Chinese and Japanese (18)

1 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-02-05 17:07 ID:sYEq22Bo

I want to learn Japanese and Chinese both. I can speak and listen Chinese quite well, but I cannot quite read or write. This goes same for Japanese, except Japanese is a little worse. How should I learn these two? Should I learn Chinese first and maybe it's easier to learn Japanese then? Or vice versa. Thanks

2 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-02-05 19:07 ID:sYEq22Bo

and also, how similar are these two languages? Will I be able to pick up words if I know one of the language?

And also, for Chinese, how do you know if the word is either traditional or simplified? I am currently learning the simplified version. Thanks

3 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-02-10 16:58 ID:FxTXHbCB

Most of, but not all of, Japanese Kanji is pick up from Chinese. But I think, you don't need to consider that, you can speak and listen them already. They are two different language, even they have some similarity and relationship.

I use traditional Chinese, and I can read simplified without learning. So I won't suggest you to learn simplified Chinese. But if you need to use simplified Chinese, that's OK.

4 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-02-11 20:56 ID:v1rbQmM2

simplified people can't read traditional?

5 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-02-17 03:52 ID:+u++ZWGJ

Japanese and Chinese are in completely different linguistic families. Kanji aside, they're totally unrelated, so don't expect many cognates or similar gramatic structures.

It's like comparing Greek and Finnish.

I recommend studying one language at a time.

6 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-02-18 20:10 ID:Heaven

actually finnish is heavily influenced by indo-european languages, and some people believe the finno-ugric and indo-european language families are related.

7 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-02-19 05:04 ID:z1vJe9sg

Ok, fine.

Like Finnish and Arabic.

8 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-02-19 11:02 ID:hHrzhL41


well, they are not of the same linguistic families but since japanese, at a certain (quite long) period took many words from chinese, there is a lot of words that are the same (writing) and that sound like more or less the same

9 Name: Kenji : 2007-03-14 10:29 ID:vhfJa8Uc

In Japanese, the Onyomi of kanji is the Chinese pronunciation. This...really isn't true, but that is how the language is set up. For instance, the kunyomi, or Japanese pronunciation, of the word "heart" is "kokoro." The onyomi is "shin." Onyomi is mostly used for kanji combinations.

10 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-11-10 14:32 ID:mUnqxmkU

Onyomi is the old Chinese pronunciation,not the modern Chinese pronunciation except for several words.

11 Name: Noob : 2007-11-10 15:18 ID:xdVBT4F6

Some of the Japanese kanji that are still consistant with Chinese characters have different meanings in Japan than they do in China. Also, since kanji were introduced to Japan so long ago, the characters have evolved differantly there than in China.

12 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-11-10 18:01 ID:JBqxtPqy


And, likewise, Japanese has been heavily influenced by Chinese. I mean, they basically took half of Chinese's vocabulary and 'Japanicised' it.

13 Post deleted.

14 Name: !!xIb4rnRy : 2007-11-14 09:28 ID:olKM9KJV

True many words differ, but you can still recognise the similarity in many: kou - gao1, shin - xin1, fuan - bu4an1, rainen - lai2nian2... Can't understand Japanese knowing Chinese, but it does help with the learning. Especially considering 60% of Japanese vocabulary are old Chinese loanwords (compared to about 35% being native Japanese words).

15 Name: c : 2007-11-14 18:07 ID:2yniidWY

Personally, I think learning both will help.

I think Japanese is much easier than chinese, even though im chinese. I studied chinese for 8 years and learnt literally nothing. I learn more japanese in a day than I've learnt chinese my whole life lol.

16 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-02-04 06:32 ID:dhRDK7un

I'm Japanese. The order of word in Chinese sentences is very similar to that in English sentences (Subject, Verb, ...). Therefore, if you know only Chinese characters in addition to English grammer, you will understand Chinese sentences, I think. However, the order of word in Japanese sentences (Subject, ..., ..., ..., Verb)is completely different from that in Chinese sentences.

17 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-02-05 13:21 ID:wFkXNEu3

Japanese sentence order isn't a major problem for English speakers. I actually think it makes it seem easier than English itself, as the words which are the most important end up going first. In English you might say "I want to check out your nice boat", and by the time you get to saying "boat" the other guy is already half asleep, or if they're an ESL student then they're busy trying to understand the fluff at the start of the sentence which isn't crucial to understanding what was asked.

What's hard in Japanese:

Using the right particle for the right situation. It's too easy to confuse ni/de which on the surface appear to perform the same purpose to an English speaker.

People in real life not conjugating in ways the textbooks teach. People omitting particles in casual speech. People compressing longer sequences into shorter ones in a manner similar to English apostrophes but much more confusing. sureba -> surya ?

Having to constantly think about who you're talking to so that you can use the right style of language. Is the person you're talking to uchi or soto? What about the person you're talking about? Are you in a situation where you should be using keigo, substituting entire sets of verbs for completely different verbs?

Having to think about what you're supposed to say in situations where in English you wouldn't have had to say a thing, or would have said something completely different (largely cultural differences.)

And of course kanji, which has been mentioned already. I don't think this is as big a problem, unless your plans are to be able to read. You can get a long way in any language knowing only conversation.

18 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-02-14 17:40 ID:7t9E9PgT

As others pointed out, the two languages are only related by writing systems, location, and a certain few words. If I were the OP, I would avoid learning them together or even close to each other for fear of massive confusion.

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