Which is harder? Japanese or Chinese?

This post doesn’t have anything directly to do with Japanese. It’s more like a personal blog entry, just to talk about the things on my mind lately. You see, I have spent a lot of time writing about Japanese in trying to convince the Internet that it is actually a very easy language to learn in many respects. The grammar rules are very consistent and logical, and kanji can really help you speed up your vocab memorization. But is Japanese actually easy, relative to other languages?

About a month ago, I started doing language exchange with a Chinese person every Sunday. It’s quite interesting because I teach her English, she teaches me Chinese and all of this is done in Japanese. It works well because she is quite fluent having lived in Japan for many, many years.

Now, Chinese is supposed to be like the holy grail of foreign languages, image-wise, for us Americans. Or maybe it was Japanese? Well, we probably don’t even know the difference. Anyway, if you tell your friends and family that you’re learning Chinese, they’ll probably go all “ooh”, “ahh” and “damn, you’d have to be some kind of a freak genius to learn that”.

Chinese characters don’t impress or scare me though, having learned Japanese. In fact, I was actually wishing for Chinese characters when I was studying for the GRE because all those stupid English words started to look the same. And on top of that, now that I’m studying Chinese, I can’t help but get the feeling that Chinese is like the easiest language in the world. Of course, I’m still a complete beginner but from what I can tell, Chinese is just so much simpler than Japanese.

Of course, comparing the difficulties of two languages will always be impossible because so many things depend on the person learning the language. But still, it’s fun to try because it usually brings out heated arguments and one-upmanship, which is basically the whole point of the Internet. So here we go.


Because Chinese has nothing but Chinese characters, there are no conjugations of any kind whatsoever. This means that you miss out on all the fun you get to have with okurigana.

For instance, if you want to negate something, just add 「不」. It doesn’t matter if it’s an adjective, verb, or noun. It’s almost too easy.

好。- Good.
好。- Not good.

In contrast, Japanese has separate rules for two types of adjectives, nouns, and two types of verbs. You also have two exception verbs and two exception adjectives. English is probably even worse because you need to match the right tense to the subject and other stuff I probably couldn’t even explain.

This tacking on character trick works for all sorts of things that would be complicated grammar in any other language. You want to say something is “too much”? Just add 太. So since “small” is 小, too small becomes 太小. You want to say, “not too small”, just add 不: 不太小! You want to say that you’re in the process of doing something? Add 在. With Chinese, using a character based writing system actually makes sense! You can’t make this stuff any easier folks. You don’t have to conjugate and then conjugate the conjugation, and then conjugate the conjugated conjugation like you do in Japanese.

Language gone wrong

– I wrote this and even I don’t know what it means.

Still, I’m expected the other shoe to drop as I learn more Chinese. There has to be a price to pay for not having conjugations. For example, I’m already confused about 了 because it supposedly expresses a completed action but I see it in non-completed actions as well. I’ve also seen past actions without 了. I don’t get it.


A number of people have told me about how tones are so difficult in Chinese. I don’t really remember what they said, but I vaguely remember something about my mom being a horse or something. Pretty rude, if you ask me.

Now that I’m actually learning them, I don’t think tones are that difficult. I mean there’s only four and I have a sneaking suspicion that the second is pretty much the same as the third. I heard that Taiwanese has 7 tones. Now that sounds difficult. I don’t even know how that is possible. Is tone 7 like the chromatic scale or something? I can hear the teacher saying, “No, idiot! Your tone is completely wrong! It’s supposed to be a harmonic minor, not melodic! And the third is flat!”

Anyway, I think having all the tones laid out in advance makes things clearer than Japanese in many ways. Japanese people have this strange belief that Japanese is completely flat but in reality, if you don’t get the intonation right, you sound like crap. If Japanese is completely flat, how come you can get an accent dictionary that shows the pitches for each word? With Japanese, the only way to get that perfect native intonation is to just imitate native speakers. Not very helpful, I know, which is why Chinese is easier to understand because it’s all laid out for you.

