It is a member of the Japonic (or Japanese-Ryukyuan) language family. There are a number of proposed relationships with other languages, but none of them has gained unanimous acceptance (see Classification of Japanese).
Japanese is an agglutinative language and a mora-timed language. It has a relatively small sound inventory, and a lexically significant pitch-accent system. It is distinguished by a complex system of honorifics reflecting the nature of Japanese society, with verb forms and particular vocabulary to indicate the relative status of the speaker, the listener, and persons mentioned in conversation. Japanese vowels are pure.
The Japanese language is written with a combination of three scripts: Chinese characters called kanji, and two syllabic scripts made up of modified Chinese characters, hiragana and katakana.
The Latin alphabet, romaji, is also often used in modern Japanese, especially for company names and logos, advertising, and when entering Japanese text into a computer. Arabic numerals are generally used for numbers, but traditional Sino-Japanese numerals are also commonplace (see Japanese numerals).