Similarities between Japanese and Other Languages

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All languages have similarities, it can be in writing, grammar, speech or in some words. In this article we will present the similarities that the Japanese language has with other languages such as Chinese, Portuguese, English, Korean and others.

When studying Japanese I realized that it has characteristics of several languages. This can happen because of history, influence, import and even by chance due to the results of the collective unconscious.

What is the benefit of knowing languages that have similarities to Japanese? Perhaps you are a curious polyglot, or want to find similar languages. I hope you like this article and share it with friends.

Similarities of Japanese to Chinese

Many times people end up thinking that Japanese and Chinese are the same. There are plenty of reasons, the Japanese uses most of the traditional Chinese ideograms and also imported most of his words.

But this is one of the few and few similarities with the Chinese language, because it is pronounced, and some spelling rules change completely. The only thing that remains beyond the ideograms is simplicity.

Chinese is a tonal language, while Japanese has few pre-defined syllables that the sound does not change in any way. The Chinese way of speaking is completely different from Japanese. Japanese writing also has 2 other syllabic alphabets that mix with ideograms imported from China.

Similarities between Japanese and other languages

Similarities of Japanese to German

How is Japanese similar to German? Have you noticed the huge and complicated words of the German language? They are junctions of small words that form others, which sometimes have very different meanings.

Like German, Japanese is a language that brings words together to form others. There are many similar languages, but German is one of the most popular when it comes to putting words together.

As in German, when referring to just a certain thing in Japanese, the word is written together using ideograms. Both German and Japanese put words together to form new ideas.

It can sometimes seem confusing that the Japanese language has no space, but the similarities are visible, and it was one of the first things I noticed when learning Japanese.

Similarities of Japanese to Sign Language

Japanese can be similar to sign languages for 2 reasons, primarily the simplicity of the language, and also because of the signs that represent images in the mind, just as ideograms do.

Sign language has a simple grammar and language. There are thousands of languages with a simple language, but the most similar with Japanese is the sign language.

Similarities between Japanese and other languages

Similarities between Japanese and Korean

The Japanese and Korean languages share several similarities, such as SOV grammar (subject + object + verb), typology, honorifics, prefix verbs, etc. One of the differences between Japanese and Korean is that Korean grammar is much more difficult than Japanese grammar.

About 40% of the Korean vocabulary is similar to the Japanese language. Like Japan, Korea was influenced by the Chinese language. Korea also had influences on the Japanese language, in the same way Japan also influenced Korea in some way.

Korean writing is totally different from Japanese writing, but they share the same idea. While Japan simplified its language by creating hiragana and katakana, Korea completely removed the ideograms by creating its own writing system.

Similarities between Japanese and other languages

Similarities between Japanese and Portuguese

The Portuguese language had a lot of influence on the Japanese language. The Portuguese arrived in Japan around 1542-1543, being the first Europeans to establish a continuous and direct flow of trade between Japan and Europe. 

Over the years, it was speculated that more than 4,000 Japanese words were influenced by the Portuguese and Portuguese languages. So we have many similar words in both languages.

It is believed that the tenten and maru (accentuation that changes the Japanese syllable) was created only because of the foreign Portuguese who lived in Japan.

Similarities between Japanese and other languages

Words like glass, alcohol, button, swing, flask, jesus, cover, cup, cross, bread and tobacco are used in Japanese adapted to Katakana script.

Read our article on Portuguese words imported into Japanese.

Similarities between Japanese and English

Like Portuguese, Japan has had a lot of influence from the English language in recent centuries. Nowadays most of the inventions and things that have come up have their name derived from English.

These words borrowed from English are called wasei-eigo, something similar happens a lot in the Portuguese language, where we talk about downloads, hashtag, update, outdoor and smartphone.

Similarities between Japanese and other languages

If 4,000 words of Portuguese origin in Japanese are many, the English influenced much more. Words like apartment, elevator, underwear, panties, ice cream, animation, butter, milk, bedrooms, building, computer, table, driver, fight and Christmas were imported from English.

Read our article on English words imported into Japanese.

Similarities of Japanese to Tupi-Guarani

For some reason, several Tupi-Guarani language families have striking similarities to the Japanese language. Words like wall, rain, restlessness and flowers of the field have an almost identical pronunciation.

It is not enough to have a similar pronunciation, Tupi-Guarani and Japanese have similar words with the same or similar meaning. Sometimes not just the words, but even Japanese grammar looks like Tupi-Guarani.

Similarities between Japanese and other languages

In Japanese there is the pronoun demonstrative year (あの) while in tupi there are demonstrative pronouns to and dwarf. Are these similarities coincidental or has there been some deviation in the history that united these two distant nations?

Read our article on Japanese similarities to Tupi-Guarani.

Similarities of Japanese to Hebrew

Some insist that the Hebrews influenced Japan in some way, both in history and in the political and language system. We are not going to discuss this from here, because scholars totally contradict this belief.

Still, there are small similarities between the Hebrew language and the Japanese language. This happens in both writing and pronunciation, but there is a scientific explanation for such coincidences.

The explanation for such a theory is what we call collective unconscious. It consists of the idea that we all inherit trends, functional traits, virtual images, which would be common to all human beings. Which explains several coincidences around the world.

Similarities between Japanese and other languages

similarities between Japanese and other languages

In addition to those mentioned, other scholars create theories similar to Japanese and other languages. Some claim that Japanese phonology is similar to that of Austronesian languages like the Creole language.

Other researchers have tried to link Japanese with Indo-European languages, Dravidian languages and with other Euro-Asian languages. There are some similarities between Altaic languages like Turkish, Mongolian and others.

I do not rule out the possibility that these languages will influence each other. Directly, indirectly or through the collective unconscious.

Is that you? Do you know any other language that resembles Japanese? Leave your comment on this subject and share it with friends!

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