The Japanese Language

Front Cover
Tuttle Publishing, 1988 - Foreign Language Study - 295 pages
4 Reviews
A classic study by one of Japan’s foremost linguists, 'The Japanese Language' illuminates one of the world’s most common and commonly misunderstood languages. With fascinating discussions of the controversial beginnings of Japanese, and able clarifications of the dialects, jargon, and layers of formality which color this language, it is an excellent reference for students of the Japanese language. Striking illustrations of the concepts that infuse Japanese speech -- from single words representing the dark shadows cast by dense trees to the many words expressing shades of blue -- reveal the familiar structures and values of Japanese culture.
  

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Review: The Japanese Language

User Review  - Allan - Goodreads

This is a book about Japanese liguistics and language. It will not help you learn Japanese necessarily. One of the first books, written not long after the end of WWII, that examined Japanese language ... Read full review

Review: The Japanese Language

User Review  - John - Goodreads

It may be that it's because my own Japanese proficiency is so minimal but, while this was very interesting in parts I found a lot of it to be very dry and difficult reading. Maybe it's because a lot ... Read full review

Contents

1 An Isolated Language
30
Originality
32
Role of isolation
34
2 Contact with Other Languages
36
Degeneration of the language
37
Influence from foreign languages
39
Chinese character wordsmerits and demerits
41
Chinese character wordswhat shall we do with them?
45
Words characteristic of a language
151
Favorite words
153
4 Nature
156
The seasons
158
Heavenly bodies
160
Topography
161
Water
162
Vegetation
165

The influence of Japanese on foreign languages
49
ASPECTS OF SPEECH
53
1 Regional Differences
54
The origin of dialects
57
The standard language and the common language
59
2 Occupational Differences
62
Official terminology
64
Academic circles
66
3 Differences by Status and Sex
69
Superiors and inferiors
70
Malefemale distinctions
72
4 Differences by Situation
78
Persistence of literary expressions
80
Peculiarity of desu and masu forms
83
Desu and masu forms in daily speech
86
PRONUNCIATION
89
1 The Syllable
90
Each syllable is a dot
92
2 The Phonemes
96
Vowels
97
Consonants
99
Relation between vowels and consonants
102
3 The Sound System
105
Syllabic nasal and syllabic stop
107
Paucity of syllable types
109
4 From Syllables to Words
114
Pitch accent
117
Rhythm
123
VOCABULARY
127
1 Size and Construction
128
Are there comprehensive words?
130
Is the vocabulary system well organized?
131
Are there contradictory words and phrases?
133
2 Characteristics of Words
138
Japanese words are long
140
Abundance of variable words
142
Many homonyms and synonyms
145
Distinctions between parts of speech
147
3 The Cultural Index
149
Various ways of differentiation
150
Animals
167
5 Human Biology and Emotions
170
Internal organs
172
Injuries and diseases
173
The senses
175
Value words
178
Body movement
180
Daily necessities
182
Moral and aesthetic consciousness
184
6 Family and Society
188
Social position and sex distinction
190
Terms of respect
194
Social interaction
197
7 Abstract Ideas
202
Colors
205
Abstract ideas
206
SENTENCE CONSTRUCTION
209
1 Form and Length
210
Sentence endings
212
Sentence length
217
2 Sentence Types
223
Significative words and phrases at the ends of sentences
225
The subject and the topic words
228
Expressions ending in nouns
232
3 Word and Phrase Arrangement
236
Languages with similar word order
239
Freedom in Japanese word order
240
Modifiers at the beginning
241
Predicates at the end
244
4 Word and Phrase Combination
251
Joining sentences
253
Linking participial adjectives
257
Flexibility of noun phrases
262
Word modulation
267
5 Terse Expressions
271
Ellipsis in the predicate
274
POSTSCRIPT
277
We create Japanese
279
SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES
281
Copyright

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About the author (1988)

Haruhiko Kindaichi, one of Japan's most famous linguists, is professor of Japanese at Jochi (Sophia) University, Tokyo. He is a well-known radio and television personality, having won the Cultural Broadcasting Award in 1977. A graduate of Tokyo University, he has published numerous books on Japanese linguistics, of which this is the first to be translated into English. His father, Kyosuke Kindaichi, also a linguist, was noted for his pioneering studies of the Ainu language.

Umeyo Hirano, the translator, is a graduate of the University of Hawaii and Ryukoku University in Kyoto. For many years a professor of English at Kyoto Woman's College and Osaka City University, she has lectured on Japanese language and literature at Columbia University. Her previous translations include Tsutsumi Chunagon Monogatari and Kurata's Shinran.

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