Languages of Japan

Originally posted 2017-09-05 13:14:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

?The most widely spoken language in Japan is Japanese, which is separated into a large number of dialects with Tokyo dialect considered standard Japanese.

In addition to the Japanese language, Ryukyuan languages are spoken in Okinawa and parts of Kagoshima in the Ryukyu Islands. Along with Japanese, these languages are part of the Japonic language family,[1] but they are separate languages, and are not mutually intelligible with Japanese, or with each other. All of the spoken Ryukyuan languages are classified by UNESCO as endangered.

In Hokkaido, there are Ainu languages, which are spoken by the Ainu people, who are the indigenous people of Japan. The Ainu languages are isolated and do not fall under any language family. Ever since the Meiji period, Japanese has become widely used among the Ainu people and consequently Ainu languages have been classified critically endangered by UNESCO.

In addition, languages such as Orok, Evenki, and Nivkh spoken in formerly Japanese controlled southern Sakhalin are becoming more and more endangered. After the Soviet Union took control of the region, speakers of these languages and their descendants migrated to mainland Japan and still exist but in small numbers.

Speakers of Korean, Chinese, and Zainichi Korean, which stems from Korean, also reside in Japan.

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