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Japanese (日本語) is an East Asian language and it belongs to the isolated family of Japonic languages. It amounts around 128 million speakers, especially in Japan where it has a status of the national language. However, no law gives it the status of an official language, in spite of the fact that this is the language of official documents and education. There are two categories of main dialects. One of them is spoken in the East, including the Tokyo area, and the other one in used the West, including the Kyoto area.

Three writing systems are used as Japanese alphabet: Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. They are pronounced in several ways. Most of them are characterized by Sino-Japanese pronunciation, called Onyomi, and a Japanese, called Kunyomi.

Japanese is an agglutinating language called “head-final language”: the predicate is placed at the end of the sentence, the object is placed before the verb, the adjective is placed before the noun, and morphology is mostly suffix-based. There is no article, no gender, no number; the verbs are never conjugated according to persons (I, you, he…); invariable particles indicate the function of the word in the sentence (their role is therefore similar to that of the cases in most agglutinating or inflectional languages).

Grammatically, politeness in Japanese is expressed by a special form of the verb and the use of the honorific form of words. However, Japanese politeness does not end there and the choice of vocabulary, or even the subject for discussion, are at least no less or even more important elements.

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