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Should i focus on chinese or japanese?


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Hello
i have been learning japanese for 8 months. i started learning chinese a week ago.
should i focus on japanese or chinese? i like them both equally and would like to be fluent!
Also is it possible for me to be fluent in Japanese,Chinese and Korean one day? i would also like to learn Thai and cantonese,but Japanese,Korean and Chinese are a must!

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Off the top of my head, you can practically learn any language you want! Attaining fluency in the various languages you are interested in will truly depend on your own ability and willingness to put in the hard work. It's not enough to just say you want to learn this and that language without putting in the work. Also, you are the best person to gauge whether you are ready to shift to another language study. If you think you have attained enough fluency with Japanese and is ready to take on another language study as Chinese, then why not?

If you can study both simultaneously without getting confused, then go for it. But if you can't focus and retain things, then you'd better focus on just one language and just move on to another when you are confident enough that you have gotten the foundations right.

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Just think of a different question: what do you like so much about Chinese and Japanese (anything apart from the languages) that makes you want to learn those languages.
Top which of those 2 do you feel more attracted?

"Also is it possible for me to be fluent in Japanese, Chinese and Korean one day"?
Obviously it is, just like with everything else, you should work hard to get to this goal.
One of the things to get you to this goal is by setting a clear deadline and 'mini-goals' with deadlines in the nearer future.
A goal like "be fluent in Japanese, Chinese and Korean" is way too big, divide it into smaller goals.
And a deadline of "one day" is too vague, take a calendar and set a precise date.
You'll find that "one day" is not one of the 365 or 366 days a year has.

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18 hours ago, MacylovesAsia said:

Hello
i have been learning japanese for 8 months. i started learning chinese a week ago.
should i focus on japanese or chinese? i like them both equally and would like to be fluent!
Also is it possible for me to be fluent in Japanese,Chinese and Korean one day? i would also like to learn Thai and cantonese,but Japanese,Korean and Chinese are a must!

Dear MacyLovesAsia

You sound way too enthusiastic about studying those languages all at the same time. This reminds me about me when I was a little bit younger. I also wanted to study Chinese and Japanese at the same time and I also did that for some time. However, I ended up just doing Chinese because I noticed at some point that my passion for Chinese was much bigger than Japanese. At that time I was studying Chinese and Japanese at University and I also noticed after some months that It is way better just to concentrate on one language because most likely you will not be able to keep up your motivation for both (or even three languages) at a time and trust me, lots of motivation is necessary to truly master both Chinese and Japanese. So I would suggest that you are either focusing on Chinese or Japanese first and then you still have plenty of time to study the other one.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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It is very good that you want to learn these and I have no idea if they even fall under the same group of languages. Even though they look alike I am not sure. I say this because they could interfere with one another. My vote goes for Chinese, though. It is practical and simple logic with this one. It is the most used language in the world and Chinese are going to rule the world in some time soon so it could be a good thing to learn it.

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Well, I personally think that if you ever plan to leave your current country an go to any of those countries you named before you shoulddefinitely go for the one that you will be speaking in that country, for example, if I were you I would go for Chinese straight ahead because I would like to find a good job in that country and I will have to learn their language to make it easier for me once I get there, that is my opinion though.

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5 hours ago, djordje87 said:

It is very good that you want to learn these and I have no idea if they even fall under the same group of languages. Even though they look alike I am not sure. I say this because they could interfere with one another.

I can confirm they're not related.
Japanese has tons of Chinese and English loan words (distinguished by different alphabets), but they're far from being pronounced and spelled the way the Chinese or Anglophones do.
By this, it's much easier for Anglophones and Chinese to learn Japanese than it is the other way around, although there are a few Japanese loan words in English (tsunami, kamikaze, sushi, etc., but these words are pronounced and spelled the same way as in Japanese).

Chinese is part of the Sinto-Tibetan language family, while Japanese is part of the Japonic language family (although the latter is limited to just 2 languages).

