How Similar Are Chinese and Japanese?

Download videos:

This video looks at the similarities (and differences!) between Chinese (Mandarin) and Japanese, two unrelated languages that have mutually influenced each other.Thanks to Eric Yang and Hao Yi for their Mandarin audio voice samples!Support Langfocus on Patreon: Outro: "Circular" by Gunnar Olsen.

chinese foreign language grammar hanzi... japanese kanji language study linguist linguistics mandarin phonology pronunciation verb tense vocabulary

Aaron Dodo
With context, understanding written language between Chinese and Japanese is not too difficult --- compared to say, between Chinese and German. It is perhaps a lot easier for Chinese readers to understand Japanese writing due to a difference in mentality of the language --- While Japanese is rather strict about its rules of use, Chinese can be very liberal. \
Annie L
actually,most of the chinese from mainland have no trouble reading traditional Chinese characters.😂 I have no idea why we understand it without systemically learning it but that is the fact.\n看得懂繁體的大陸小夥伴們舉手🙋🏻
Ats Oka
I'm from Japan and speak Japanese Thai and Chinese. I think that your remark that Chinese has no tense is not correct. Chinese actually has some tenses like 去了(went) 去过(have gone) 去着 (have just gone) as Thai has some tenses like ไปแล้ว (went) เคยไป (have gone) เพิ่งไป (have just gone) . They are grammatically corresponding but their meanings are slightly different, though.
In terms of pronunciation, Mandarin (which is essentially a northern Chinese dialect) has very little commonality with Japanese, where as local Chinese dialects from eastern China (Shanghai/Ningbo/Suzhou, even as far as Fujian) have a lot of similarity in pronunciation to Japanese, probably since that's the region historically with the most interaction with ancient japan, whether it's through trade, religious exchange, etc...
Battle_ Master485
I am Chinese and I can reconocer some Chinese words in anime openings, but I don’t know writing in Chinese.PD: I live in Spain since the age of 3
Bob Bobete
Mandarin sounds like you’re gulping when you speak and no offense to any mandarin speakers but the language sorta scares me, but Japanese... I can’t explain it. It’s like hashi magimoto bakaki misumishi (this is just gibberish I made up by the way). Very beautiful. Comparing mandarin to Japanese is like comparing Spanish to mandarin. They’re just too different to compare
Camaro the Great
Let me show you how similar Chinese and Japanese are: 手紙(Japanese-Postcards, Chinese-Toilet Paper), 切手(Japanese-Stamp, Chinese-Cut Hand), 愛人(Japanese-Mistress, Chinese-Wife), 勉強(Japanese-Study, Chinese-unconvincing, forced), 先生(Japanese-Teacher, Chinese-Mr.), 娘(Japanese-daughter, Chinese-Mother), 有難う(Japanese-arigatou Thank you, Chinese-有難 means accident, disaster, catastrophe), 邪魔(Japanese-Bother, disturb, Chinese-evil demon), 文句(Japanese-complaint, Chinese-sentence), 大丈夫(Japanese-It's okay, Chinese-Strong man, upright man), 丈夫(Japanese-robust, Chinese-husband).湯(Japanese-hot water, Chinese-Soup, but in Chinese idiom, 赴湯蹈火 they have the same meaning as hot water) But there are things that are the same such as: 美人(beautiful woman). Interestingly, America (USA) in Japanese is 米国, literally rice country, while in Chinese it is 美国, which means beautiful country. A good evidence that modern Mandarin Chinese is not the original Chinese is: in Mandarin, to eat is 吃 (verb), in Cantonese (older than Mandarin, a dialect) to eat is 食, in Japanese to eat is 食べる. So, Japanese and Cantonese have similarity in terms of the verb \
Catwalk Productions
Chelsea Baumgartner
As a Japanese speaker...\nI can generally get the basic meaning of Chinese characters, however the sentence structure usually is the thing that throws me off. I will also note I really liked this video for explaining all these points, but I have a bit to add. Firstly when discussing the adaptation of Chinese characters to the Japanese spoken language, the hiragana/katakana characters which are not recognized in Chinese are all based off of Chinese characters in the first place. You can see in charts how they progressed and to a point were simplified for calligraphy and adaptation to the spoken Japanese language that already exists. I wouldn't exactly call the \
Chenyang Zhao
Nice video! There is only one suggestion. As a young Chinese college student, we use simplified Chinese, but we were taught to recognize traditional Chinese too. And the fact is, traditional Chinese are still widely used in mainland China today, so most Chinese from mainland China would not have problems reading traditional Chinese or Japanese Kanji.
