As shown to the right, languages are classified into “Language Families“. Languages in the same family share much in common. If, for instance, a person speaks French, Spanish and English, they speak languages all in the same Indo-European language family. So if that person were to ask me “How do you say ‘yes’ in German” (another Indo-European language), they would rightly expect a rather simple answer. That is because word usage overlaps a great deal in related languages.
However, Japanese is a completely different language family (“Japonic”) and thus the way of saying things in Japanese is often hugely different from the way of saying things in Indo-European languages. Thus, as my diagram above shows, asking “How do you say ‘yes’ in Japanese?” would involve a complicated answer.
In my coming post, I will relate this phenomena to ideolects, abstractions, definitions and obstacles in communication.