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Japanese

Japanese belongs to the Japonic language group, there are similarities to be found with Korean. Since the 5th century, Japanese has been adopting words from Chinese, partially also from Korean and Finnish; since the 16th century, the influence of European nations is evident (at first it was Portuguese and Dutch, later on it was German, English and French).

There are three different systems of writing used in notations (Kanji, hiragana and katakana), every sign may have numerous ways of being read and the correct pronunciation depends on the context.

The Japanese grammatical levels of politeness are a curiosity:

Familiar form used among family, friends and also used in impersonal texts (newpaper).

Polite form is used while talking to adults outside of a closed group, with strangers, is always polite, and does not convey trust or social unevenness.

Respectful form is used when talking to someone, who is significantly higher on the social ladder, or someone who is considerably older, or when talking to a respectable person or an important artist. The respectful form is used even when only mentioning these people. Two levels are distinguished, sonkeigo – conveys respect and kenjogo – lowers the social level of the speaker (humble speech)