This book is a detailed survey of the two main indigenous languages of Japan, Japanese and Ainu. No genetic relationship has been established between them, and structurally they differ significantly. Professor Shibatani has therefore divided his study into two independent parts. The first is a most comprehensive study of the polysynthetic Ainu language. The second part deals extensively with Japanese. It discusses topics from the evolution of the writing system and the differences between men's and women's speech, to issues of greater theoretical complexity, such as phonology, the lexicon and word-formation, and the syntax of agglutinative morphology. As an American-trained scholar in Japan, the author is in an unique postion that affords him a dual perspective on language deriving from Western linguistic scholarship and the Japanese grammatical tradition.