What's new

Welcome to Japan Reference (JREF) - the community for all Things Japanese.

Join Today! It is fast, simple, and FREE!

Chinese vs Japanese language study

visser300

先輩
Joined
5 Sep 2011
Messages
68
Reaction score
4
I'm Japanese teacher n now I'm learning a little Chinese... 😊 I think Chinese is easier than Japanese...n the philosophy of Chinese letter is more meaningfull... hehehe :D

The problem is you have 4200-5000 Chinese letter to remember. Moreover, you have to be fluently in Chinese pronuntiation which is not easy also.
 

nonamelive

後輩
Joined
9 Dec 2012
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
One of the disadvantages of Chinese is it has too many dialects which make the language is nearly impossible to master. In brief, if you learn Mandarin, you can read book but you can't communicate with Shanghai or Guanzdong people.

I really think you don't need to worry about that. As a native Mandarin speaker, I can't understand Cantonese, Shanghainese, and many other dialects at all, but I can still communicate with them because everyone knows and speaks Mandarin.
 

kraystone

Mangaka entrepreneur
Joined
11 Apr 2011
Messages
230
Reaction score
223
I'm a Singaporean and my mother tongue is Chinese, but I find it hard to communicate with people from Shanghai/Beijing if they speak too fast. Chinese usually have no problem learning Japanese (unless he/she is not motivated enough). For example, in my Japanese language school, most of the students in advance classes are Chinese from China or Taiwan. But no matter how good their Japanese become, it still has that Chinese accent...

I think Japanese would be easier for a foreigner to pick up because so many words are from English...like romantic, love, desk, table, pen...
 

Korra

後輩
Joined
2 Feb 2013
Messages
61
Reaction score
3
Japanese originated from Chinese language.

Kanji may be easy. Isn't it?
 

Gee337

Neutral Good
Joined
19 Oct 2012
Messages
51
Reaction score
9
Japanese originated from Chinese language.

Kanji may be easy. Isn't it?

I am used to people asking me to speak/explain Chinese even though know I don't speak it at all but one would think people living right there would be able to tell the difference between Chinese, Korean and Japanese. As far as I know Japanese is actually more similiar to Korean, isn"t it? At least some grammar. And a few words as well. I only listened to a few online Korean lessons, but for example 감사합니다 sounded to me like ナ?’ナステ凪?堋オ窶堙懌?堋キ (kansha shimasu). 학교 and ナ?wツ校 (gakkou), 가방 and 窶堋ゥ窶堙寂?堙ア (kaban) are similiar as well. I guess that's because those are words originated from China?

As for Kanji, it depends on skill and the method you use. I wouldn't say it's easy though, especially with all the different readings.
 

Korra

後輩
Joined
2 Feb 2013
Messages
61
Reaction score
3
Korean isn't chinese, but somewhat similar. My language originated from chinese.

As for Kanji, it's the letters of Chinese, also Hanja. But, the way of saying it has changed, so that it would be easy for us.
 

Korra

後輩
Joined
2 Feb 2013
Messages
61
Reaction score
3
What i mean is that Chinese was considered as the highest form of learning in Korea, but idk about Japan. But Kanji is from of the Chinese characters.

There are also sayings that Japanese simplified the Chinese characters and changed it to a much simple way.
 

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Moderator
Joined
22 Feb 2008
Messages
17,452
Reaction score
3,584
Indeed Japanese writing system(kanji, hiragana, katakana) originated from Chinese characters, and some vocabralies of Japanese originated from Chinese words, but Japanese LANGUAGE is not so.
 

Anatoli

先輩
Joined
27 Jun 2006
Messages
154
Reaction score
5
I have studied both Japanese and Chinese for quite some time. I never reached any fluency but I can communicate on some level in both Chinese and Japanese. I can also read in both, I hate writing by hand but I can send emails in Chinese and Japanese.

I've come to the conclusion that Japanese is easier when you get to an intermediate level.

Japanese difficulties:
1. Grammar, sentence structure.
2. Inconsistent, often unpredictable kanji readings sometimes ridiculous readings, e.g. you can tell readers to pronounce
ヒ?ェナ?pツ獣 (ikkakujū) as ニ停??ニ男ニ坦ツーニ停? (yunikōn). Therefore many books are supplied with furigana (ruby).
3. Speech levels - formal, informal, casual, honorific cause problems even for native speakers. Manga Japanese (extremely casual and often distorted, peppered with dialectal forms or words) is hard to read.
4. Heavy use of onomatopoeia to describe not just sounds but many other things. This concept is different from many other languages

Chinese difficulties:
1. The number of hanzi is significantly larger. Whatever you read/write, has to be in Chinese characters, including your own name, any foreign place name. Loanwords are few and they don't make your learning any easier. Their pronunciation is much more consistent and predictable than Japanese counterparts but a large percentage of Japanese text is hiragana/katakana.
2. Simple grammar is not always a blessing. Long sentences are sometimes harder to understand and break up.
3. The number of ツ青ャ语/ツ青ャナ津ェ (chéngyǔ) is high. The Chinese idioms are not easier to understand, you need to learn them.
4. Tones are hard. They are not a show stopper, though. You need to spend weeks or months, not years to learn them but I know a few people who are terrible with tones, even if they work hard.
5. Listening comprehension is much harder in Chinese because many words are shorter and their meaning depends on the context. It's hard to pick up "chengyu"

Overall, when reading in Chinese, I have to use a dictionary quite often and you usually need a dictionary, which allows to draw characters. Luckily, there are good dictionaries now.
Japanese seems easier to learn from picking up conversations.

All depends on your interest and ability, of course but I find Chinese is objectively harder. I have difficulties with casual Japanese but I can slowly read modern stories in standard Japanese. I have spent more time learning Chinese but I still can't read Chinese books on the same level or it takes about twice as long.

I have tried to be objective, didn't mean to criticise Chinese. I like both Chinese and Japanese and will continue learning and using them.
 

Esuteru

窶ー^窶督ス
Joined
6 May 2013
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
What i mean is that Chinese was considered as the highest form of learning in Korea, but idk about Japan. But Kanji is from of the Chinese characters.

There are also sayings that Japanese simplified the Chinese characters and changed it to a much simple way.

I am laughing at this thread right now. Me and my parents learned the traditional set of characters so Kanji were pretty much same thing. Just that Japanese pronounce their characters differently. Also, there are select characters of which they use for different meanings or which have now been changed/obsolete.

It is a lot of characters to memorize, but you have to remember that you learn them as a kid and you don't know anything else. I'm not sure why everyone says one is harder than the other. My mom always remarked: "Vietnamese, Arabic. It's all the same. If you learned Vietnamese first, it's easy. If you learned Arabic first, it's easy."

I actually read that the Japanese ended up using Chinese characters because China was a strong country before. So they decided to borrow the Chinese characters. Although Korea and Vietnam sacked them in favor of their own renewed writing systems, Japan did not, and like China, continued to use the Chinese characters. It's curious that both China and Japan have never found a new writing system.
 
Top Bottom