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THE SPOKEN AND WRITTEN LANGUAGE


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The Spoken and Written Language

   The Spoken and Written Language

During the first centuries of writing in Japan, the spoken and the written language were identical. With the study of the Chinese literature, and the composition of works by the native literati almost exclusively in that language, grew up differences between the colloquial and literary idiom and terminology. The infusion of a large number of Chinese words into the common speech steadily increased; while the learned affected a pedantic style of conversation, so interlarded with Chinese names, words, and expressions, that to the vulgar their discourse was almost unintelligible.

Buddhism also made Chinese the vehicle of its teachings, and the people everywhere became familiar, not only with its technical terms, but with its stock phrases and forms of thought. To this day the Buddhist, or sham-religious, way of talking is almost a complete tongue in itself, and a good dictionary always gives a Buddhistic meaning of a word separately.

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   The Spoken and Written Language
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