Japanese is a language spoken by over 127 million people, mainly in Japan, but also by Japanese emigrant communities around the world. It is considered an agglutinative language and is distinguished by a complex system of honorifics reflecting the hierarchical nature of Japanese society, with verb forms and particular vocabulary which indicate the relative status of speaker and listener. The sound inventory of Japanese is relatively small, and it has a lexically-distinctive pitch accent system. Its recorded history goes back to the 8th century, when the three major works of Old Japanese were compiled.

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