Chris Chagnon
So, definitely late to the game on this one (just discovered the channel this evening and binging through a bit), but an interesting video! Mandarin is my only decent language outside of English (I'm rusty now, but can still hold a decent conversation; I'm probably more like a B2 level rather than a C1/2 level as I was previously). So, to answer the question, similar to your experience in Taiwan, I can get the general gist of Japanese text (I began my study with traditional characters, then shifted to simplified later). I personally find it most useful for simple safety warnings/signs.\n\nI found the part on words that returned from Japanese to Chinese quite interesting! We learned a bit about this when I was in undergraduate studying Chinese literature, and how most of them came were/are for more modern concepts (I remember specifically when reading a poem from the 20s about how my professor pointed out that a certain word - I, sadly, cannot remember it now - meant \
David kim
I'm Korean I don't understand both language :/
Davin Cher
There's actually this funny phrase called \
Display Name
They are as similar as the English and German languages.
Fab French
Chinese and japanese are as different as french and english. One had borrowed a lot of words to the other but they basically belong to completely different roots and families of languages, like french and english.
cat bla fish bla food bla bla
Gak Vivien Roppongi
I'm a Japanese highschool student who is Japanese native speaker and speaks English and French. All Japanese students must learn old Chinese in both middle School and highschool and it's also one of the subjects on universities'enrollment tests (it's like SAT or ACT). Since we frequently interacted with China trading, cultural connection, religion or even many Japanese went off China to study in the very old time like 700~900 AD, we learned many things: poems, governance, architecture and so on. So it's essential to learn \
Gillian Fisher
I had about a year of Chinese before I started learning Japanese. To this day, even though I still use both languages, when I read Japanese [and come across a kanji] my brain initially associates it with the Chinese pronunciation. Instead of \
Ian Shelton
0:26 Thai doesn't look anything close to Japanese or Chinese. Thai abugida remind of languages of the Indian Subcontinent.
J Ma
A Chinese can travel Japan for a week by himself just by the read the Chinese text.
James Yan
As a native Cantonese Chinese who grew up in Australia, and also speak fluent Japanese, I have to say, this video is BY FAR the most accurate representation of the differences I have ever watched on Youtube.\nThank you Paul, well done and please keep up the awesome work! \nYou ROCK dude!
Jason Y
as a Chinese, like you said, I can read the sentence in your example just like cat bla fish bla eat bla bla
Jenny Ni
Speaking of Japanese pronunciation, it is very similar to Shanghainese (one of the Wu languages) more than Cantonese (as described in the video).
I live in a place that has a lot of Japanese tourists and when I started learning Chinese I was surprised I could read the signs that were suppose to be in Japanese, but I didn't know the translation was the same. Until my friend that is learning Japanese read the translation for one of the signs and it was the same translation in Chinese. So here I am looking it up
Kazu Sato
Korea has learned concept words almost from Japan in the days when Japan used Korea as a colony, so it is natural that Korea is similar. That is the same for China. The name of the People's Republic of China is a word made by Japan, except for China.
Klud Hnans
I'll make this analogy.\nClassical Latin ~ Classical Han\nSpanish~Cantonese (Descended from 700~1000 A.D. Migrants from mainland)\nItalian~Hokkien Minnam (Arguably closest to 400~700 A.D. Han)\nFrench~Mandarin (Pronunciation extremely distorted, developed after 1500 A.D. with heavy barbaric influence)\nEnglish~Japanese (Island country, not really the same family, but with lots of loan words)
Larry F
Sounds like the role of Chinese words in Japanese is very much like French words in English.  In a way also the writing, since so many French words are recognizable to an English speaker in print, but are pronounced very differently, e.g. point, centre
Lizzy allen
I’m Chinese and I have many Japanese friends. I hope China and Japan be friends.
Lopsang Lama
cat bla fish bla eat bla bla hahahaha
I'm Japanese. When I look at Chinese text, I feel I can understand almost all of the meaning. But it would be often totally wrong after getting it. This is because there're so many words that have the same kanji but completely different meaning between Chinese and Japanese. For instance, \
Mark Brierley
I speak and read a fair amount of Chinese and was surprised how much I could read when I visited Japan last year. For a few days I thought it was simply that the Japanese put Chinese characters on tickets, posters and instructions because they were helping tourists. :D \nHowever, I was told that Chinese characters were originally assumed into Japanese because Japanese was originally not a written language.
