Hi at my University I have an option to take evening classes in either Japanese or Chinese. I was wondering in terms of what may be more beneficial to learn which one would you recommend to learn? I have a interest in both of them however I would like to focus on one for now.
嗨，我的大学可以选择日语或中文的晚上课程。 我想知道学习哪一门语言更有益 哪一个你会建议学习？ 我对这两个都有兴趣，但是我现在想关注一个。
Jeff Hamacher Japanese Proficiency Exam (Level 1)
A2A. The main consideration for you I think is which language has greater potential to open up new educational professional or personal opportunities for you as an individual.
Some people might argue that greater economic opportunities lie in learning Chinese because of that society’s much larger domestic and international-diaspora populations. Although I don’t know how the maturing and growth-slowing of the Chinese economy could affect such opportunities it might still offer better prospects than Japan’s.
As for cultural or educational opportunities you’d have to decide which society might interest you more. I didn’t know much about Japan before I first went there but slowly immersed myself in several different aspects of the country’s traditional culture and ended up learning a great deal as well as having a fantastic time doing it.
If learning one language or the other is simply a matter of personal enjoyment and fulfillment I don’t think that there is a “superior” choice although you might find that one has a greater number of similar characteristics to your mother tongue and therefore could be somewhat easier for you to pick up e.g. basic Chinese grammar consists of subject-verb-obxt word order similar to many European languages whereas Japanese word order even for basic statements is essentially reversed.
[EDIT] Other respondents here have mentioned the ideographic writing systems of both languages (kanji in Japanese hanzi in Chinese but both the same in essence … be aware that different styles of the ideographs exist in Japanese usage “mainland” Chinese usage and Chinese usage of Hong Kong or Taiwan). Committing to learning the ideographs for either language is essential for long-term progress towards real mastery. The syllabaries found in Japanese (hiragana and katakana) must be learned as well but they cannot be relied upon solely to communicate at a level beyond beginner-to-intermediate.
Whatever you decide have fun with it! And learning any language helps you prepare your brain to learn others more readily so your time won’t be wasted either way if you put a solid effort into your study.
Victoria Weiya HSK5 working towards HSK6
Written 3h ago R26; Upvoted by Jessica Tang Professional Chinese instructor and lover of the language
From my understanding it would be more difficult to understand spoken Japanese that spoken Chinese for native English speaker. From what I know about Japanese it’s grammar is quite different to English and there are many more rules and spoken etiquette. Chinese grammar is actually quite simple and there are no particular grammatical rules that are used to address different people. Also the Chinese grammatical structure is not too complex it makes it very easy to guess any word you don’t already understand simply by context.
Ultimately it depends on you current interests. eChineseLearning has a free first Mandarin Chinese lesson offer so you could try them and see if Chinese suits you.