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Thread: Japanese VS Chinese difficulty

  1. #1 Japanese VS Chinese difficulty 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    I just got into uni, starting with japanese from August (yay me!)

    What im wondering is, how difficult is Japanese compared to chinese?

    I wanted to go for Japanese because apparantly Chinese is EXTREMELY hard and i didnt want to go to hardcore.
    Also i love Japanese culture alot more.

    For now ive memorized Hiragana and katakana before school, yet here is the problem...

    FRIGGIN KANJI!

    I heard theres 8000 of them and you are supposed to memorize atleast 2000. LOL!

    I thought i was "rid" of kanji by NOT studying Chinese, yet these stupid things will probably haunt me for all my life now xD

    So yeah basicly what im wondering is how hard they are compared, and if thinking about jobs, i shouldve chosen Chinese?

    Will another depression in the US ruin the Japanese economy aswell? How will my choise in Japanese over Chinese be affected overall?

    (Ultra tired, havent slept in days so im rambling abit as usual, anyway thanks for any answers )


    A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. - David Stevens
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  3. #2  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    This is my personal opinion only, so take it with a grain of salt. China is growing faster than any other economy, and each day plays a bigger role in global business. Learning Mandarin provides more opportunities to benefit from all of that business. In Japan, nearly everyone with whom you will ever interact speaks English. Ergo, learning Japanese is neat, but not practical or entirely useful.

    It depends on what you will do with it, though. Cheers.


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  4. #3  
    Time Lord
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    A Chinese listener expects and tolerates a lot of mispronunciation and patois in speech. Japanese, though easier to speak, won't scan unless the (native) listener expects to hear (perfect) Japanese. For illustration: I could pronounce something totally baffling to a store clerk face-to-face, but exactly the same pronunciation over telephone or behind the back is understood. So, breaking through the Japanese disbelief is tedious. And then if you manage to suspend disbelief, they laugh.

    Chinese won't regard you as a talking horse, so struggling to communicate may be less emotionally taxing.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  5. #4  
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Thanks for your replies guys.

    About work oppurtunities. Isnt Japan also in the top 5 economic powers on earth? Or is the problem as you pointed out, that they have so many english speakers allready meaning harder competition?

    Also i went for Japanese since i like their culture more, is this then backfiring as i shouldve chosen Chinese for this exact reason? That fewer want to learn it and is intimidated by its difficulty, meaning less competition again.

    Not really having second thoughts, i was more curious about the difficulty. Because i think aslong as i become BEST at what i do i wont have a problem getting a good job.
    A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. - David Stevens
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  6. #5  
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    About work oppurtunities. Isnt Japan also in the top 5 economic powers on earth? Or is the problem as you pointed out, that they have so many english speakers allready meaning harder competition?
    Everybody takes some english, and picks up more from movies, etc. Teaching english is by far the most common occupation among foreigners... I don't know if that's so true for China. The obvious plan would be to visit one or both countries as english teacher so you learn by immersion and acclimatize, then decide where you'll live on better terms.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  7. #6  
    Forum Masters Degree Twit of wit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    apparantly Chinese is EXTREMELY hard
    What makes you think so? Of course, its writing system is hard, but so is Japanese. As the language itself, Chinese is not more difficult than other languages and it's actually quite similar to English.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    In what way, dotcomrade Twit? Prince assumes you refer to Mandarin dialect, honorable sir.
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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  9. #8  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Japanese is quite an easy language: regular grammar, simple pronunciation. The different levels of politeness add some complexity. The writing system is very complex; you often can't tell which reading of a kanji is to be used just by looking at the word.

    Chinese is grammatically simple in some ways (no conjugations of verbs, for example) but it makes up for that in other ways (lots of idiomatic phrases). Pronunciation is harder: sounds that don't exist i n English plus tones. The writing system is simpler and more regular than Japanese but you do need to learn a lot more characters.

    But, economically, if I were starting now (if I were young!) I would go for Chinese - it is going to be the superpower of the future.

    [thanks to the spammer for reviving this interesting thread ]
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  10. #9  
    Moderator Moderator Markus Hanke's Avatar
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    It's a double-edged sword no matter which route you take.
    Chinese ( Mandarin ) - easy grammar, but pronounciation hard, about 4000-5000 characters to remember to become a fluent reader
    Japanese - Much easier pronounciation, less characters to remember ( about 2000 or so ), but grammar harder and sometimes difficult to tell how to actually read out a given Kanji character

    As other contributors have mentioned before, Chinese will probably be more useful in the long run unless you are looking to relocate to and live in Japan yourself.
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