Even so, to make the comparison fair, I need to mention that tones in Chinese can sometimes change. I’ve figured out that while 不 is usually fourth tone, if the next character is fourth tone too, it changes into the second tone. I don’t know if this is a rule, just something I’ve noticed along the way.

不知道。- zhī dao.
不是。- shì.


Aaaahhh, kanji, my favorite topic. With a language like Chinese, it actually makes sense! Kanji is great as long as you don’t totally f***k them up like the Japanese did.

I think a small number of characters have maybe a max of 2 readings. Even then, it’s because it means something completely different like 觉, which is “jiào” when it means “to sleep” and “jué” when it means “to think”. Let’s compare that to Japanese, which for instance has like a million readings for 「生」. What the hell, 「なま」 doesn’t even originate from Chinese! Why the heck do you write it with a Chinese character?!

Chinese is so much simpler that it wins hands down over Japanese here. It’s not even a contest. The only beef I have with Chinese is simplified, traditional, blah blah, blah… just pick one! Don’t make me have to learn both! The Japanese government can successfully mandate a new set of characters and they don’t even have a real army. Why can’t you?


Whoever invented counters should be shot. They add nothing useful to the language yet is such an enormous pain in the ass. It’s like a disease that somehow managed to permanently spread itself through all of East Asia. The worst part is, all the counters, for some reason, are all completely different for each language. For clothes, it’s 件 for Chinese and 着 for Japanese. It’s insane.

Still, if I had to compare, I would say Japanese is worse because they have all those crazy irregular readings like 「ついたち」, 「ひとり」, and 「はたち」. But then Chinese has 两, which is not as bad but still really annoying. I can never tell whether its going to be ニ or 两.


I haven’t seen too many comparisons of Chinese and Japanese, probably because the extremely small number of English speakers who know both probably aren’t wasting their time with blogs. So, while I am still completely new at Chinese, here are my thoughts on the topic. If you are trying to decide which language to learn, maybe this will help you decide.

In my opinion, Chinese is really easy and approachable for beginners as long as you’re not tone-deaf. I can say with confidence that it’s a lot easier than Japanese in the beginning. There are so many traps that you can fall into with Japanese in the beginning that just doesn’t seem to exist in Chinese. Common pitfalls include learning only hiragana/katakana or even just romaji, overusing the topic particle, learning the polite and dictionary forms backwards, thinking that 「だ」 is the same as 「です」, etc., etc., etc.

With Chinese, while you have Pinyin, I think Chinese teachers are much better at making sure students learn hanzi. Plus, I haven’t seen too much regarding politeness levels outside of 你 vs 您 (so far). I doubt that Chinese has about 10 different ways of saying “sorry” like Japanese. (ごめん、ごめんなさい、すまん、すまない、すいません、すみません、申し訳ない、恐縮です、恐れ入ります)

Still, I’m going to hold off on making any definite conclusions because I have the sneaking suspicion that Chinese seems easy only in the beginning, kind of like my experience with Spanish. If it’s one thing I learned, it’s that there’s no free lunch in language. If one thing is easy, it’s going to make something else hard.

76 thoughts on “Which is harder? Japanese or Chinese?

  1. learning chinese is like a spanish speaker learning portuguese or italian…

    learning japanese is like…

    japanese is made for native speakers only in my mind

    but i shouldn’t be talking i only know a bit of chinese


  2. I found Japanese really easy to learn..
    Haven’t tried Chinese yet, buy about to start.

    Programs like Rosetta Stone help a hell of a lot, but can be expensive.
    Use torrent for it if it doesn’t bother you to do so.
    Also, japancast.net can be helpful for learning, but only for phrases.
    I recommend Rosetta though.

    My language is English (duh), but my family speaks Spanish.. I prefer Japanese or Chinese however to learning Spanish.

    • I’m doing japanese too! It’s pretty easy just like you said. Chinese is a bit off edge to me when it comes to the writing, almost like japanese, but so so so much symbols around the parts of speech.

