Chinese V. Japanese

Any language which does not have a specific forum can have a thread made for it here.
Boheme
Posts: 17
Joined: 2012-02-21, 16:59
Real Name: Nikita
Gender: male
Country: AQ Antarctica (Antarctica)

Chinese V. Japanese

Postby Boheme » 2012-03-20, 13:04

Okay so next semester I can either major in Chinese(Mandarin), or Japanese. Now I am already familiar with Hanzi, and I've done Mandarin before for 2 years or so. However I'm doing International Relations as my major degree, and the extra major would be for diplomatic relations, and I'm wondering which is better.

I'm not a fan of state capitalism/communism, though Hong Kong is a lovely place, and it'd be nice to return there permanently. Though HK speaks cantonese... for now. Tokyo, nice climate, earthquakes...

ideas?

User avatar
hashi
Posts: 9191
Joined: 2008-11-02, 2:39
Gender: male
Country: NZ New Zealand (New Zealand / Aotearoa)
Contact:

Re: Chinese V. Japanese

Postby hashi » 2012-03-23, 7:49

Where in Antarctica are you studying?

User avatar
linguoboy
Posts: 23275
Joined: 2009-08-25, 15:11
Real Name: Da
Location: Chicago
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Chinese V. Japanese

Postby linguoboy » 2014-09-01, 16:37

doodoofan wrote:I love both languages, but I think you should major in Japanese. I think there are more challenges in studying Japanese than Chinese, the grammar for example.

I think that depends very much what grammars you're familiar with already.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

Koko
Posts: 5358
Joined: 2013-11-29, 6:50
Real Name: Jon Stockman
Gender: male
Country: CA Canada (Canada)

Re: Chinese V. Japanese

Postby Koko » 2014-09-02, 7:53

doodoofan wrote:I love both languages, but I think you should major in Japanese. I think there are more challenges in studying Japanese than Chinese, the grammar for example.

Personally, the difficulties people bring up to me about Japanese are the easiest parts of the language: yeah there's 3 writing systems (4 with roomaji), but one is used only for loanwords and onomatopoeia while you could literally just be a boob and write everything in hiragana if you just suck at kanji. Plus, since many kanji are compounds of others to show the meaning, after the first 200-500 basic kanji I'm sure you could begin to guess what some graphs mean (someone's who's studied kanji could correct me on this: it is an assumption after all). The grammar is quite simple in terms of word order, but the conjugations are what get me as well as certain structures. Possession is easy and so are the numbers, polite form of present verbs and particles. The pitch-accent varies on region so, while you could be ambiguous in some cases and sound very foreign, you could ignore that, too. There's a few more simplicities that make it a fairly easy language.

ling
Posts: 828
Joined: 2012-05-03, 9:09
Gender: male
Country: TW Taiwan (臺灣)

Re: Chinese V. Japanese

Postby ling » 2014-09-02, 9:52

I recommend Chinese.

Not all Chinese speakers are involved with communism. Many are from Taiwan and elsewhere.
Native: [flag=]en[/flag] Advanced: [flag=]zh[/flag] Actively studying: [flag=]th[/flag][flag=]id[/flag] Passively dabbling: [flag=]lkt[/flag]

User avatar
linguoboy
Posts: 23275
Joined: 2009-08-25, 15:11
Real Name: Da
Location: Chicago
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Chinese V. Japanese

Postby linguoboy » 2014-09-02, 13:03

Koko wrote:Plus, since many kanji are compounds of others to show the meaning, after the first 200-500 basic kanji I'm sure you could begin to guess what some graphs mean (someone's who's studied kanji could correct me on this: it is an assumption after all).

Actually, very few characters are composed that way. The vast majority consists of a phonetic (which gives a broad hint at the pronunciation) and a signific (which gives a broad hint at the meaning). If you actually know the language already, you might be able to make some intelligent guesses as to what word an unknown character stands for. Not really an option for people who are learning both language and writing system at the same time.

Moreover, this only applies to the Sino-Japanese pronunciations. The native pronunciations are completely arbitrary: native Japanese words were simply matched to Chinese characters on semantic grounds. In many case, the same word can be written with several different kanji and on kanji can have more than a dozen distinct readings (not even counting readings special to particular compounds). The writing system is way more complicated than you're making it out to be.

ETA: Here's an example of what I mean about readings, using the common character 生 (#32 on the list of kyōiku kanji). The readings are from the corresponding Wiktionary entry.

Goon: しょう (shō)
Kan’on: せい (sei)
Kun: なま (nama), おう (ō), き (ki), ふ (fu), いきす (ikisu), いきる (生 きる, ikiru), いかす (ikasu), いける (ikeru), うむ (umu), うまれる (umareru), はえる (haeru), はやす (hayasu), しょうじる, (shoujiru), しょうじず, (shoujizu)
Nanori: い (i)

The first two readings are based on the Chinese pronunciation of the character (Old Chinese *sreŋ, modern Mandarin shēng). Their use depends on the era in which a given compound was borrowed; due to the effects of rendaku, they may also appear as and zei (e.g. 往生 ōjō "happy death").