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I'd say stick to one language, learning more than one will get you confused. You started with Japanese, do you want to move on to Chinese because it's boring you or you're burnt out? That's what happens to me, I stick with one language then I get distracted by another. 

I think it's great to be ambitious and have so many language goals, but stick with one, learn it well, and then move on to the next all while polishing and keeping up the previous one. 

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Regarding confusion when studying multiple languages at the same time: I learn three Romance languages at the same time. My experience is that they help more than confuse each other. So I think it's worth it. But if your experience is opposite (i.e., confusion is more than mutual help), focus on one first, at least postpone the second language until you're far better at the first one than the second.

Chinese and Japanese are not that similar. So I expect help more than confusion; the latter, if any at all, may arise in reading hanzi / kanji. But even in that case, you're unlikely to get confused because one has tone and the other does not.

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I kind of disagree that Chinese and Japanese are not similar. I think they are similar enough to mix up. If I were you, I'd focus on one language and maybe just slightly dabble in the second one for now. Since you have studied Japanese for so long, why not focus on that and master it before going into another language? (that is, if you're studying as a hobby. If you're studying because you need to use the language, then that's a different story).

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Both languages are pretty unique which makes learning them at the same time a bit easier.  I think it has more to do with your objective.  I think overall chinese is going to be more useful for the next decade because the chinese are very expantionist as far as their economy.  You can go to almost any small country in the world and you will see people from china there starting businesses or investing in the local economy, they are very similar to the USA in that regard.  Because of the problems with the Japan economy in the 1990s, they are still very reserved as far as spreading out.

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On 15.4.2016. at 6:55 AM, Blaveloper said:

I can confirm they're not related.
Japanese has tons of Chinese and English loan words (distinguished by different alphabets), but they're far from being pronounced and spelled the way the Chinese or Anglophones do.
By this, it's much easier for Anglophones and Chinese to learn Japanese than it is the other way around, although there are a few Japanese loan words in English (tsunami, kamikaze, sushi, etc., but these words are pronounced and spelled the same way as in Japanese).

Chinese is part of the Sinto-Tibetan language family, while Japanese is part of the Japonic language family (although the latter is limited to just 2 languages).

So I was right at some point. Thank you for the info. I thought that we mentioned on my first year of English studies something like this but I really couldn't remember and I didn't want to cheat so was hoping for a confirmation by somebody. People tend to think those two are very similar but as you said ...

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I think it's possible to learn as much as you want as long as you have the proper mindset for it. If it were me I'd just focus on one language at a time and maybe just set some goals and deadlines for each so I can be more assured that I'll have time to learn both. I think these two are good choices to learn together though since they are from the same family and a lot of the accents and intonations used for either can be applicable for the other as well. If I had to choose on where to start I personally would go with Chinese first just because that is where Japanese stems from, if I'm not mistaken, so for me it would be beneficial to progress naturally in the same direction. 

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  • 3 months later...

Well, since Chinese is one of the most spoken languages in the world, I would personally go for Chinese. But really, it depends on what you want to use it for. If you want to be pragmatic and use it to impress employers, I think there's a higher demand for Chinese. But if you want to watch anime without subs one day, continue with your Japanese studies. It's a matter of what you value more.

As for learning Chinese, Korean and Japanese, I think you can certainly do it if you have the commitment and motivation. Especially since East Asian languages all borrow words from each other, it makes it slightly easier to learn all three.

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I've always believed that it is possible to be fluent in as many languages as you have time and energy to learn. I think learning all those languages will definitely serve you weill in your future, I'm just not sure in what order you should learn them, or even if it matters.  I agree with Kimseokjin that it might be a good idea to start with Chines since it is spoken by more people. 

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If you really want to be fluent in any one of those languages visiting or better yet living in those countries is a must. I think that you have judge for yourself, if you feel comfortable learning both Japanese and Mandarin at the same time then there is no reason not to do so, but if you feel that it's becoming over whelming and that you are mixing the languages then the ideal is to stick to Japanese for now and then later on learn Mandarin.

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