

"names" or "words"?

At first, the Japanese wrote in Classical Chinese, with Japanese names represented by characters used for their meanings and not their sounds. Later, during the 7th century AD, the Chinese-sounding phoneme principle was used to write pure Japanese poetry and prose (comparable to Akkadian's retention of Sumerian cuneiform), but some Japanese words were still written with characters for their meaning and not the original Chinese sound.

In the first sentence, "Japanese names" sounds as if it means place names or personal names. Should it actually say "Japanese words" like in the second sentence? (talk) 17:51, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

The first sentence is about Classical Chinese written in Japan, which would have occasion to mention Japanese names but few if any other Japanese words. The second sentence is about written Japanese. —Tamfang (talk) 01:50, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Elongated vowels are *usually* denoted with a macron?

There seems to be a dispute (between User:Kintetsubuffalo and User:Shosetsuka) over what adverb should be used to indicate the frequency of macron use.

Is there an independent source that can be cited to back up using the word "usually"? Shosestsuka makes a good point that in English writing (say, in newspapers) it would be extremely unusual to see macrons. That's my experience as well.

If there's no independent source that can be used as a reference, could we reword it to something more neutral? Say, "frequently", or "often"? CüRlyTüRkeyTalkContribs 06:46, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

I think it's very much situation-dependent. For example, it would be unusual to see "Tōkyō" or "sumō" in ordinary English text. On the other hand, it would not be surprising to see macrons used in transliterations that have to be technically correct, such as in a Japanese language textbook for example. The article actually says "Elongated vowels are usually denoted with a line over the vowel (a macron) in rōmaji..." (my emphasis). Now, this may just be my personal perception, but to me the use of the word "rōmaji" tends to suggest that a more technically correct transliteration is meant. For example, if I read an English newspaper article about a "sumo tournament in Tokyo" then I tend not to think of that as "romaji". However, even assuming we're talking about technically correct transliterations, it's not clear to me that macrons are more common than other methods of denoting a long vowel. I have a number of Japanese language textbooks, and of the four that use any romaji, two write an elongated "o" as "ō" and two write it as "oo". (talk) 01:55, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
Which is an opinion I won't argue with. The thing is, this is Wikipedia. The information here needs to be verifiable, and not just people's opinions. And, obviously, not all the editors here are agreeing with the "fact" being stated. So can we get someone to verify the statement? If it can't be verified, then how can we know it's true? I hope we're not going to start relying on "gut feelings" here.
Besides, it's more common to see signs in Japan without macrons than with, and I doubt anyone would claim that the signs are not written in rōmazi. So how are we defining "usually" here? 04:38, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Deleted link

I just wanted to know why my link was removed.

I just added this link, it's a online japanese text editor, for people who are learning japanese. It's not an advertising, I don't earn money by anything I did on this project. My wish was just to help people and I know that they would be grateful if they'd found a text editor like that, because it really helps a lot.

So, that's my advice, I won't add the link anymore, if you want, you can add there. Byebye — Preceding unsigned comment added by187.13.117.253 (talk) 17:37, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Because it's not relevant to japanese language. And personally have seen better AJAX IME, with EDICT, working from a bookmark to use it on any website. That link doesn't even allow kanji. The article is about the language and not about IME. Anyone learning japanese would find times more useful to install its IME support on the OS so he can write in every program, rather than depending on a webpage. pmt7ar (talk) 18:29, 20 November 2011 (UTC) PS: see Japanese input methods. pmt7ar (talk) 18:33, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Wow this guy took his time doing this webpage... too bad you can only speak like a kid.. because...NO KANJI!!! WE WANT CHINEESE ON JAPANESE! NOw! :p (Good thing im just an IP) -- (talk) 15:07, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Answering:: Oh really? so please send a reply here with the AJAX editor you know. I would like to know the link to it. Beyond that, the editor is for beginners or people that CAN'T install any editor on the computer(like a situation I passed in my university some months ago). I use the IME editor on my computer and notebook, and I use the webpage at the university's computers. Farewell!


