Better Idea To Learn Chinese Or Japanese?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by 103734, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. 103734 Guest

    Apr 10, 2007
    I plan on learning to speak Chinese (Mandarin) or Japanese, and I know people who speak both.

    To tell the truth I find Japan, its culture, and its language more interesting than China's. On another hand it seems like it would be stupid to ignore Mandarin with China's growing influence, but I have also heard that Chinese are not as impressed with foreigners who know their language as the Japanese are, so knowing Japanese might be more valuable then Mandarin (this is mostly hearsay).

    What would be a smarter movie, and what would be the best method for me to learn on my own (I will get external help, but I would like to learn a little on my own on my summer break)? Is anyone else dealing with a similar problem?

    Btw, I am a Computer Science major. I do plan on spending a few weeks in one of these countries within the next 2 years, as I hear the best way to learn a language is to be surrounded by it.
  2. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Easy question. Difficult answer.

    I would suggest learning the language that you are interested in.
  3. yoyo5280 macrumors 68000


    Feb 24, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia & Bay Area
    Easiest: Japanese (Japanese has very easy sounds, and everything is in syllables., rather than the 'tones' of chinese. There is Kanji like chinese, but also hiragana and katakana so Kanji would not be a huge priority immediatly)
    Coolest: Japanese
    Most Useful: Chinese

    and not being racist or anything, but I much prefer the sound of Japanese over Chinese. Its the most latinbased sounding asian language.

    But really consider if you think you will need chinese as a language for your future careers. Otherwise Japanese FTW
  4. Henri Gaudier macrumors 6502a

    Henri Gaudier

    May 4, 2005
    The American Empire is crumbling so best to learn Chinese. It will be mandatory in 30 years anyway!;)
  5. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    Well given the dominance of English spreads to most if not all of the world these days I doubt it will lose its dominance, even as America weakens as a power.

    I don't think there are many countries (I can't think of any actually) where English isn't at least the language most likely to be spoken after the national language.
  6. Signal-11 macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    2nd Star to the Right
    That depends on what you consider valuable.

    Are you very impressed with non-native English speakers who can speak English? Probably not, because everyone speaks English. Mandarin's the same way for 1.5 billion Chinese. More than a third of Mandarin speakers did not learn Mandarin as a first language. And that's just mainland China, not including that general huge Chinese cultural and linguistic sphere of influence, (which includes Japan, BTW).

    OTOH, the only people in the world who speak Japanese are the Japanese. So yeah, it's more impressive to a Japanese that you speak his language than the same to a Chinese.

    I don't know what that means to you, but if you think this is a positive thing, you need to reconsider and examine the situation with more depth.

    In my experience, the Chinese in general are more accepting of foreigners into their community than the Japanese. By this, I mean the time it takes for them to not think of you as "The Foreigner" first and Steve second. In China, this can happen. In Japan, this will likely never happen.

    That depends on the Chinese dialect. Apologies to any Cantonese speakers but other Chinese make fun of how Cantonese sounds. So judging how Chinese sounds based on Hong Kong action flicks filmed in Cantonese wouldn't be fair.

    The phonology of Japanese is easier to grasp for a westerner but the grammar will be more difficult. Once you 'get' the tones, it's easier to get your point across in Mandarin, even if you're grammar's screwed up.
  7. obeygiant macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    totally cool
    Japanese sounds cooler. :)

    I would suggest visiting both countries and cultures. See which type of food you like the best.
  8. tabasco70 macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2009
    It depends on what you're going to learn the language for.
    Do you plan to work/live in one of those places? In which case the answer would be obvious.
    Choose the one you feel will cater to your needs more.

    If you want to learn both you should be able to speak both Chinese and Japanese fluently in about 5-8 years. If you learn properly and practice often, its not very hard to learn a new language.

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