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THE JAPANESE LANGUAGE – EASY OR DIFFICULT?

The Japanese language is among the most difficult languages in the world when it comes to its complexity. Still, how difficult it is to learn the language is a matter of debate. Some advise against learning it, claiming that it is impossible to master due to the workload required, others do not hesitate to encourage new students to give Japanese a go.

Japanese – a language family

The history of Japanese dates back to the 5th–8th century. During this time, the Japanese began to use characters borrowed from the Chinese to write the words of their language. Numerous evidence points towards the hypothesis that Japanese is part of the Uralo-Altaic language group, due to its morphological and syntactic similarities. It is also frequently claimed that Japanese is related to Korean and the Pacific languages. There is, however, no confirmed information regarding the origin of the language of the Land of the Rising sun.

How many tenses are there in Japanese?

Japanese has only two tenses – the past tense and the present-future tense. It makes use of nouns, verbs and adjectives. The word order in the language is similar to that of Latin. The subject in Japanese sentences occupies the first position, and is followed by the object and the predicate, while most European languages place the predicate at the end. Adjectives, which conjugate like verbs, act as predicates in Japanese sentences.

How many characters are there in Japanese?

There are four writing systems which are commonly used in Japan – kanji, hiragana, katakana and the Latin alphabet. Kanji, or mostly Chinese-borrowed characters – amount to more than 60 thousand. However, the Japanese use significantly fewer of them. The two syllabaries – katakana and hiragana, are made up of 48 characters each. The Japanese needed a simpler writing system for everyday communication. As a result, a large portion of the Chinese writing system was adapted to the needs of Japanese.

Is Japanese easy?

In order to fluently communicate in Japanese, you need to master at least 2,000 kanji characters, hiragana and katakana. Hiragana is considered to be the women’s syllabary, as it was originally most often used in courts. It has no separate phones, only syllables. Every hiragana character has its katakana counterpart, which is also a simplified syllabary – nowadays, it is most often used for borrowings from other languages. It is also often used by manga artists. The basics of Japanese are relatively easy to master, but, over the course of learning, the language becomes more and more complex for the user.

Is Japanese difficult?

Nowadays, the Japanese use three, and sometimes even four, writing systems in everyday communication. Achieving fluency in Japanese is by no means easy – just consider the number of characters you need to master to be able to use it proficiently. However, the actual difficulty of the language is still a subject of debates. Fans of the language claim that learning it poses no problems. Others would dissuade you from even attempting to learn it.

The language of the Land of the Rising Sun

The Japanese language, even though it is considered to be one of the most difficult languages in the world, has countless fans. What is more, due to the similarities in pronunciation, Poles have an easy time learning it. One thing is for certain – it is always good to expand your knowledge, and mastering the language of the Land of the Rising Sun is sure to open up vast new opportunities.

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