Japanese language is 日本語. But if I want to say The language of Japanese people - should I write 日本人の言{げん}語{ご}?

And if I want to say the same about animals, for example cat - like cat's language - is it right to say 猫の言語?

  • 猫語 is fine casually as well. Owner to whining cat: "Sorry, I don't speak cat" 「ごめん、俺猫語わかんないんだ(´・ω・`)」
    – Robin
    Sep 27 '14 at 12:59
  • I would prefer 猫語 if that's OK. Everything is very important about cats :) Just joking.. Sep 27 '14 at 14:18
  • 3
    @Will: Comments are not for answers.
    – istrasci
    Sep 27 '14 at 15:51
  • 1
    @Will I guess no one got back to you, but from my experience on other SE sites, yes you should post it as an answer. (Or someone else can make it into a CW answer if the original comment-answerer doesn't want to.) The point is comments are not permanent and this will move the question out of the unanswered section.
    – Kimball
    Mar 10 '15 at 3:30

Many countries/cultural groups already have a predefined ~語 in Japanese, アラビヤ語, セルビア語, for example.

言葉 is the all-purpose word for "words" and "language" ... the kanji do it justice as "leaves of talk"

言語 actually leans more toward "linguistics" 言語学 or "the study of language"

言葉は水だ "language is liquid" or "language is water" ... I don't think it would work as well using 言語 instead.

If you wanted to ask someone what languages they speak, you could ask 何語 話せますか OR どんな言葉 話せますか

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.