  3. Chinese and Japanese are both equally difficult. While Japanese incorporates a tremendous amount of complicated grammatical structures, Chinese incorporates more (idioms?). These are usually three to four character phrases that take their meaning from a story or have a background in Chinese culture. Learning them improves your Chinese language use more effectively since they explain certain situations more accurately. Lastly, Chinese grammar will still be quite easy when compared to Japanese grammar, but don’t be surprised if oddities occur in Chinese as well.

  4. Excellent blog and guide, Tae Kim. Very clear and informative.

    I can’t say whether Chinese is easier than Japanese or not, since I am biased for Chinese, as I am a native speaker of it.

    But with Chinese, grammar seems completely intuitive. I don’t recall learning much about grammar in elementary or middle school. For example, I have no idea how I was able to read the 4 grammatical nightmares that qianyuhui put up. I do not know know what kinds of sentence structure they are at all. However, I do read them in groups, like this.
    事 已 不了了之 了.
    人 也 乐不思屬(属) 了.
    了解 了 就 了不起 了 吗?
    是不是 就能 就此 而言 了 吗?
    I suppose the best way to learn Chinese grammar is exposure and wait for it to become intuitive.

    Japanese doesn’t seem so hard for me, if I don’t aim for speaking and hearing. Knowing the Chinese characters already make it easier, and the grammar doesn’t seem to have much exceptions. The thing that scares me the most is the dozens of ways you can pronounce a single word. I don’t think I will be able to learn spoken Japanese in any reasonable amount of time.

    Now for a bunch of “thread” necromancy
    Wow, I didn’t know those reformists in early 1900s imported so many Japanese words. I suppose it is necessary since China need to modernize and Japan modernized first. I know they got rid of classical Chinese, 文言文, because it is difficult to learn and seriously limited literacy rate. I am pretty sure Chinese haven’t changed colloquially from in this process of modernization. In dynastic era, speaking and formal writing are completely different things.

    LOL, I agree completely that the transcription of English proper nouns into Chinese is even less recognizable to foreigners than katagana representations of imported words. Also, I am sure they can write Pen1 is easy while not ti4 since it’s only used in sneeze, I think.

  5. Thanks WangH

    Umm… intuitive is not the word I would choose for Chinese grammar. Maybe adaptable or flexible? But definitely not intuitive.

    Also, there’s usually only one way to pronounce a word. The trick is in remembering which of the many readings to use for the kanji in that one word.

    I’m definitely NOT looking forward to having to memorize the hanzi for popular cities and countries. Katakana does have its advantages.

  6. I am a native speaker of Cantonese and Mandarin, now living in Canada. I’ve been studying Japanese on and off for the past few months (thanks to your guide, it makes learning Japanese easier)

    I completely agreed on what you said in the post (though you seemed to have changed your mind now 😉

    I remembered I hated English when I first came to Canada. I hated having to deal with the tenses. In Chinese, like you said, all you do is add 在 and 了 and you are good to go.

    Thank god there are no plural in Chinese (and Japanese?). I can’t count the number of times I’ve missed the es/s when writing/speaking in English.

    Counters in Japanese is crazy, so much irregularity in reading =(. But English has some counter words like pieces (2 pieces of paper), pair (1 pair of glasses), as well, just not as many 😉

    I would have thought that Chinese counter should be easy for you since you already know Kanji.

    Both my sister and I think that Chinese grammar and English’s are pretty similar. A lot of the time, a direct translation is possible between the two.

    1) Better educational material available – most of the Mainland material is very boring

    100% agree!

    4) Different methods of writing BOPOMOFO vs Pinyin in Chinese is adds to complexity basically equivalent to katakana vs hiragana.

    This I have to disagree. One of the advantages of the Chinese writing system is that it only relies on the meaning of each character, not the pronunciation. Two people speaking two different Chinese dialects may not be able to speak to each other, but they can certainly communicate through writing! You don’t need to know both pinyin or bopomofo because they are just representing the same thing, just pick one and you are good.

    5)I hate how Chinese deal with foreign words and foreign names – you have to learn them all.

    I hate it too and there are usually more than one translation =(.

    9) 100% agree! I would almost never watch any show from mainland China.

