Which difference between japanese and chinese?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by simonatmac, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. simonatmac

    simonatmac The stop motion maker

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Posts:
    900
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Likes:
    +0
    Ebay:
    Hi!
    I´d like to know the difference between chinese and Japanese letters and both languages in general.
    I´ve seen in a Manga comic book, that there are 2 different alphabet used beside each other.
    Is there someone here who can explain that to me?
    I´m about to repaint the autobot "Drift"(ドリフト Dorifuto) and he has the lettering "Samurai" on his doors, so I was wondering...On his sword, there are the the kanji 天下無双 (tenka musō, "peerless under heaven")...

    To me, these two languages and life in general are very interesting.

    THX for your time.
     
  2. UltraMagnus3786

    UltraMagnus3786 That's what it is

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Posts:
    2,095
    Trophy Points:
    172
    Likes:
    +2
    Japanese has essentially 3 components to the alphabet. One is purely Japanese in nature, one borrows complex characters from Chinese, one is used for foreign words adapted for Japanese. I mix up the names, but they are called kanji, katakana, and I forget the other.

    Chinese on the other hand has two forms-- simplified and complex characters. Complex characters were originally used, but to make reading/writing easier, simplified characters were created. They look similar but the complex versions are more ornate.

    Japanese when spoken sounds more rhythmic and more stoccato with held pauses. Tatakae is pronounced Ta-ta-ka-ay. Sometimes consonants are held slightly longer.

    Chinese is a tonal language. There's the main language spoken in Beijing and regional variations of it (slightly different pronunciations), but also a bunch of dialects which all use the same simplified/complex characters but sound completely different.

    Hope that helps!!
     
  3. toma

    toma eskimo in disguise

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2002
    Posts:
    6,583
    Trophy Points:
    211
    Likes:
    +0
    Japanese and Chinese are completely different languages. The only similarity is that Japanese kanji, which were used before the two sets of kana, is based on Chinese characters. This is because China had written language before Japan, and Japan borrowed the Chinese characters and appropriated them to their own language. Kana was developed later as a phonetic way to represent the language instead of the symbolic kanji. As far as speaking the languages goes, Japanese is as different from Chinese as either language is from English.
     
  4. simonatmac

    simonatmac The stop motion maker

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Posts:
    900
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Likes:
    +0
    Ebay:
    Very interesting.
    Is it hard to learn those languages?
     
  5. jorod74

    jorod74 Psycholagnist (Ret.)

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Posts:
    7,559
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    176
    Likes:
    +2
    Ebay:
    i don't have any extra to offer, other than i have seen both Chinese and Japanese writing used as therapy.
    the experiences i had, it was used as a form of calligraphy and used as a meditative tool.

    (and it does indeed make you focus.)

    as far as learning the language, i would find it quite a challenge. i could learn to read the print, i just don't have the ear to discern the words in conversation.

    i hate that i am fascinated by the languages, just can't grasp them as easily i wish.
     
  6. Hook

    Hook Out of Options Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Posts:
    11,454
    Trophy Points:
    267
    Location:
    Gatineau, Quebec
    Likes:
    +2
    Facebook:
    Hiragana is the 3rd one.
     
  7. Erector

    Erector I ruined the Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Posts:
    11,052
    News Credits:
    21
    Trophy Points:
    217
    Likes:
    +21
    One is spoken by Japanese people, one is spoken by Chinese.

    Apart from Japanese people who speak Chinese, and Chinese people who speak Japanese.
     
  8. Aernaroth

    Aernaroth <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Posts:
    23,510
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    347
    Likes:
    +136
    Is Drift's "Peerless Under Heaven" thing a reference to Musashi?

    In asking what the difference between Japanese and Chinese is, however, you might as well be asking the difference between French and English. There's similarities, but two entirely different cultures and languages. In fact, it might be better to compare Germany and Russia, since the written languages aren't even truly the same alphabet between the two nations, though there are numerous similarities.
     
  9. QmTablit

    QmTablit Disguise: Check. Robot...

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2008
    Posts:
    9,428
    Trophy Points:
    176
    Likes:
    +2
    As far as language and text go, Japanese has it's own system to itself. Hiragana is what you'll see a lot of, it's noticable as being more curvy or having a flow to it's written style. Katakana is used most often when turning a foreign language into something "more Japanese" i guess you could say. And when written has much sharper edges and corners to it. Kanji is basically Chinese characters, and they often have Hiragana scripted over it which is called Furigana.

    Just as with different Chinese dialects (there is no such language as Chinese), Japanese and Chinese are very different when spoken, but all the characters always mean the same thing to each (excluding kana, which mean nothing in Chinese).

    As far as difficulty goes, Japanese is much easier to learn. I took it in high school. Was just about fluent by the end, and have forgotten much of it since. I can still read Japanese, but it takes me much longer than it used to and I often mistake kana (the "letters") for one another.

    I hear Mandarin isn't too hard to learn, which is good since it's what's used in a good part of Mainland China. But from what I've heard, Cantonese is going to take a longer time to get down. Which sucks for me, because I really would prefer going to Hong Kong over Mainland China.
     
  10. Fishdirt

    Fishdirt Tin Toy Transformer

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    Posts:
    3,639
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    172
    Likes:
    +4
    Ebay:
    What's the difference between english and german?

    Japanese is not original unto itself. It is based on early Chinese systems. The only regional language not based on Chinese is Korean which enunciates very similar to Swedish.

