View Full Version : Chinese vs Japanese language study

Apr 15, 2009, 10:33
Did some of the users here try both languages? I have been learning both Chinese (Mandarin) and Japanese for quite some time and outside the proper environment. I haven't reached more than intermediate in both as they are both hard languages.

I want to ask a stupid question, which language is easier for you and why?

Both languages belong to the group of 4 languages requiring quite a lot of time to become functional, let alone fluent (the other two are Korean and Arabic).

In my opinion, if you overcome the first hurdles of the tones and initials in Chinese, then learning to speak becomes easier compared to Japanese. In Japanese, however, you can quite often fall onto hiragana only writing, avoiding embarrassing lack of knowledge of unknown kanji. You can't do that with Chinese and reading a significant text requires a good knowledge of characters.

The second obstacle can be overcome by using online pop-up dictionaries if you read an electronic text or if you have texts with pinyin (not recommended for practicing reading Chinese characters).

The Japanese grammar is not so hard for me but I know it causes pain to many learners much more than the Chinese grammar.

Anyway, please share your opinion. I know it's hard to make it unbiased. Please keep to the point, it's not about the motivation but about linguistic problems.

Apr 21, 2009, 15:41
Haha, I can't answer you this question, for Chinese is my native language, I can't tell which one is difficult . I tried to study Japanese before, and found it is not easy . Since there are many Chinese characters in Japanese, I thought it will be easy for learning Japanese, But it turned out to be no. The Characters are in traditional Chinese characters, and different with what I use in daily life. It is not easy to remember all of them.

Apr 21, 2009, 18:56
That proves that Chinese characters are objectively hard even for Chinese. If you have characters you don't know, it turns out not easy.

Since for me both Chinese and Japanese are foreign, of course I found that having less characters to learn is easy but the readings are so unpredictable, especially in names and rare words.