Mark Luo
I go to school 我去学校\nI went to school 我去 了 学校
Mi N
Cat bla fish bla food bla bla. Oh my god, awesome XD
MrPob Pob
The thai word in this video 0.27 mean \
Niuhuru Lang
if you know some traditional chinese, you may find more silimar points. For example: \n吾乃中国人是也。\n私は日本人です。
Nozumi Tokugawa
Japanese culture comes from China, and I love China, too 🇯🇵🇨🇳
Paul the 2 marek Sørensen
I am still learning Japanese. So maybe in the future I’d would understand some of the language from China
Phongsathorn Deetua
ผมอยู่ในคุก means I'm in jail. rofl
Rajat Jaiswal
Cat bla fish bla food bla bla 🤣
Red Dylan
Redd Hong
the pronunciation of the Japanese language sounds very similar to the Wu dialects of Chinese (Shanghai, northern Zhejiang province and southern Jiangsu province). It's may like the similarity of Dutch to the low German dialects.
Reimund Sun
Republic of China and People’s Republic of China both are using Chinese! Your video are talking about Chinese, so your map should also include the two regions which are using Chinese, because they are all China!!!!!!
Ruan Xu
HaHaHa , Cat bla fish bla food bla bla is so reality
Signor Jeffrey
love Japan from China❤️🇨🇳🇯🇵🇨🇳🇯🇵
Your videos are so fabulous! Thank you for making understanding languages so attainable and fun.
The potato
I’m a Japanese,and when I think about each character’s meanings, I can understand 大丈夫(it’s okay)and 風船(balloon) don’t make any sense.\nThey are ridiculous. lol \nIn Chinese, 经济 means economy,but i guess it doesn’t make any sense as well. Because this word was borrowed from Japanese,and the origin of 経済 was a Classical Chinese literature 経世済民,which means how to govern a country. \nI guess Japanese people misunderstood its meaning.\nAnd they even shortened
Video blah Good blah Like blah blah
Thorriq Kindi
Cat bla fish bla food bla bla. Omg that's so make sense.
Tiire Smith
🇯🇵❤🇨🇳 ...🇰🇷
Tom lovelace
来源:知乎\n\n\n根据文献资料,日语中的汉字最早在战国时期就引入日本,经秦汉进一步发展。到了近现代,由五四运动、新文化运动的推动,译者和留学生将大量日语词汇直接借用到汉语中,并在之后列入了汉语词汇。这是典型的文化输出再输入现象。不过对于借用词汇的数量,不同研究学者得出的结论也都不同。\n\n一、根据对《汉语外来词词典》的统计,近现代汉语中的日语借词数量有800多个,其中大部分以日语语原词的形式出现在汉语里,而且往往至今仍有旺盛的生命力。但是,实际上这些词有的并不产生于日本。有学者指出,19世纪一20世纪初出版了许多英华、华英词典,著名的如马礼逊(R.Morrison)的《华英辞典》、巳三畏(Samuel wells williams)的《英华韵府历阶》、麦都思(W.Henry Medhurst)的《英华辞典》、卢公明(Justus Doolittle)的《英华萃林韵府》、罗存考(wilhelm Lobscheid)的《汉英字典》、翟理斯(Herbert Allen Giles)的《汉英字典》等,这些词典和其他各种中文著作孕育了一批近代新词,比如出版最早的马礼逊的书中已经出现了“使徒”、“铅笔”、“批评”、“消化”、“交换”、“传染”、“审判”、“法律”、“水平”、“必要”、“风琴”、“单位”等新词语。这些词语随着英华、华英词典和各类西学著述被引进到日本,并在使用中得到补充和完善,又经过英和辞典的过滤,然后传回我国,成为汉语中的通用词语。所以,中、日、欧之间语言词汇的交流过程是很复杂的。\n\n二、在《现代汉语中的外来语研究》(高明凯,刘正埮著)中,认为在现代汉语的外来词中,来自日语的有459个,涵盖了人文社科的各类词汇,如:劳动、社会、经济、政治、党等。例如“经济”一词,原义是“经世济民”。《晋书·殷浩传》载晋简文帝致浩书日:“足下沈识淹长,思综通练,起而明之,足以经济。”显然不是今天economy之义。日本在德川时代后期,已经将它用于“政治经济”的意义;到了明治时代,就用这个词来翻译economy。但在中国,到1908年颜惠庆所编的《英华大辞典》中,才在economy的最后一个义项里出现新意义上的“经济”一词,并且与原来意义上的“经济”的义项并列,说明这个新义在中国流行尚为时不久。清末民初的思想家梁启超在采用“经济”一词的新义时也颇踌躇,曾主张用“资生学”来代替;严复则创造了“计学”一词。但到了20世纪20年代,“经济”这个词却是最终在汉语里生了根。究其原因,一般说是由于日语外来词制作得很灵巧并与汉语构词规则一致,和中国造的词没有什么区别,因此便于理解、记忆和推广。在日语影响下,不少汉语原有的外来词语被日语词代替了。例如: 合点一分子,界说一定义,明角罩、眼明衣一角膜,原行质、原质、元质一元素,美亚、美尔、梅尔一市长,德律风、得力风、爹厘风、太立风一电话,花精、花精粉、须粉、雄粉一花粉。三、清朝末民国初日語借用词汇有1763个,分别有生活类(552个)、社科类(873个)、自然科学类(338个)。主要从以下几种方式借用日语词汇:\u003cimg src=\
I used to oppose learning Kanji for a long, long time because it would take me a lot of time knowing all 2136 of them (even though I knew around 100 before I started to learn Kanji).\nBut now that I know around 900 Kanji, I actually find Kanji very convenient.\n\nReading text in just Kana is quite frustrating since many Japanese words have multiple meanings, despite being written the same way.\nKanji solves this problem for the most of the time.
Vanessa Yang
This guy knows many languages but Chinese. This shows how hard Chinese is to a foreigner.
Void_Dominator Oblivion
Völundr Sigdag
I'm not native Japanese speaker, but I'm learning it and exactly how you said I can understand some basic meaning without much details
YuanHongX 74
The meaning of 老实 is actually closer to \
Zhero Zhero
Mandarin Chinese is fascinating because it’s so complex.
I am Japanese and understand basic sentences in Chinese ,even though i haven't learned it yet.\n中:顏射即顏面射精的簡稱,是人類性行為的非插入方式之一(from wikipedia)\n日:顔射とは即ち顔面射精の簡称であり、人類性行為の非挿入方式の一つである
d jc
不太客观 我们虽然不书写繁体字 但是所有繁体字都认识。 并且日本现在也开始用很多简体字了。
A very good and vast explanation!
I've watched plenty of your videos, but haven't hit the sub button until now. Keep up the good work!
k alendoscope
ka.N KAN
I'm Japanese.\nChenese language is not easy for me but I understand many, I mean, a few handreds of characters.\n山(mountain) in Chinese means 山 in Japanese.\n海(sea) means 海.\n川(stream, river) means 川.\nIt's true that some words mean different, but once I heard the meaning in Chinese, I would be like\
Japanese grammar and Chinese grammar are different each other. And Japanese Kanji pronunciation has many way, while Chinese kanji has only one pronunciation.\nFor example, 生has ikiru, sei, sho, nama, jou, ki, o, umareru, pronunciations. While chinese has only \
mochimochi king
I'm a Japanese native speaker. Japanese people study how to read old Chinese sentence, so we can understand modern Chinese to a certain extent.
I feel so proud of myself for getting all four of the questions right at the beginning.
seveeen 84
Chinese people like me who was educated all the things in simplify Chinese have no trouble to recognize traditional Chinese charaters. it's basically same to us to read, and type, just a little bit hard to hand writting
That was a very good video!
tao han
中:一把把把把住了\n日:ハンドルを片手に住んでた\nEn:Straighten the steering wheel
tiansun li
I'm Chinese, I have no problem reading the text on the cover of Japanese porn.
zhimou li
।। क्षत्रिय कुलवंतस्य ।।
Japanese are really brilliant love from india....🙏🙏🙏🙏
Japanese has just 3type of latters♪\nAnd each kanjis have many ways to call.\n生→this kanji can read over 100 ways♪\nThat's all🙂
I’m Japanese. \nI can roughly understand the meaning of Chinese sentences, but I am sometimes confused by the words that have different meanings between Chinese and Japanese, especially the words that work as auxiliary verbs.
From JAPAN🇯🇵\nWhen I watched sentence that was written in chinese, I was able to understand about half of the sentence what mean in Chinese
・ ・
漢字を輸入して良かった。\n有難う 謝謝 中国。
Hi! I'm Japanese. I love Chinese cuz I love Chinese charactors!
日语 = 50个片假名+ 50个平假名 + 2000个汉字
神州 Shenzhou
I'm Chinese and some Japanese words have hilarious meanings in Chinese. For example\n\n先生 (Sensei) -\u003e Means \
people from mainland China has no problem with understanding traditional Chinnese letters....
其實日語算半個聲調語言的,日語的高低調還是有部分辨意作用的。雨 飴 兩個詞雖然拼寫一樣(都是あめ)但發音是完全不同的
Please come to Taiwan more often~~~
This video really got a lot of education value for the people, even to us.
11:27 这不是菜日文的用爱发电吗?