Japanese (日本語 Nihongo) is a language spoken by over 120 million people in Japan and in Japanese immigrant communities. 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.
Japanese is an agglutinative language and a mora-timed language. It has a relatively small sound inventory, and a lexically significant pitch-accent system. 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. Japanese vowels are pure.
Although Japanese is written using Chinese characters, and has historically imported many words of Chinese origin, the two languages are not considered to have a genealogical relationship.The Japanese language is written with a combination of three scripts: Chinese characters called kanji (漢字?), and two syllabic (or moraic) scripts made of modified Chinese characters, hiragana (ひらがな or 平仮名?) and katakana (カタカナ or 片仮名?). The Latin script, rōmaji (ローマ字?), is also often used in modern Japanese, especially for company names and logos, advertising, romanization of Japanese characters, and when entering Japanese text into a computer. Arabic numerals are generally used for numbers, but traditional Sino-Japanese numerals are also commonplace (see Japanese numerals).