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    Hey guys!
    So, recently I've been torn between picking an Asian language to study; Mandarin, Japanese or Korean.
    I know that people say to go for the language you are more interested in, but that's the thing, I don't know which one I'm more interested in. I used to do Mandarin before I lost interest (forgot everything now, so I'm probably leaning away from Mandarin more)

    Reasons for Mandarin:
    - Boosts employment chances for the future
    - Large influence over the economy
    - Mostly Chinese people in London
    - Chinese culture is of interest to me

    Reasons for Japanese:
    - I love anime (and manga)
    - I love Japanese drama
    - Find Japanese culture to be interesting too
    (Sadly, I haven't met an Japanese people here)

    Reasons for Korean:
    - Culture also interests me
    - HUGE E-sports scene, e.g League of Legends
    - I'm a huge fan of K-pop
    - I also love watching Korean dramas

    Also, if someone can outline the pros and cons of each language and also it's weakness and strengths in learning them, it would be much appreciated.
    For example, I've heard Chinese has a much simpler grammatical structure than Korean and Japanese. Or Japanese has two tones as opposed to the 4/5 tones of Chinese. Or Korean has a much simpler writing system, but I would like to have more specific information.

    Just a bit about me -
    I'm South Asian (Bangladeshi to be exact).
    I am fluent in English and Bengali, and I study Spanish and Latin.

    Also give me your opinions on what you would prefer to study (if you wanted to) and why.
    Thanks in advance!
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    Hello! I am also a South Asian person who studies Latin, and studied Spanish. I currently do Japanese, and have studied Mandarin, so I can give you the pros and cons of those two at least.

    Japanese:
    - Grammar takes a heck of a lot to getting used to, but once you get past the initial terror it's really not too bad
    - You get past the normal grammar and feel smug only to realise there's still keigo (polite language) grammar left
    - You have to know 2000 kanji to get by in everyday life
    - Words in general tend to be pretty long because there are less than half the sounds available than English
    + It sounds super super pretty, and is pretty easy to speak
    + Hiragana and katakana (basic alphabet) exists, so once you've learnt those you can read a good chunk of children's literature if you have the vocab knowledge
    + Anime becomes revision
    + There's a pretty big Japanese gaming community you can watch on YouTube and Twitch!
    + Suddenly so many video games you wanted to play become playable
    + People are always impressed if you tell them you study it
    + Japanese GCSE is ridiculously easy (I'm in Year 12, taking it this year, and then hoping to do the A Level in one year next year)

    Mandarin:
    - Speaking is kind of a nightmare unless you're pitch perfect (I was the second best at speaking in my class and I was pretty awful)
    - In my opinion, it sounds less fluid and more staccato than Japanese
    - So many characters, and no hiragana/katakana. It's 2000 for Japanese fluency but like 10,000 for Chinese
    - I feel like there are less internet resources available for learning Mandarin than there are for Japanese
    + Grammar is really really easy
    + Far more likely to use than Japanese on a daily basis
    + Looks really really excellent on CVs
    + The basics are much easier than Japanese basics; overall, I'd say it takes less time to start reading and understanding than Japanese
    + Only one way of forming verbs, unlike Japanese which has 2 official present tense ways and then a bunch of different conjugations. Seriously, the grammar is SO SIMPLE AND NICE
    + People tend to be more impressed that you're learning Mandarin Chinese than Japanese

    For Korean - the writing system is freaking beautiful, and much much much much much easier than Chinese or Japanese. I'd say getting to grips with pronunciation is harder than the other two, but as the only things I can say in Korean are 'hello' and 'what's your name', I don't think I can be of much more use in this regard.

    I hope that helps!
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    Wow you just gave a load of awful reasons to study those languages, also your employment chances are boosted if you take any of them, not just mandarin.
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    (Original post by roarchika)
    - So many characters, and no hiragana/katakana. It's 2000 for Japanese fluency but like 10,000 for Chinese
    You actually only need to learn 5,000 characters to be considered literate in Chinese :fyi:

    I study both Mandarin and Japanese at uni, so I'll try and give my view on it
    Mandarin
    +Grammar is a lot simpler than Japanese as there's no verb conjugation at all
    +Flows better than Japanese when you're speaking
    +Is useful if you ever choose to learn Japanese or Korean as those two language have a lot of words that come from Chinese and as a result sound similar
    +More useful on CV as China's becoming more and more of an influence in international commerce
    +People are impressed when you say you speak it
    -Grammar can be quite counterintuitive for a native English speaker
    -Lots of characters to learn
    -The decision of whether to learn simplified or traditional characters

    Japanese
    +Pronunciation very simple
    +Kana very easy to learn
    +Basic vocab also very easy to pick up
    -Grammar's crazy hard-Japanese has so many verb conjugations it's ridiculous
    -What you're taught in text books is often super duper formal and often not what people say on a regular basis

    I can't say anything on Korean as I don't speak it although Hangeul's super easy to learn! Ultimately I love learning Mandarin whereas Japanese is just proving frustrating!
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    (Original post by super_kawaii)
    You actually only need to learn 5,000 characters to be considered literate in Chinese :fyi:
    ......
    I can't say anything on Korean as I don't speak it although Hangeul's super easy to learn! Ultimately I love learning Mandarin whereas Japanese is just proving frustrating!
    Huh, really?? I feel so lied to! My old Mandarin teacher told me it was 10,000 >-<
    See, it's the exact opposite for me! Japanese just clicks for me, whereas Mandarin used to be a source of endless aggravation for me, and I learnt it for a little over 3 years but still couldn't hold anything more than a basic conversation (this was for GCSE Mandarin Chinese).
    Then again, my teacher for Mandarin wasn't particularly good at teaching, whereas until two weeks ago I self-studied Japanese and so perhaps have an inherent bias towards it

    May I ask around what level of Japanese you'd say you are, and for how long you've been studying it? (sorry, I ask this to everyone I meet who does Japanese >-<)
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    (Original post by roarchika)
    Huh, really?? I feel so lied to! My old Mandarin teacher told me it was 10,000 >-<
    See, it's the exact opposite for me! Japanese just clicks for me, whereas Mandarin used to be a source of endless aggravation for me, and I learnt it for a little over 3 years but still couldn't hold anything more than a basic conversation (this was for GCSE Mandarin Chinese).
    Then again, my teacher for Mandarin wasn't particularly good at teaching, whereas until two weeks ago I self-studied Japanese and so perhaps have an inherent bias towards it

    May I ask around what level of Japanese you'd say you are, and for how long you've been studying it? (sorry, I ask this to everyone I meet who does Japanese >-<)
    Technically there are tens of thousands of characters, but the most you'll need to learn to be considered literate, based on studies, is around 5,000. Most of the tens of thousands of characters are actually ancient characters that are no longer used in modern Chinese.

    For Japanese I'd say my level would be JLPT3 tops. I started self teaching before I started uni, although at uni the speed we learn Japanese is super slow, so it's nowhere near as good as my Chinese, where I could easily pass HSK5 (the 2nd highest) and HSK6 (the highest) with practice. I'm much more capable in Chinese and actually lived out there on my year abroad so in that sense I definitely have a bias towards Chinese
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    (Original post by super_kawaii)
    Technically there are tens of thousands of characters, but the most you'll need to learn to be considered literate, based on studies, is around 5,000. Most of the tens of thousands of characters are actually ancient characters that are no longer used in modern Chinese.

    For Japanese I'd say my level would be JLPT3 tops. I started self teaching before I started uni, although at uni the speed we learn Japanese is super slow, so it's nowhere near as good as my Chinese, where I could easily pass HSK5 (the 2nd highest) and HSK6 (the highest) with practice. I'm much more capable in Chinese and actually lived out there on my year abroad so in that sense I definitely have a bias towards Chinese
    Hmm, that's really interesting! So do you learn both traditional and simplified characters at uni then?

    Huh, so you learn Chinese at a faster rate at uni? Do you get more class time allocated to it, or...? That's really really impressive, well done!! What was China like?
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    (Original post by roarchika)
    Hmm, that's really interesting! So do you learn both traditional and simplified characters at uni then?

    Huh, so you learn Chinese at a faster rate at uni? Do you get more class time allocated to it, or...? That's really really impressive, well done!! What was China like?
    Yeah, I have a lot more time dedicated to Chinese than Japanese. I'm in 4th year now and I get twice as much Chinese language classes as I do Japanese-6 hours for Chinese and 3 for Japanese. My degree title is officially Chinese with Japanese, so it's a major/minor kind of degree, instead of a 50/50 split joint honours. I also get a lot more practise because the native Chinese speakers at my uni are so much friendlier. The students from Japan and Japanese studies students are super cliquey and it's hard to make friends with them if your major isn't Japanese.

