Prowler wrote:Tbh, I've always noticed a slight similarity between both Korean and Japanese but not to this extent.
Japan and Korea are very geographically close and have a long history of contact with each other, so it shouldn't be all that surprising.
I've always had this idea that Japanese was pretty much an isolated language
Well, it's not an isolated language. It's Japonic (related to the languages of the Ryukyuan Islands, which AFAICT the Japanese government considers dialects of Japanese). Its relatives don't sound all that much like it.
One thing I wonder though, what about Kanji?
I'm not sure I understand what this has to do with the rest of your post, but kanji are the product of continued and repeated Japanese contact with China and often have multiple Chinese-based pronunciations (on'yomi
) due to deliberate attempts by the Japanese to update the pronunciation over time. Japanese culture in general was very heavily influenced by Chinese culture at the time, and my understanding is that every detail of Nara
was copied straight from Chang'an
. Japanese grammar is also very similar to Classical Chinese grammar (but much less similar to the grammar of any variety of Chinese that's spoken today).
Do Kanjis hold the same meaning(s) in both Chinese and Japanese or not really?
Not always but yes, very often
If a Chinese person picks up a Japanese text or vice-versa will they understand some of the kanji?
Yes. I have seen Chinese people do this at least a few times. I had a (Mainland) Chinese classmate in high school who used to read yaoi in both (Traditional) Chinese and Japanese (the ones she read in Chinese were different from the ones she read in Japanese; it's just that she happened to find some in Chinese and others in Japanese, from what I understand or remember) and was frustrated because she could understand what she was reading in Japanese just fine but had no idea how to pronounce probably most of the kanji.
For example, I know the word bbanzai comes from the chinese word wansui.
comes from Chinese, yes, but not from Mandarin. I doubt Mandarin Chinese even existed at the time that Japanese borrowed this word.
I'm guessing both use kanji
perhaps the same one?
Sort of but not quite.
In traditional Chinese and kyūjitai
kanji, it's 萬歲.
In simplified Chinese, it's 万岁.
kanji, which is used nowadays, it's 万歳. Shinjitai
includes a lot of characters that were simplified, kind of like a less extreme version of simplified Chinese. Some of these were simplified the same way as in simplified Chinese; some (probably most of the ones that were simplified in Japanese) were simplified in completely different ways from simplified Chinese.