  7. The reason there are traditional characters still around is because the propagators of the simplified characters, the government of the People’s Republic of China, don’t have such strong control over the other Republic of China, aka. the “renegade province” of Taiwan. You might have heard about it in the news 😉 The places where Japanese is a native language are Japan and, erm, that’s it.

    I just realised you might have been extremely deadpan and ironic when you complained about it. That won’t stop me writing this anyway… That’s also what the internet is for, right?

  8. I find learning Japanese very difficult compared to Chinese as a native Chinese speaker.

    I have to elarn 3 different writing systems…yes one is Kanji…but teh strokes can be different and pronounciations can be different for the chinese characters I already know. I also have to learn the different way of saying the same kanji characters within the japanese language itself.

    In Chinese, there is usually one way to pronounce a character, sometimes there are two, and rarely there are three ways to say the same character.

    I have to tell you that Chinese is a more efficient language…however, in the age of Internet…it’s more difficult to “write” Chinese with computer than Japanese…unless you master pinyin very well because of the tones in chinese language.

  9. I’m a CBC and I personally think Chinese is easier but I kind of learned English and Cantonese growing up. I don’t really know all the grammar rules and stuff though. I just know how you can and can’t say things. I kind of caught on to Mandarin about 7 years ago (so I was about 8ish), I thought it sounded very similar to Cantonese but it might just be me. The only thing that I find very confusing about Japanese is kanji. It’s hard because I speak Chinese so when I see certain words I want to say it in Chinese but it’s not pronounced the same. Some of the symbols also have different meanings from Chinese. I also find it difficult that certain symbols have more than 1 syllable. Unlike Chinese, where each symbol is a syllable. The annoying thing about Chinese is that there isn’t really an “alphabet” you kind of just have to know the symbols. I think hirigana and katakana are fairly easy to write but kanji and Chinese characters are really hard to write. I normally just pinyin whatever I need and then copy it off the computer screen. It’s kind of cheating though.

  10. I think the thing that makes Japanese difficult isn’t really the kanji, but the unstystematic way that the reading system has evolved. I only studied Chinese briefly, but I found the reading to be much simpler.

  11. Thanks for publishing this interesting piece about comparative difficulty of Japanese and Chinese. I have studied Chinese for many years and also spent several years in Taiwan and now, I am planning to start studying Japanese. I just want to share some of my thoughts on the subject. First of all, I believe it’s most likely, that Japanese is more difficult than Chinese. Fistly, it has a tough grammar and secondly it has a very diffucult writing system. One should remember that Chinese characters perfectly fit for Chinese language, but not so for Japanese, a language with complitely different grammatical structure. Hence, a correct use of Chinese characters in Japanese is much more difficult to master, plus the grammar. A lot people wrote that Chinese it’s easy. In fact, it’s not. It’s quite easy on the basic coversational level. But fluent level Chinese requires knowledge of many characters and idioms that are hard to memorize. Moreover, it’s not easy at all to master good Chinese pronouncation. It requires a huge effort and it’s a very important aspect of the language, so those who just start their Chinese studies, my advice is: ”train your tones.” Also, spoken Chinese is very different from written Chinese that actually has a complex grammar and different vocabularly based on Classical Chinese. Fluency in Chinese would require knowledge of that as well. So, believe me, Chinese is not easy at all as it may seem. Finally, about Cantonese. The use of this dialect is very limited and after HK reunification with China it lost a lot of its former significance. In fact, more and more people from HK are becoming fluent in Mandarin. I would say Hokkien dialect would be even more practical it\’s widely spoken in Taiwan and Singapore and many SE Asian Chinese diasporas.

  12. Firstly, a big thank you to tae kim for this great website. When I was trying to look through some stuff on Japanese grammar, I came across this interesting page.

    Chinese is my mother tongue, so I’m inherently slightly biased towards the ease of mastering the language. I’ve been learning Japanese for about 9 months thus far and currently my verdict is that while basic Chinese is easier than Japanese, I believe Chinese is harder at the end.

    I think that chinese has the slight edge here. Though you have to learn pretty extensive lists of hanzi, there is only one way (most of the time) of reading the chinese characters. Chinese characters are afterall, designed for the Chinese language. The Japanese tried to adapt it to their language, and I find all the kun and on readings very confusing. Furthermore kanji is a must to be literate in Japanese, so you don’t get a huge discount on the number of words you have to learn too.

    Once again, I feel that Chinese is easier. I don’t remember learning any grammar when I was young, as compared to memorising all the different tenses for English, and now for Japanese. Like what taekim mentioned, the negative form of most things is done by just adding 不. However, and this is a pretty big one, the nuances of Chinese gets much more difficult as one continues his/her studies. And these are best learned through the continued usage of the language.

    And while I agree with Ben that you need to have a good grasp of classical Chinese to write really really impressive essays, most people do not need this standard unless they are aspiring poets or writers etc. Thankfully no one speaks like that nowadays. Classical Chinese to me is extremely abstract. So abstract to the point where a few words could easily mean a few sentences in modern Chinese.

    This is where Japanese easily trumps Chinese. Most of the non native speakers of Chinese seem to have a hard time learning how to speak it correctly. While Japanese have their fair share of intonations etc, the language is still pretty flat compared to Chinese. In Chinese, when one intonation of a character is mispronounced, the whole phrase can mean another thing.

    Japanese is easier here too, as the use of kana speeds things up a lot. However with the advent of technology, we type much more than we write with a pen. And thus, the advantage is not big. But even then, Japanese is still easier to type as you need very good mastery of pinyin to type in Chinese. Sometimes I’m unable to find a certain character because of the slight differences in pin yin. For example, 生日 is pronounced as sheng ri. But it’s quite similar to shen ri, and when I make this mistake the I can’t find the character.

  13. Hi Tae I just found your blog, this was actually the first entry i read. I wonder if after going deeper into the language grammar Chinese becomes harder?. This entry is quite old so it seems that you might know already.

  14. hi tae
    i’m learning japanese and its really helped A LOT i want to thank you for it 🙂
    my mother language is english/chinese(traditional, i live in taiwan :D) so i was curious about what you had to say about chinese.
    it seems like many people outside the asian region learn simplified chinese (well, i guess its obvious, china is becoming dominant), but i’ve heard that china might be slowly switching over to traditional chinese. the reason is simple: simplified chinese over simplified a lot of things and it’s causing THEM a lot of pain in the butt. i’m just curious, would you consider learning traditional chinese?
    i still think japanese is harder to learn than chinese (i think my answer isn’t credible, as i’m a native chinese speaker…), until you reach like ancient chinese (文言文) (japanese probably has this also, but i dont know). ancient chinese is interesting, cuz although i say its “ancient” it’s still quite oftenly used/quoted in conversations or in literature/text/novels.
    chinese and japanese both share 成語 so i think they’re on par with that.

  15. I think neither language is harder than the other. I’m learning both Mandarin and Japanese. In my experience, at first Mandarin was really intimidating while learning on my own. My self-study was going slowly, until I took my first class a year later. My self-study enabled me to do really well in the class because I had previous exposure to the language. Then I realized how easy Mandarin actually is. It’s incredible. The grammar (so far, as a beginner) is like a math problem. You just plug in variables, rather than conjugating.

    But I started learning Japanese after a horrible experience learning French. I had no interest in French and was failing the class, so I decided to study Japanese on my own. My self-study was much easier done than when I studied Chinese on my own. I can study Chinese on my own fine now that I have the basics. Japanese just came easier in the beginning. And compared to French, there is a lot less conjugations, which came as a relief to me.

    So to me, they are equally easy and fun to learn. But I’m in a beginner. When I use a dictionary to translate my Chinese friends’ facebook status updates, sometimes I have no idea what is being said because they are so vague. There’s something about it. Maybe they are idioms?

  16. Hi Everybody–

    Your grammar problems will end. Chinese grammar is not THAT hard– you just need to read a lot and hear a lot and you will absorb it. I’ve never learned japanese, but I think this is an interesting thread.

