Despite Japanese is known as one of the hardest languages to learn by western people, its structure might be one of the simplest there is. Mastering Japanese writing is all it takes to slide your way into Japanese proficiency. But how easy is this really, the following list of Japanese Language Stats will clear the reality behind this myth:
- What might have prompted Japanese reputation as one of the hardest languages to learn is that to write it, Japanese use the following types of scripts:
- Hiragana - the script used for syllabic simple words like particles, articles, and children's books. Contains 48 characters, of which, 39 are consonant-vowel conjugations.
- Katakana - the script used for foreign words that have been adopted by the Japanese language or for words with foreign roots. It has 48 characters as well.
- Kanji - the script introduced by Chinese. The first Japanese documents are alleged to be written in Kanji. This writing system possesses 2000 characters.
- Romaji - are the roman character we know and use. These characters are mostly used for foreigner's Japanese study but its characters are insufficient to plaster the meaning of words with clarity. Think of ‘hear' and ‘here' written like ‘heer' for phonetics purpose alone.
- More than 130 million people speak Japanese, but many countries that have welcomed Japanese immigrants boast large populations speaking this language as well. Most notably:
- Brazil: 1.5 million
- USA: 1.2 million
- Peru: 109 000
- Australia: 53 000
- Canada: 43,000
- Mexico: 35,000
- Argentina: 32,000
- Germany: 20,000
- Taiwan: 20 000
- Singapore: 20,000
- Philippines: 13 000
- Hong Kong: 12,000
- Paraguay: 12,000
- United Kingdom: 12,000
- Taiwan: 10,000
- Paraguay: 7,000
- Dominican Republic: 1,500
- United Arab Emirates: 1,300
- Panama: 1,200
- Despite possessing one of the most complicated writing systems in the world, Japan's adult literacy level reaches 99%.
- Besides using a different vocabulary and manner of speech depending on the gender of the speaker, Japanese have four different ways of addressing people:
- Kun - a somewhat condescending manner of speech
- Chan - a more familiar manner of speech used for children or people you are intimate with.
- San - a general or common manner of speaking
- Sama - a respectful way to address people