Nanori are special readings used in proper names; the list is nowhere near comprehensive. The list of kun'yomi doesn't include readings which are peculiar to certain compounds , e.g. 生憎 ainiku "unfortunately" (also written 合憎).
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

Koko
Posts: 5358
Joined: 2013-11-29, 6:50
Real Name: Jon Stockman
Gender: male
Country: CA Canada (Canada)

Re: Chinese V. Japanese

Postby Koko » 2014-09-03, 18:43

I know how complicated kanji is, but I forgot that most are from simplified Chinese: hence the assumption that many are compounds.

Before summer, I knew at least fifteen or twenty without looking at a list I made. Now, I can only write or even recognise a few and still remember their more common readings. Then again, since I couldn't make good use out of 'em when I knew them, time made me forget.

Overall, choose Japanese because it sounds nicer than Chinese and is fairly easy. You don't have to worry about tone or register, only pitch-accent. You have the option to write everything in kana no matter how nooby you look if you don't know your kanji, yet. There's the familiarity of contrast on voicing (<b> is actually pronounced /b/ not /p/).

User avatar
linguoboy
Posts: 23275
Joined: 2009-08-25, 15:11
Real Name: Da
Location: Chicago
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Chinese V. Japanese

Postby linguoboy » 2014-09-03, 19:26

Koko wrote:I know how complicated kanji is, but I forgot that most are from simplified Chinese:

I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean. Both the jōyō kanji and simplified Chinese characters represent reduced forms of the traditional characters, but the simplifications were carried out independently so any resemblances are coincidental (or due to the fact that both the Japanese and Mainland Chinese based them on cursive forms which were common to both places)

Koko wrote:Overall, choose Japanese because it sounds nicer than Chinese and is fairly easy. You don't have to worry about tone or register, only pitch-accent. You have the option to write everything in kana no matter how nooby you look if you don't know your kanji, yet.

Well, technically, you have the option to write out Chinese words in Pinyin, at least if your audience is chiefly Mainland. It looks about as nooby.

Koko wrote:There's the familiarity of contrast on voicing (<b> is actually pronounced /b/ not /p/).

Maybe you mean to say it's pronounced [b] not [p]? (A phonemic representation doesn't actually tell you how something is pronounced.) The thing is, though, English <b> often represents something closer to [p] than to [b] anyway, so in terms of helpfulness it's really a wash.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

Koko
Posts: 5358
Joined: 2013-11-29, 6:50
Real Name: Jon Stockman
Gender: male
Country: CA Canada (Canada)

Re: Chinese V. Japanese

Postby Koko » 2014-09-04, 5:00

linguoboy wrote:
Koko wrote:Overall, choose Japanese because it sounds nicer than Chinese and is fairly easy. You don't have to worry about tone or register, only pitch-accent. You have the option to write everything in kana no matter how nooby you look if you don't know your kanji, yet.

Well, technically, you have the option to write out Chinese words in Pinyin, at least if your audience is chiefly Mainland. It looks about as nooby.

You also have roomaji, but at least with kana you're putting in more effort while with pinyin it's too easy.

Maybe you mean to say it's pronounced [b] not [p]? (A phonemic representation doesn't actually tell you how something is pronounced.) The thing is, though, English <b> often represents something closer to [p] than to [b] anyway, so in terms of helpfulness it's really a wash.

Really? I think I tend to voice my supposed to be voiced consonants. But if I've never actually been pronouncing them properly voiced, I guess I couldn't really tell by sound. That could be why it used to confuse me how there was a difference between /b/ and /p/ (when I watched videos on Eastern Armenian pronunciation, I could only hear a distinction between aspirated and non-aspirated consonants).

User avatar
linguoboy
Posts: 23275
Joined: 2009-08-25, 15:11
Real Name: Da
Location: Chicago
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Chinese V. Japanese

Postby linguoboy » 2014-09-04, 13:11

Koko wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Well, technically, you have the option to write out Chinese words in Pinyin, at least if your audience is chiefly Mainland. It looks about as nooby.

You also have roomaji, but at least with kana you're putting in more effort while with pinyin it's too easy.

What's that got to do with anything? What you're saying here translates as, "The thing which I said is an advantage for Japanese is actually a bigger advantage for Chinese."

Koko wrote:
Maybe you mean to say it's pronounced [b] not [p]? (A phonemic representation doesn't actually tell you how something is pronounced.) The thing is, though, English <b> often represents something closer to [p] than to [b] anyway, so in terms of helpfulness it's really a wash.

Really? I think I tend to voice my supposed to be voiced consonants. But if I've never actually been pronouncing them properly voiced, I guess I couldn't really tell by sound. That could be why it used to confuse me how there was a difference between /b/ and /p/ (when I watched videos on Eastern Armenian pronunciation, I could only hear a distinction between aspirated and non-aspirated consonants).

When I took phonetics, I found that the only way I could actually produce a fully-voiced [b] in initial position was to imagine a short silent [m] before it. For [p], I think of <b> while trying to say <p> and then it usually comes out alright.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons


Return to “Other Languages”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest