Should I Learn Chinese Or Japanese? We Are Here To Help You

It can be tempting to try several at once when you’re considering learning a new language. The following information will help you decide between learning Chinese or Japanese as your next language if you’re having trouble deciding.

Should I learn Chinese or Japanese? The decision is simple if you want to learn Japanese while watching anime, listening to J-pop, or because you enjoy Japanese food and culture. On the other hand, learning Chinese would be a great way to gain more insight for those who are interested in Chinese history and how it influenced many other Asian cultures. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know!

Overview Of Chinese 

The official language in China is Chinese. There are numerous dialects of it, but Mandarin and Cantonese are two of the most widely used varieties. Huizhou, Jin, Ping, Hakka, Wu, Yue, Min, Gan, and Xiang are among the additional dialects.

The Sino-Tibetan and Sinitic language families are where the origins of the Chinese languages can be found. The ancient language has existed for a very long time and has undergone numerous changes.

Hanzi characters are used to write Chinese. Another form of its spoken counterpart does, however, exist. The written variety hasn’t evolved significantly over time. The spoken form, however, managed to advance significantly.

Read More: Why Is Everything Made In China?


Overview Of Japanese

The official language of Japan is Japanese, which is primarily spoken there. There are three character sets used to write the language: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Since it has been used since the ninth century, this language has undergone numerous changes over the years. Learning Kana is moderately difficult while mastering Kanji is quite challenging.

Many people believe that Chinese is where Japanese origins lie. However, that is untrue because Japanese is a Japonic language. Its roots come before their writing. However, it is very close to China due to its shared history and close proximity to the equator. The writing and loanwords used today demonstrate this.

What To Consider When Choosing?

You can choose between Chinese and Japanese by keeping certain important factors in mind. You’ll undoubtedly have a response after reading this article. (Thank you for that, too! Remember that you are deciding WHICH ONE to learn first; in essence, you are planning to learn them both. In light of this, it doesn’t matter what you say; everyone wins.

1. The Number Of Speakers

If I ask you the question, “Which language has more speakers worldwide—Chinese or Japanese?” what will be your answer?

You’ll probably choose Chinese as your response because of the overall impression given by the world map. The number of native speakers is 917.8 million, and 198.7 million for non-native speakers, with a total of 1.116 billion speakers worldwide, making Chinese the 2nd most spoken language in the world according to the 2019 edition of English is the most spoken language in the world, according to ethnologue, with 1.132 billion speakers overall. Another language with a high usage rate is Japanese. With 128.2 million native speakers and 121,500 non-native speakers, the language ranks 13th on the list. Comparing these numbers, it’s obvious that the Japanese speakers are outnumbered by Chinese speakers.

Does it matter? In fact, it does. Why do you first study English (as a second language)? mainly because it is the global language. What comes after if you already speak English? Without a doubt, the person who was hung second.

As a result of the large population, you will likely encounter one Chinese person out of every three Asians, demonstrating that there are more business opportunities available to you. However, if you prefer a quiet lifestyle, you can choose Japan, particularly now that the population is declining and immigration regulations are extremely stringent.

2. Your Field Of Interest

Chinese is your language of choice if you’ve ever thought about working in international business, banking, manufacturing, or trading. China is a valuable trading partner because of its extensive global presence and stronghold on exports to the US, UK, and other nations. If you learn Chinese, it might be a good investment, right? Having the title “can speak Chinese” on your resume is a big impact on these industries. Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken of the various varieties of Chinese. Learning this language is a “great skill” for business sectors.

Japanese is the language for you if you are interested in the automotive, communications, technology, cosmetics, financial, or tourism industries. As one of the world’s top producers of automobiles and mobile technology, Japan’s economy has been known for being remarkably robust. Forbes claims that Japan is the home of some of the most powerful corporations, including Mitsubishi.

Don’t skip this step when making a decision. Be aware that this element has a significant impact on your long-term professional success. However, I’m willing to bet that if you can read this article, you can understand English. You can therefore proceed as long as you are fluent in English. (There’s no need to worry; you’ll still succeed!)

3. The Difficulty Level

No spoken language is, according to linguists, inherently more difficult to learn than any other. First of all, we learned our mother tongue when we were young, without even moaning about how difficult it is! But since we were discussing which of Chinese and Japanese is easier, it stands to reason that we are also discussing which one is simpler to learn as a second (or third, or fourth) language.

4. The People And The Country

Always go with the option you’re most enthusiastic about. The people and the country — would you prefer to travel to China or Japan? — are two factors that may aid in your decision. Where would you go if you had to choose a permanent residence? Where do you want to raise your children? Would you prefer to find a Japanese or Chinese partner?

I am aware that this might sound absurd, but why not? If you someday become fluent in “that” language, there will be a chance that you’ll also visit or live in that country.

5. The Culture

None of the cultures are superior to one another, I’m not saying. This, too, is a significant factor. You won’t be motivated to learn the language if you don’t like the culture. Anyway, this isn’t a real problem because Wonderful cultures exist in both China and Japan, and the two also share some characteristics.

6. Usefulness

Consideration should also be given to widespread use as you evaluate your options.

With 1,117 million speakers worldwide, Chinese comes in second on the list of languages most commonly spoken. However, with only 128 million speakers, or about one-tenth of that, Japanese fails to make the top 10.

Even though there are fewer people who speak it, learning it is still worthwhile if your goal is to improve your ability to do business or communicate with more people around the world. The choice you make ultimately depends on who you are as a person and why you are learning. But you can consider that if you’re still unsure.

7. Your Location

Not least among other things, think about where you currently reside.

Although traveling and experiencing new places are wonderful, having a local partner to practice your language skills with makes learning it easier. A significant help might come from the presence of a sizable Japanese or Chinese-speaking population in your area. Making friends in a foreign language increases your opportunities for practice and can keep you motivated as you learn.

However, if you’re far from any native Japanese or Chinese speakers, don’t lose heart; with Busuu, the language-learning app, we can connect you with speakers online. You can practice speaking and get immediate feedback on how your language learning is going without ever leaving your home.

Should I Learn Chinese Or Japanese?

Learn Chinese—specifically Mandarin—if only for financial reasons. Japanese jobs pay a little bit more, but there aren’t as many available. Chinese offers more opportunity but pays slightly less.

Furthermore, while Japan’s economy has been largely stagnant for a long time, Chinese economic growth is virtually assured in the future.

What If Learning both?

Although we wouldn’t advise learning both languages simultaneously, it is important to note that knowing Japanese gives you a slight advantage when learning Mandarin, and vice versa.

You could say that learning any language improves your ability to learn languages, and this is true for all languages. However, compared to, say, Chinese and Arabic, Japanese and Mandarin are more similar to one another.

For instance, despite having different pronunciations, Chinese and Japanese share more than half of their character sets. Both languages share some grammatical features in common, such as the absence of plural forms and grammatical gender.

Final Words

One last thing: don’t worry about how useful learning a language will be, how difficult it will be, or even how much time it will take. The language is worthwhile learning if it’s something you truly enjoy. Actually, both Chinese and Japanese are utterly beneficial.

Check out some documentaries as well, perhaps. Choose the option that best suits you, and then shoot for the moon!

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