Lee, Keun-mo. 2006. Ambiguous Words in the Lives of Japanese People. The Sociolinguistic Journal of Korea 14(1). There are many ambiguous words amid the linguistic lives of the Japanese people, and the reasons include the following. First, in terms of the Japanese language, its vocabulary is comprised of over 720,000 words, compared to that of syllables, the minimal unit in pronunciation, consisting of just 112 units. The structure of the Japanese language is composed of (1) wago, the original Japanese language of history, (2) Chinese characters, introduced from China, (3) borrowings, originating from the West, and (4) hybrid words, formed by a combination of these languages. Thus, there are many points in which vocabulary use is complex and confusing. Second, compared to the West being nations of hunting and livestock rearing, the Japanese people are an agricultural nation, and as such, priority is placed on the goal of achieving group unity and harmony rather than on the individual. As a result, the linguistic behavior has developed towards a direction that emphasizes politeness and deference and prescribes taciturnity or reserved speaking. Consequently, verbal communication becomes ambiguous due to consideration of others.