This first chapter provides a general introduction to the book, presenting its aims, methods, theoretical background, the status, origins, and periodisation of the Japanese language, as well as the previous scholarship written on the subject of Japanese phonology. It also presents the writing system of modern Japanese, made of a mixture of Chinese characters, two kana syllabaries and Latin alphabet, and describes and discusses the issue of the lexicon partition into Yamato, Sino-Japanese and Western words.
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