    I just wanted to point out that once one masters Chinese “grammar” in the basic sense, in order to read the newspaper and understand Chinese people, one will have a few obstacles:

    As many have pointed out, foreign proper nouns (For example, I live in Durham, North Carolina. There is a word for “durham” 达勒姆 are a MAJOR problem. Chinese people will talk about Beethoven, Einstein, etc– and you wont have a clue! I once took a Western Civ class in Chinese at a Chinese university, during which I had to memorize a ridiculous amount of proper nouns (names in ancient Greece, Rome, etc.). There is no way of knowing from a name (other than guessing, and it’s hard to do so) what the name was in the original language.

    Secondly, one has to learn all of the abbreviations. When Chinese news makers write articles, they abbreviate like crazy. Try reading headlines to see what I mean. They skip characters and shorten names of organizations.

    Beware of Chengyu. This is again the problem of educational resources for Chinese. Chengyu ( four letter words) have very very specific contexts in Chinese, and dictionaries available at the moment don’t do enough. You may see that it translates to a familiar English phrase, but then Chinese people will just look at you funny, because it actually does, but only in certain contexts. It’s almost impossible to learn chengyu and use it correctly if you haven’t heard it used a LOT or read it a LOT. Sometimes, in order to genuinely use the chengyu correctly you must know the story that produced the Chengyu.

    In order to read a newspaper, you need 4000 characters. This is absolutely true. But if you ever go to China, you are going to meet lots of people and you’ll need to be able to read their names and remember the tones of their names. Generally, you’ll feel the need to know the characters of the names of the people you know. Further, let’s say you come across a name in conversation, and you want to know whether this is the name of a female or a male. Nothing in the conversation will tell you, so you’ve gotta know the characters and determine it from there. You’ll need 10,000 characters to be 100% certain that you can read everyone’s name. Even Chinese can’t do this.

    Here’s my story– take it or leave it:
    I started learning Chinese at 18. As a rebellious college freshman, I abhorred and refused to learn tones. I was constantly docked points for not even attempting to write pinyin on my quizzes (generally, we had to write characters, pinyin, and english meaning for dictation). I would just leave the column blank because I felt they were useless. After two years, I went to China to study economics at a Chinese university with Chinese students (I was the only westerner in the whole department, and took the same classes the Chinese students did). My view on tones was further reinforced. I constantly mimicked things Chinese people said. I would store whole phrases, including their emphasis, volume, facial expressions, and everything, and then make sure that i said that exact same sentence later on that day in another conversation. (note: best to imitate others of the same sex). It was a lovely way to start to gain intuition as to what things Chinese people actually said, so that I wouldn’t sound awkward.
    After four years (1 semester and a couple of summers of which was study abroad), I took the Oral Proficiency Interview test, and scored “Superior,” which is the highest score possible. I still to this day don’t know my tones, and I have no problem speaking Chinese. My best advice would be to not waste your time with tones. You’ll end up sounding unnatural. Just like English, Chinese has emphases, and knowing your tones doesn’t necessarily mean that you know where these emphases are.

  17. I’ve barely started learning Chinese but I’d like to point out a few things in your most interesting article.

    “For instance, if you want to negate something, just add 「不]”

    Well, that’s not totally true; we need to remember “mei” (don’t remember the tone or the character for it) which is used as a negative for “you” (“to have,” also used in the perfect tense) as well as for all the other verbs to indicate the past tense. It doesn’t make the language much more difficult I think (it’s rather easy to remember), but just for the sake of clarity…

    “The only beef I have with Chinese is simplified, traditional, blah blah, blah… just pick one!”

    It might not be as simple as it sounds. It’s not that Simplified Chinese is so much more popular than Traditional and the latter is basically doomed. At least not yet. Taiwan might be small when compared to the mainland but it’s much wealthier and, therefore, quite a lot of Chinese Internet users use it on a daily basis. I think that even the majority of the articles on the Chinese Wikipedia are created by the Taiwanese. Not to mention Hongkong, Macau etc. (though those cities do not speak Mandarin), as well as thousands of overseas emigrants who still use the Traditional script. For some of them, besides, placing Traditional over Simplified is part of their anti-communist agenda.

