Japanese is an East Asian language that is primarily spoken in Japan by 125 million people. It is closely related to other Japonic languages such as Korean, although linguists are yet to agree how. How the language came into existence is not yet known, but early Chinese texts have a few Japanese words. The most recent documents of proper Japanese are found in the 8th century Chinese texts.

10 Japanese phrases you need to know before you go
10 Japanese phrases you need to know before you go

Japanese is an East Asian language that is primarily spoken in Japan by 125 million people. It is closely related to other Japonic languages such as Korean, although linguists are yet to agree how. How the language came into existence is not yet known, but early Chinese texts have a few Japanese words. The most recent documents of proper Japanese are found in the 8th century Chinese texts.

Japanese is the only East Asian language to loan words from the European languages. This proliferated especially during the self-imposed isolation of 18th and 19th century. Although with no genealogical relationship with Chinese, Japanese borrows heavily from the Chinese characters. It uses the Arabic numerals widely as well as a few Chinese numerals.

In countries that have large Japanese immigrants such as Brazil, US, Peru, Argentina, China, Taiwan and Philippines have some pockets of Japanese speakers. Japanese is the official and national language of Japan.

Below are a few Japanese phrases that you need to learn.

1. Sumimasen - Excuse me. Good manners are part of the Japanese culture. If you bump into a person accidentally on the street, be sure to say 'Sumimasen'.

2. Wakarimasen - I do not understand. Do not pretend to understand what is being said. The Japanese would find a way to help you understand what they are saying if you just shouted 'Wakarimasen'.

3. Kudasai - Please

4. Oishii - Delicious. Use this phrase in the dining context.

5. Houdai - As much as you can. You will see this phrase on the advertisements and billboards. It basically means that you can help yourself to as much as you can in say...food, drinks etc.

6. Arigatou - Thank you

7. Toire wa doko desu ka? - Where is the toilet?

8. Ikura? - How Much?

9. Eigo - English. The Japanese call English 'Eigo' and if you are an English speaking person, you will hear them using the phrase when trying to look for somebody that can speak English.

10. Itadakimasu - I humbly receive

If I did not know better, I would say that Japanese is a Bantu language. Only in Bantu languages such as Zulu and Swahili do you have the vowels following the consonants like that. If the language was not so hard to write, Japanese would be the easiest language to learn.

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