Japanese is spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and Japanese emigrant communities. It is distinguished by a complex system of honorifics reflecting the hierarchical nature of Japanese society, with verb forms and particular vocabulary to indicate the relative status of speaker and listener. The sound inventory of Japanese is relatively small, and has a lexically distinct pitch-accent system.

In its written form, Japanese employs three different forms of Chinese characters. The Latin alphabet is often used in modern Japanese, especially for company names and logos, advertising, and when entering Japanese text into a computer. Western-style Arabic numerals are generally used for numbers,though traditional Sino-Japanese numerals are also commonplace. Japanese vocabulary has been heavily influenced by loanwords from other languages, especially Chinese. Since the late 19th century, Japanese has borrowed extensively from Indo-European languages.

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