    China was amazing, I honestly loved it so much. I've actually thought about permanently moving out there once I've graduated because I loved it so much. The food and weather are so much better than here, and living costs are ridiculously cheap there too!
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    (Original post by super_kawaii)
    Yeah, I have a lot more time dedicated to Chinese than Japanese. I'm in 4th year now and I get twice as much Chinese language classes as I do Japanese-6 hours for Chinese and 3 for Japanese. My degree title is officially Chinese with Japanese, so it's a major/minor kind of degree, instead of a 50/50 split joint honours. I also get a lot more practise because the native Chinese speakers at my uni are so much friendlier. The students from Japan and Japanese studies students are super cliquey and it's hard to make friends with them if your major isn't Japanese.

    China was amazing, I honestly loved it so much. I've actually thought about permanently moving out there once I've graduated because I loved it so much. The food and weather are so much better than here, and living costs are ridiculously cheap there too!
    Ah, I see! That makes a lot more sense Aw, that's a little bit sad it'd be nice if everyone got along (cough used everyone else for practice)

    Hey if you love it then you should! I'm sure there are a lot of jobs for a native English speaker (I mean, there are in India and they're both classified as quickly developing economies).
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    (Original post by roarchika)
    Ah, I see! That makes a lot more sense Aw, that's a little bit sad it'd be nice if everyone got along (cough used everyone else for practice)

    Hey if you love it then you should! I'm sure there are a lot of jobs for a native English speaker (I mean, there are in India and they're both classified as quickly developing economies).
    It's quite common with Japanese studies at unis I've heard. They're super cliquey but also tend to be the most naive with regards to how much work it is to study a language at uni. At my uni, it's not uncommon for Japanese studies to have a fail rate of over 50%, just because of how much students underestimated things. It's not sitting around watching anime all day, then going to Japan for a year and suddenly being fluent, it's actually a lot of bloody hard work.

    I don't mean to sound negative about learning Japanese, but where I am, doing it as a major does carry some negative stereotypes.

    For Mandarin on the other hand, there are still relatively few people studying it, but there are more and more opportunities where it's useful, so competition's still quite minimal
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    Study Japanese.
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    (Original post by DaElRose)
    Hey guys!
    So, recently I've been torn between picking an Asian language to study; Mandarin, Japanese or Korean.
    I know that people say to go for the language you are more interested in, but that's the thing, I don't know which one I'm more interested in. I used to do Mandarin before I lost interest (forgot everything now, so I'm probably leaning away from Mandarin more)

    Reasons for Mandarin:
    - Boosts employment chances for the future
    - Large influence over the economy
    - Mostly Chinese people in London
    - Chinese culture is of interest to me

    Reasons for Japanese:
    - I love anime (and manga)
    - I love Japanese drama
    - Find Japanese culture to be interesting too
    (Sadly, I haven't met an Japanese people here)

    Reasons for Korean:
    - Culture also interests me
    - HUGE E-sports scene, e.g League of Legends
    - I'm a huge fan of K-pop
    - I also love watching Korean dramas

    Also, if someone can outline the pros and cons of each language and also it's weakness and strengths in learning them, it would be much appreciated.
    For example, I've heard Chinese has a much simpler grammatical structure than Korean and Japanese. Or Japanese has two tones as opposed to the 4/5 tones of Chinese. Or Korean has a much simpler writing system, but I would like to have more specific information.

    Just a bit about me -
    I'm South Asian (Bangladeshi to be exact).
    I am fluent in English and Bengali, and I study Spanish and Latin.

    Also give me your opinions on what you would prefer to study (if you wanted to) and why.
    Thanks in advance!
    I did Japanese for 4 years as part of my BA, and I've done one semester of Mandarin as an evening class. Others have already summed these up pretty well so all I'll add is.....

    Do not do Mandarin unless you have a good ear for the tones! In Japanese we never had to learn tones and I do not have this talent. So after one semester of Mandarin I still can't confidently pronounce nihou

    Incidentally I also think that the Chinese sounds are generally harder - romanised Japanese is pretty much pronounced how it's written. Pinyin made next to no sense for me and wasn't at all intuitive.

    Do not do Mandarin unless you have the talent and patience for learning characters. Learning the Chinese characters was the hardest part of learning Japanese for me - luckily the two alphabetic scripts can be learnt in a couple of weeks allowing you to write (albeit in a very unsosphisticated way) anything you want. Whereas with Mandarin you need a much bigger bank of characters to begin with.

    So basically, think about what you're good at and what you like doing. I have nothing against Mandarin as a language - I just don't think I'm all that suited to learning it I'd much rather take Japanese's headache inducing grammar any day!
 
 
 
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