Whats tips to begin learn chinese and japanese togeter, or is better one and after a period begin another?

Guys, is there here somoe one who learn chinese and japanese at the same time?

My advice is to choose one language, and not to learn both, especially at the same time. If you’re a perfectionist, you might find sticking to one language entirely is the best option, since any effort put into one language could have been effort spent on the other. Japanese and Chinese are just close enough while still being entirely different to make things confusing. Some characters have similar pronunciation, while others are entirely different. For instance 図書館 is pronounced “toshokan” in Japanese, and “tushuguan” in Chinese (圖書館, the first character is written differently).

I think it’d be best to figure out which language motivates you the most, and choose that one. (At least in the beginning). The man who chases two rabbits catches neither! :slight_smile:

Japanese has one correct stroke order, no traditional or simplified character woes, and only 3 irregular verbs (English has roughly 200 with normal use), on top of being an extremely logical and thus in some ways easy language. Japanese grammar is typically harder to learn than Chinese grammar however (which is more comparable to English, versus Japanese which could seem backwards at first), however you need to learn thousands more characters in Chinese than in Japanese, where you only need to learn roughly 2,000 kanji to be proficient. Another plus to Japanese is that while there is a pitch accent, there aren’t tones like in Chinese which can be one of the larger nightmares in learning Mandarin. It’s a tough call, both languages are notoriously extremely difficult to become proficient in, which is why I say you should probably stick to just one of the hardest languages in the world, and not both! Please keep in mind I’m coming from the Japanese side so my advice is likely very biased.


I have the same long term goal of learning both but decided early on not to do both at the same time as I know I won’t be able to put the same amount of effort to study both as I work full time and have other commitments. Decided to start with Chinese and see how I go after a couple of years and how much I progress before starting Japanese. Even though I am a complete beginner, I’m much more familiar with Mandarin Chinese as I am of Chinese descent and also I thought I would start from the “root” language but of course nothing would motivate you more than being interested in the culture so if I had no prior tie to either I would choose to start from the one I’m more interested in culturally :slight_smile:

I’m no expert, although I have studied both.

I’m not sure how Chinese would count as a “root” language apart from Hanzi being adopted into Kanji. There are some minor linguistic similarities such as the measuring/counting words, and maybe use of particles at times, but word order is different for a start. Plus when starting out with Japanese you really need to learn Hiragana and Katakana first, which would negate the benefit (initially) of knowing Hanzi.

I think the deciding factor for me would be the massive cognitive overhead of trying to study them simultaneously while keeping them separate in your mind somehow, so that you don’t mix them up (L2-L3 Interference). I find it’s hard enough studying one language at a time with previously-learned languages leaking back in subconsciously, without having to manage 2 new ones at once. (I’m now learning Mandarin but still read 二 as “ni” instead of “èr” from time to time, and it doesn’t help at all that 三 is “san” in both!)

If anyone here is actually studying both together it would be very interesting to hear your managing/coping strategies!

Sorry for oversimplifying with my quotation mark “root”. I of course know that they are very different. Hence why people need to learn both and not one and able to master the other in no time. I was talking about historically how kanji was adopted from hanzi (kana was invented after hanzi was used) and chinese borrowed words even though only approx. 18% is still used in modern japanese.

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Fascinating isn’t it? :slight_smile:

Great that the Skritter team are developing this tool for both languages… there must be plenty of us who would like to learn both (eventually!)

Some detailed discussion on learning both here: https://www.quora.com/Is-it-possible-to-learn-Chinese-and-Japanese-at-the-same-time

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