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Transcript of Japanese Language
By the 7th century, Chinese characters were being inserted into the written Japanese language, word order and participle structure.
In the 8th century, the women of Heian Court in Kyoto formed the second phonetic script of Japanese, hiragana (used in children's writing to represent function words), for poetry, novels, and diaries. This is used today in a more modernized form with Chinese Characters, or Kanji, to present written Japanese.
During the 12th century, a book called Heike Monogatari (Tales of the Heike) was written with a mixture of Chinese characters, phonetic script, and Japanese language structure.
During the 16th century the (Warring States), Sengoku, Portuguese and other Western Nations went to Japan, bringing Christian religion, technology, and their own language. The Portuguese created a Japanese dictionary. The Japanese borrowed many words from the Portuguese as well.
1. Old Japanese - up to the 8th century.
2. Late old Japanese - 9th century to 11th century.
3. Middle Japanese - 12th century to 16th century.
4. Modern Japanese - 17th century to present day.
Other significant changes
From ancient to modern times, the vowel sounds have gone from eight to five as well as vocabulary, phonological, and morphological changes.
Over the past 700 years the dialect has gone from the capital, Heian Kyo (Kyoto) to Kamakura (near present day Tokyo) in 1292.
The Japanese Education Ministry finished a complete revision of Chinese characters in 1946, to 1,850 characters (1,945 in 1981).
History of the Japanese Language
Japanese was originally only a strictly spoken language about 1,500 years ago.
Japanese is believed to be connected to the Ural-Altaic family, which includes; Turkish, Mongolian, Manchu, and Korean. It's an East Asian language.
Approximately over 126 million people speak Japanese, out of that, 124 million are in Japan, and the island of Okinawa. 2 million are in America, Canada, and Australia.
There are many other speakers that reside in Asia, China, and Korea.
Due to the Chinese introduction of governmental systems, art styles, manufacturing methods, and Buddhism, the Chinese writing systems had been made, giving the Japanese a way of writing for the first time, they recorded their language through poetry and prose.
In 1603, Japan was shut down from all outside cultural influences because of the rise of Tokuguawa Ieyasu, a military ruler (Shogun). For the next 250 years, linguistics, Christianity, and western learning was abandoned.
For the sake of survival and competition, Japan reopened their doors in 1868 for western technology to soon adapt their world. English, German, and other western languages were also introduced to the Japanese people. Later integrated into the Japanese pronunciation and writing systems for a more easy use. Afterwards, the Japanese language held strong and reached throughout Asia, China, Korea, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines.
The Meiji Period
At the end of the 16th century, a Japanese warrior by the name of Toyotomi Hideyoshi brought from Korea, a wooden moveable type. Shortly after, during Tokugawa Period, printing that was made possible by this moveable type expanded the literacy rate of the Edo (Tokyo) dialect, the primary dialect of the Japanese people during this period.
The first Japanese book ever written by imperial demand in the eighth century by Basil Hall Chamberlain. It is the oldest surviving Japanese book about the formation of life in early Japan.
The second oldest Japanese book written by W.G. Aston during the early Heian period. Also referred to as the Nihongi. It is a book of classical Japanese history.
After the destruction of World War II, military forces that resided in Japan tried to simplify the written Japanese language by eliminating the ancient Chinese characters (Kanji) and exchange them with romanized symbols (Romaji) based on the western language alphabet. They were unsuccessful.
1. Kansi Dialect of Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe region of Western Japan.
2. Kyushu Dialect of Japan's Southernmost main island.
3. Tokyo Dialect of the Kanto region (the standard dialect).
Both books are a historical collection of ancient Japanese legends.
(Records of Ancient Matters)
(The chronicles of Japan)
The influence of the English language is having a large impact on the modern day Japanese language. Along with the growing generation gap and the use of slang words by young people, it is expected to continue.
Today the dialect of choice for the Japanese people is the Tokyo dialect.
katakana is used with loan words, onomatopoetic words, terms for floral and fauna, and for italicized words.
Japanese is traditionally written vertically starting at the right side of the page.
Japanese is written using two methods of orthography, Chinese characters and syllabaries (symbols representing syllables).
There are 1,945 characters in the Joyo Kanji list (Kanji for daily use). Characters in the daily use list are always learned in Primary and Secondary schools. Newspapers also use this list.