    China, when spoke, is a very roundish sounding language where as Japanese has a very sharp sound to it and your more apt to hear people speaking like their hocking up loogies.


    Try using google:

    Japanese writing system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Chinese character - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  11. toma

    toma eskimo in disguise

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2002
    Posts:
    6,583
    Trophy Points:
    211
    Likes:
    +0
    I taught myself a little Japanese in high school when I used to translate Japanese games into English. Hiragana and katakana are pretty easy to learn because they're both phonetic. Also, they were pretty much all that I ran into while translating old video games. Katakana is probably what I found easiest to learn because it was how English words were written in Japanese. It's the simplest looking set of characters, mostly straight lines and curves. Like, a "goblin" would be "GO-BU-RI-N" in katakana, so once you know the characters you can just sound it out and get an "Engrish" version of a word from that.

    Hiragana is used for Japanese words, but it's also phonetic like katakana, and pretty much looks like a rounder and more ornate kana set. Still, since it's purely phonetic it's pretty easy to memorize once you practice looking at it. If you play through some old Famicom games while using a Japanese-English dictionary to help you read the menus and stuff then you'll end up with a pretty good handle on the two kana sets. That's pretty much where my Japanese knowledge is at, I can get through menu systems, recognize some item names and stuff but that's about it.

    Kanji is trickier because one symbol can have many meanings, each pronounce differently depending on the context it's being used in. It's pure memorization and getting used to what you're looking, which is why a lot of the time you'll see small kana characters written above kanji in things like manga, because children learn kana quickly while learning kanji is a constant process of memorization. I don't know as much about Chinese, but I'd imagine it's more along the lines of kanji.
     
  12. Seawing

    Seawing Lurker of the depths Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Posts:
    4,024
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    207
    Likes:
    +5
    Ok I have a question for you Japanese language buffs. You speak of the three different kana. If you were to pick up a book or magazine, would the entire publication be written in one specific kana or would it use all three?
     
  13. Gordon_4

    Gordon_4 The Big Engine

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Posts:
    11,860
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    247
    Likes:
    +128
    Don't forget Romanji, which is Japanese words written in English alphabet; though thats less a language and more a system of translation I think.
     
  14. SydneyY

    SydneyY @syd_tfw Veteran TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2005
    Posts:
    11,516
    News Credits:
    74
    Trophy Points:
    276
    Likes:
    +74
    Those 3 types of characters are generally used together. Hiragana is the "original" Japanese character and used most, and children learn hiragana first. If you buy a book written for early primary school aged children, the entire book is probably written in hiragana. Katakana is basically a second version of hiragana, and as mentioned, used chiefly for imported words eg. とらんすふぉーまー (hiragana) > トランスフォーマー (katakana).

    As children learn kanji at school (they are expected to learn a bit over 1000 kanji characters in the 6 years of primary school), the books introduce kanji, but often with tiny hiragana printed next to it to show how to read the kanji.

    Say, if you see a word written in hiragana あく (a ku) it can mean any of those; 悪 (bad, evil) 空く (become empty) 開く (open) 飽く (get tired of) there are more, and if it's in a sentence you can know which one by the context, but all hiragana sentences look childish and difficult to read for us. Also using kanji saves space, こうきょうじぎょう (koukyou jigyou - public enterprise) is 9 letters in hiragana but as 公共事業 in kanji, it's only 4 letters.

    Hope this helps, or someone comes in and explain it better :) 
     
  15. Murasame

    Murasame CHIMICHANGAS

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Posts:
    15,461
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    312
    Location:
    The Lost Light
    Likes:
    +283
    Hiragana and Rōmaji
     
  16. toma

    toma eskimo in disguise

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2002
    Posts:
    6,583
    Trophy Points:
    211
    Likes:
    +0
    It would likely use all 3. There's a chance that hiragana would be printed above kanji for clarification depending on the age level of the target audience.
     
  17. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Or just 'A1' for short...

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Posts:
    7,529
    Trophy Points:
    197
    Likes:
    +5
    I'm gonna chime in here, though i don't speak either of the two languages. I speak Cantonese, a dialect of Chinese, and as a child tried to learn Japanese and touched on Chinese.

    I'm gonna say Japanese would be easier for westerners. Why? Because learning a tonal language, like Chinese or its dialects, would be hell for someone used to English and other latin-derivative languages. Japanese, i believe, doesn't rely as much on the tone spoken, to differentiate words. That, and Japanese characters are much easier to read/write, it's been a good 6-7 years since i learnt (well, tried to learn) Japanese, and i can still remember one or two characters. Quite literally, one or two. :lol  I suppose you could learn Simplified Chinese characters to get around the writing difficulty, though Japanese is generally still better in that regard, as words, when you hear them, you can use the appropriate sounds to piece together the written word, kind of like spelling out a word in english based on the syllables you hear. Chinese words are often one character (i know, because Cantonese and Chinese use the same written forms), so it's much harder to guess at how to write a word from it's oral form (there are parts of characters which are shared, and these are recognised by things such as some chinese keyboards, etc., but it's still a pain. Google is much faster.). Still, both are going to be difficult, like practically every other language. But learnign a tonal language is just making it that much worse.

    Oh, and of course, learning Japanese makes it much easier to play video games. :lol 
     
  18. simonatmac

    simonatmac The stop motion maker

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Posts:
    900
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Likes:
    +0
    Ebay:
    Thank you all. I had no connection to www the last days, my ISP had problems.
    I guess, if I get the time, I´ll learn japanese...
     

Share This Page