    “I can never tell whether its going to be ニ or 两.”

    The way my teacher put it, “er” is a numeral whereas “liang” is used before nouns. To me it’s rather obvious which of them should be used.

  18. lol to me japanese seems more tough in the beginning and confusing>< chinese is easier but yeah doing compo and comprehension is awful=/

  19. chinese is pretty easy after a while , i am from singapore where it is mandatory to learn 2 languages for us , for me is chinese and english . The easiest way to learn chinese is to watch chinese show with eng sub , that is the fastest and most efficient way . Hope this helps u

  20. I found this interesting, being a second-generation native speaker of Chinese and having studied Japanese for many years. I would say that though Chinese is superficially much simpler than Japanese, like Japanese, Chinese only gets harder as you progress. There are so many nuances in Chinese, and many peculiarities in terms of grammar and pronounciation that make it obvious whether you’re a native speaker or not. For example, particles that indicate tense, tone, or state, such as 了 的 吧 呢 嗎 嘛 (among many more) are often used improperly by second-language learners.

    Especially at the advanced level, Chinese grammar becomes increasingly difficult, and it’s very difficult to read Chinese novels and newspapers without a formal Chinese-language education. As for simplified vs traditional characters, simplified is the norm in China and Singapore, and traditional characters in Taiwan and Hong Kong. It’s a somewhat sensitive subject with many political/cultural undertones and ultimately depends on your national origin.

    Although I’ve studied Chinese my entire life and Japanese for 6 years in high school and college, I would say that learning both languages for so long made me realize that they are extremely complex, and it’s really hard to be perfectly fluent at reading/writing either unless you’re extremely dedicated and have a deep interest in learning those languages. Just my two cents.

  21. I speak 7 languages (8 if you count Japanese, but I’m not fluent AT ALL at it), and the best part about asian languages is your pronounce what you write. For example, reading hiragana isn’t hard at all. Unlike French, where you say something and you write something COMPLETELY different, not to mention accents, and SO MANY IRREGULAR VERBS.

  22. Hi Taekk –

    I wonder if, in the years since you originally wrote this, you kept learning chinese and if so, whether you’d be willing to give an update on the differences and relative difficulties.



    • I stopped because I no longer have the least bit of desire to go there anymore. Maybe one day if they fix the air quality. I really hope they do because it’s also affecting nearby countries I visit like Japan and Korea.

  23. 你好~Native speaker here.



    上面comment里, “乐不思属” 应是乐不思”蜀”,是错字, “蜀” 为(是)古时(ancient)四川的地名(name of a place)。此成语(“熟语”)大概意思是too happy to think of home,玩脱了忘了家…

    but I see it in non-completed actions as well. I’ve also seen past actions without 了.

    和了差不多意思的大概有以下几个词吧 :

    它们自然(=当然)都是adverb。 “已”和”已经”意思一样(哪个顺口用哪个),用法您应该已经知道了,就不详细说明。
    “完”的例子,比如”做完”、”洗完澡” ,如果加上”了”,意思上没有改变。

    我们来仔细看看以下句子,请您尝试找出差别 :
    (d)i) “好了吗”

    b的两句, 和a是一样的。
    c的两句,同上(same as the former)。
    d的两句,i 的意思是”finished?”,ii则不是,you can tell.

    简单一句”了”、”已经”是按情况省略的(it depends).

    较真(to be serious)的话,
    two (2) —————————–>两/二皆(全都)可
    twelve (12)、twenty(20)——>二only
    200 (and/or more 0) ———————————->两/二皆(全都)可
    “222”二百二十二、”202″二百零二——->When it comes to large number we don’t say 两。

    如果你问,为什么会用”两”表示”二”,只是为了顺口而已。两和二是一样的,each are not more literary than its counterpart.
    ————————————————– ————————————————– ———–
    Feel free to contact me (●ω●),by email.

Comments are closed.