Should we add the kana form (にっぽんご) of saying japanese in japanese? -- (talk) 15:01, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

No point. It's neither normal Japanese nor English. — kwami (talk) 10:28, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

Foreign spelling

I’m undoing the recent change by Kennytrim, no disrespect intended. “Foreign spelling” is quite vague, and foreign words are as often spelled with katakana as romaji. But it is literally true that most computer input of Japanese is now done via romaji rather than kana. I find that fact remarkable considering all the work that has gone into Asian languages on computers. MJ (tc) 17:37, 17 January 2012 (UTC)


I removed the map, which was ridiculous. But a map of where Japanese is actually spoken (other than "Earth"), like the one we have for Korean, would be interesting. — kwami (talk) 10:29, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

Japanese and Chinese

I have removed the following statement from the lead: "Although Japanese is written using Chinese characters, and has historically imported many words of Chinese origin, the two languages are not actually linguistically related." The statement has several problems: besides being unsourced, it asserts as fact an opinion that is impossible to demonstrate. There is no scientifically agreed upon method of demonstrating that any two languages are unrelated (it is always conceivable that they are, but that the passage of many thousands of years has completely obscured the original relationship). See, eg, Borean languages, which would include Chinese as well as Japanese. Eurasiatic (talk) 00:15, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

Furthermore, I would point out that the lead contains this statement: "It is a member of the Japonic (or Japanese-Ryukyuan) language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists." That makes it clear that Japanese has no known or agreed upon relationship with any language outside Japonic, making the additional statement that Japanese is unrelated to Chinese entirely unnecessary. Eurasiatic (talk) 00:17, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

Not saying it's a good statement, or belongs where it was, but it's not opinion. It's a simple statement of fact. It's also normal to say two languages are unrelated when they do not belong to an established language family. That's never a demonstrable statement (apart from known cases of polygenesis), but is a very common abbreviation of the known facts. — kwami (talk) 02:58, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Quite large numbers of people assume that Japanese and Chinese are related in the way that English and French are---or even closer. If theyare related at all (which is not at all widely accepted), the relationship is not even remotely close (and that is notcontroversial). It is important to make that clear in the lead. It is improtant to make it clear that the Japanese use of Chinese characters is emphatically not because of a genetic relation. CüRlyTüRkeyTalkContribs 03:21, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
How do you know what large numbers of people believe about Japanese and Chinese? Some people may be so uninformed that they believe Japanese and Korean are the same language, but would you argue that the lead should therefore include an explanation that Japanese and Korean are in fact different languages? Explaining that the Japanese use of Chinese characters is not because of a genetic relation can be done without including the (posssibly incorrect) suggestion that there is no genetic relatedness whatever between Japanese and Chinese, no matter how far back you take it. Eurasiatic (talk) 04:31, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
"no matter how far back you take it" is an invention of your imagination, and of course nobody would interpret the statement in such a way. Ultimately, humans are all genetically related, but would you challenge a statement that said, for example, "Bob Smith, Conservative Toronto politician, is not related to the Conservative Toronto politician John Smith"? The languages are not related in any meaningful way, if at all.
"How do you know what large numbers of people believe about Japanese and Chinese?" They same way you know it---by having run into large numbers of people who believe exactly that, and by the fact that authors insist on making the point in numrous works on the language.
I was about to reword the removed text to say there was "no known relation", but it appears you've come to your senses. CüRlyTüRkeyTalkContribs 21:36, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

Vowels are Pure?

Is that so? What about, for instance, pya, pyu, pyo? (talk) 00:40, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

The ⟨y⟩ in these spellings is considered to be a glide or semivowel, and not a vowel. The vowel sounds in your three examples would be ⟨a⟩, ⟨u⟩, and ⟨o⟩, which are "pure" as described in this article. -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 00:47, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Japanese the official language of Palau and Japan?

There is an error with that. Japan has NO LAWS stating Japanese is their official language.They have none.. Can we fix this mistake? Also, Palau's official language is not Japanese either. It is spoken my a lot of people but that does not mean it is their official language. --Akemi Loli Mokoto(talk) 00:37, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Removed. The CIA says it's official in Palau, but they aren't a RS. — kwami (talk) 00:57, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough. Thanks. --Akemi Loli Mokoto (talk) 06:26, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Incorrect use of the term "romaji"

The use of the term "romaji" on this page is weird and incorrect (to the best of my knowledge as a native Japanese). Despite the fact that romaji (ローマ字) literally means "Roman letters", in Japanese, it is the term that specifically refers to the "writing style of Japanese languages using Latin letters via Japanese pronunciation system". Thus, examples shown on the page such as "Sony" (it's in English style writing; if romaji, should be "sonii/sonī (ソニー)"), "CD", and "DVD" (we just call these an "abbreviation [of English] words [略語 ryakugo]") are incorrect as an use of romaji and should be changed; a relevant example would be like "Toyota (トヨタ)", "Tokyo(Tokyō)", "Ichiro Suzuki (スズキ・イチロー)" and such.

Incidentally, for referring to the Latin alphabet itself, we just say "alphabet (アルファベット)" and the listener would get the message since the only alphabet generally known to Japanese is the Latin one. --Doncot (talk) 12:19, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

I see. Comparing with the description in the lead section at Japanese writing system, this makes sense. I have removed the sentence with the incorrect examples. It seemed out of place in the paragraph about katakana, anyway. MJ (tc) 18:04, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
It is not incorrect. The definition of ローマ字 "rōmaji" given by Daijisen[4] is about the Latin alphabet while the definition of ローマ字綴り "rōmaji tuzuri"[5] is aboutromanization. Though it is true that ローマ字 is commonly used as a short form of ローマ字綴り, and that the Latin alphabet more commonly referred simply as アルファベット "alphabet" or 英字 "English letters" than ローマ字. --Kusunose 09:59, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
(I wrote this while the above comment was being added: excuse duplication) ...There are two quite separate issues -- in _Japanese_ how do you refer to the Roman alphabet? As Doncot says, it's true (in my experience, though not as a native speaker!) that generally rōmaji is normally taken to mean "Romanised Japanese", but if you look in a dictionary (Daijirin), the first meaning given for it is "the Roman alphabet" with an alias of ラテン文字. And if you look up アルファベット (alphabet) it gives "an ordered collection of characters, particularly the Roman alphabet". So it's not clear that the usage is "incorrect" as Japanese.
But the second issue is: why does the word rōmaji appear in English *at all* ? It is hardly describing a "uniquely Japanese concept"...! If it means "Roman letters" that is how it should be written in English, and if it means "romanization (of Japanese)", well that's what to write.
So I edited the article and removed all occurrences of "Romaji". Lots of other places probably have unnecessary references...
Imaginatorium (talk) 10:21, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't matter what it means in Japanese, or if people disagree. In English it means the use of Latin letters in Japanese text. —kwami (talk) 18:42, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

Technically or literally speaking, yes it may be correct, but even so, it's still bad wording and I believe the word romaji as a technical term shouldn't be used as such. Quoting from the romaji (ローマ字) page from the Japanese Wikipedia:

>単に「ローマ字」(英語:the Roman alphabet)と言った場合、本来はラテン文字(ラテンアルファベット)のことを指す。
>ただし現在の日本では、ラテン文字を用いての日本語の表記法、および表記そのもの(ローマ字綴りの日本語 英語:Romanized Japanese)をローマ字と呼ぶことが多く、[..]

(translation by me)>The naming of "romaji". Properly, when you just say "romaji" (the Roman alphabet), it refers to the "ratenmoji" (Latin alphabet). [...]. But in Japan today, romaji are often referred to the scripting of the Japanese language via the Latin alphabet or the script itself. [...].
@kwami If you really think your statement is true, then I suggest you to go the Romanization of Japanese page and challenge its definetion:The romanization of Japanese is the application of the Latin script to write the Japanese language. This method of writing is known as rōmaji (ローマ字?). And question them why is romaji redirected to that page.
@Imaginatorium As it's said in the Japanese Wikipedia quote, if we specifically want to refer to the Latin alphabet we just say ratenmoji(ラテン文字, "Latin letters"), we usually don't (IMO never) use romaji as this usage because it causes confusion due to the reason mentioned above. And for why people use "romaji" in English, well this is just my opinion but I think it's because "romaji" implies a lot more clearer of the idea of "romanization (of Japanese)" than just writing down the word "romanization"; and not to mention that it's much more easier to type too. --Doncot (talk) 15:34, 1 August 2012 (UTC)


"A common ancestor of Japanese and Ryukyuan languages or dialects is thought to have been brought to Japan by settlers coming from either continental Asia or nearby Pacific islands (or both) sometime in the early- to mid-2nd century BC (the Yayoi period), replacing the language(s) of the original Jōmon inhabitants, including the ancestor of the modern Ainu language."

This statement is entirely unsupportable. The only source cited for this statement is an article that describes a recent academic study that has estimated that the most recent common ancestor of all extant Japonic languages and dialects was spoken at some time in the first millennium BCE. If this finding is enough to support a claim that "a common ancestor of Japanese and Ryukyuan languages or dialects is thought to have been brought to Japan by settlers coming from either continental Asia or nearby Pacific islands (or both) sometime in the early- to mid-2nd century BC," then the fact that the Korean language and the Ainu language each exhibit much less extant internal variation than the Japonic languages should be enough to support a claim that the ancestor of the Korean language was brought to Korea by settlers coming from Vietnam in the early-to mid-5th century CE or that the ancestor of the Ainu language was brought to Hokkaido, Sakhalin, and the Kuriles by settlers coming from Mars in the 10th century CE. It is just ridiculously biased and groundless claptrap. Ebizur (talk) 21:38, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

It's a common enough claim. — kwami (talk) 11:42, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
The claims in the passage above are not supported by the source. For example, there is nothing in the article about Pacific islands, and the claims in the source are presented far more skeptically than what the article claims. It does say this: "The finding, if confirmed, indicates that the Yayoi people took Japonic to Japan, but leaves unresolved the question of where in Asia the Yayoi culture or Japonic language originated before arriving in the Korean Peninsula." The source also says the arrival of the Yayoi has been pushed back to about 3000 years ago.CüRlyTüRkeyTalkContribs 05:22, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

What a mess!

Venting: What a mess this page is! For example, there are two references to Vovin 2008, without any mention of the name of this mysterious 2008 volume... CüRlyTüRkeyTalkContribs 09:03, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Could someone who is an expert explain the basics at the top?

I am not a linguistic expert and speak only one foreign language fluently, but I wanted to read about japanese language before visit to the country. Well, this Wikipedia article is beyond non-expert comprehension requiring up to seven levels deep linking of terms to understand the concepts mentioned in the first two lines of the article. Seriously? This is why I keep thinking I need to buy the last print edition of the print encyclopedia, so a common person can learn. Please rewrite to simplicity. — Precedingunsigned comment added by (talk) 15:10, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

I'm assuming you're referring to paragraph 2, as the first two lines are:

Japanese (日本語 Nihongo?, /ni.ho.ɴ.go/, [nihõ̞ŋgo̞], [nihõ̞ŋŋo̞] ( listen)) is an East Asian language spoken by about 125 million speakers, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. It is a member of the Japonic (or Japanese-Ryukyuan) language family, whose relation to other language groups is debated, particularly to Korean and the Altaic language family.

The second paragraph is an overview of the grammar/syntax/sound system of the language, and yes, it is a bit over the heads of "common" people. The concepts in that paragraph are quite involved, and rewriting them in layman's terms while keeping the lead concise would be challenging, to say the least.
Is there another language article whose lead sums up the language in a way you find more accessible? We could use that as a model to rewrite the Japanese lead. CüRlyTüRkeyTalkContribs 03:04, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Japanese learning sites

I know most of these sites are discouraged. However is a learning site called "Erin's Challenge" - It is sponsored byThe Japan Foundation Japanese Language Institute, Urawa -- that's a semi-governmental organization, so it is more valuable to include than commercial links WhisperToMe (talk) 12:44, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

  • If there is no feedback in one week I would like to add this website to the EL list. WhisperToMe (talk) 03:01, 17 December 2012 (UTC)