“Should I learn Japanese or Chinese?” When one is considering to learn an Asian language,this question always come to his mind.In the following paragraph,we’ll summarize some different aspects of these two languages,so that you can figure out what you want and make up your mind.
First of all,let us look at how difficult to learn Chinese or Japanese.It’s well known that there are different tones in mandarin,which is the hardest part for one to master this language well.Besides,not being able to speak in an accurate tone doesn’t always mean that a foreigner may speak weird Chinese,but sometimes it’s related to various meanings of a certain word.On the contrary,there are only two tones in Japanese,like in English,Japanese people tend to use one tone in a declarative sentence and another to pose a question. However,when it comes to grammar,the advantage goes to Chinese without any doubt.Being polite and humble is an essential part of Japanese culture as well as their language,so it may cause some concerns to speak or write correctly in a specific situation.In addition,the grammar of Japanese is far more complex than that of Chinese ,which is quite straightforward like English.
Having been developing since the end of WWII,Japan has become one of the most prosperous economic bodies all over the world and is in the leading position of many fields such as heavy industry,high-tech industry,manufacturing and so on,thus the demand to communicate with Japanese corporations is not neglectable.As fewer people in japan can speak English compared to china(by the fact that the population in china is ten times that of japan),one who want to creat a business relationship with japan may feel unnecessary to study Japanese.
However,China,as a country that has experienced a fast development for nearly three decades,is regarded as a very promising market.According to an investigation,since joined WTO in 2001, China's share in global trade has doubled,leading to a fact that more than 30 countries treat china as their biggest import/export partner,which means that business leaders may hire someone who is able to use this language as a tool to seek for more chances in china.
Culture is something we need to consider as well,for some people,to enjoy the cultural products of a different country is the main reason to study a language he was not familiar with.With the help of comics(or say manga),Japan is gaining more attention from other countries, especially among youngsters.Meanwhile,study Chinese has its own benefit too. As one of the oldest civilization in the world, there are so many things to be discovered by tourists. There being not so many residents who can speak English as it’s in big cities like Beijing or Shanghai, one may find it quite useful to handle some basic skills of Chinese in the rural areas.
It may be strange to a person from a western country to see that there are so many Chinese characters in Japanese apart from hiragana and katakana. As a matter of fact, to enrich the language ,Japanese people have borrowed many words from other languages.Taking ‘rice’ for example,traditionally,Japanese write it as ‘ご飯’----it’s clear that the latter character is from mandarin.However,these days young people are likely to call it ‘ライス’,which is just similar to the English word ‘rice’,to express a feeling of being fashionable.
In other words,the mastery of Chinese can help you with the study of Japanese to some extent too.So if you are about to study Japanese,it may be a better option to study Chinese first.
Figures about these two languages
Another thing you need to know is that,with its users accounting for one fifth of the world’s population(at 1.6 billion),mandarin is one of the most widely spoken languages on Earth.Not only in china,some people in these Asian countries,including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand also speak Chinese,and there are about 50 million foreigners take mandarin as their second language.
As for Japanese,though it’s the mother language of 125 million people(rank 6th of all languages),it has not spread to many areas.
All in all,the further development of china requires more talents,if one is seeking a successful career or be into Chinese culture very much,studying Chinese is very likely to be rewarded.