Hello fellow website readers who love Japan and learning things Japanese. How are your studies for Japanese going today? Have you seen our articles on JLPT, etc? Want a big studies curveball thrown at you? Here it comes!
But wait, some people might have been asking you, you’re learning Japanese right? Have you considered Chinese? Now why is this? Well, there are lots of opportunities that you’re told for people who speak Chinese. Even though politically China and America are at ends, China is the manufacturer of the world and so many business and political opportunities open up to people who are learning Chinese.
That is all great and dear, but, can speakers and learners of Japanese actually really learn Chinese easier? I mean, yes they share an alphabet (Kanji in Chinese is Hanzi), but, how many Japanese people do you know that can speak Chinese fluently? There could be some, but, with tensions between the countries still going high and differences in the pronunciation of Japanese vs Chinese, it might be a difficult language to learn.
Also, there’s the daunting task of taking on the “hanzi” (Kanji, remember?). In Chinese, there is estimated to be about 10,000 characters. Ok, well not that many are required. You can probably get by regularly with knowledge of 5,000, but still, it’s much more than the 2,000 you learned to pass your JLPT N1 exam! (I’m assuming you’re an excellent Japanese speaker, don’t worry, most people who study Japanese never reach the JLPT N1 proficiency).
I’m here to argue that actually, for English speakers who have learned Japanese, Chinese is a much less formidable challenge. Here’s some reasons to walk away with:
#1 – Chinese is tonal, not phonetic like Japanese. Very difficult for someone to learn whose native language is phonetic, but guess what, for English speakers actually pronouncing Chinese is much easier. Yes, overall, English speakers can pronounce Chinese much quicker than their fellow Japanese and Korean native speaking classmates.
#2 – If you know a good amount of kanji already, you can do a job search in Chinese and figure out what’s going on. You can’t read it yet, but that’s a huge jump over someone who’s just trying to learn Chinese from scratch. Knowing kanji gives you a large advantage.
#3 – Learning Chinese (I’m sure people will debate this) actually makes your kanji knowledge and comprehension of Japanese better. You learn the logic of these characters, how they were originally formed, and why they are the way they are.
#4 – Finally, learning a language with simple grammar kinda gives you a sigh of relief. Finally, “I eat food” will work and is a very simple sentence. No more worrying about transitive / intransitive / particle mayhem.
All in all, Chinese is doable especially with your Japanese background. Hills Learning offers Chinese Classes in NYC as well as Online. There are multiple options for learners of Chinese in the New York area though, like Chinatown or Flushing as well 🙂
Seriously please consider taking Chinese classes, it’s a rewarding and fulfilling experience to learn the tongue of the most populated country on Earth. And please do leave any comments, Japanese learners who have also attempted Chinese, we want to hear from you!