How Similar Are Chinese and Japanese?

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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. \
Ace Ace
Alex Gonzalez de Pinera
In China the letter R those not exit
Allen YEAH
the Chinese inflection is kinda wrong, or at least the example is wrong. 我去学校 does mean \
I like Japanese more, It seemed to me easier, than Chinese and It sounds more beautiful. \nP.S My personal opinion.
Arthur Vasconcelos
I have no problem watching Anime. xD
Barton Wheat
I speak Mandarin. I study as an overseas student in Australia. I learn Japanese as well. After watching your impressive Video, there are few things I want to point out. Traditional Chinese users think Kanji is more like simplified Chinese, whereas simplified Chinese users think it's more like traditional Chinese. Such as gas in Japanese is 気 气 in simplified Chinese and 氣 in traditional Chinese. In addition, there are some words with exactly the same characters but totally different meanings in Japanese and Chinese. For example, 床 means bed in Chinese but floor in Japanese. 切手 means stamps in Japanese but cut hands off in Chinese. I really enjoyed the video and looking forward to watching more. Thanks a lot.
Bishop Munoz
Catwalk Productions
David B
We have the opposite problem I have a Japanese wife and son but speak the language poorly, I however have a background in China both in education and career modern mandarin is no issue for me.
David kim
I'm Korean I don't understand both language :/
Davin Cher
There's actually this funny phrase called \
Dáithí Ó Nualláin
I'm Japanese I'll eat your baby or anything that isn't stone, we know 😂📸😂😂📸☘.
Eric Li
when I read those Japanese sentences. they were \
cat bla fish bla food bla bla
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 \
Hongjin Yang
as a Chinese, like you said, I can read the sentence in your example just like cat bla fish bla eat bla bla
Huang Wu
cat bla fish bla food bla bla. That's exactly what I feel when reading Japanese XD. Oh I am Chinese.\nIt's great that you mentioned the returned Japanese vocab to Chinese. And as you said, many Chinese are not even aware of it. I guess that's mainly because of my country's cultural chauvinism that has deeply rooted in our ideology for thousands of years, and which has been deliberately further developed by our authority in recent years. So yeah, nowadays when I try to inform my friends of this, most of them would react by something like: \
Ian Shelton
0:26 Thai doesn't look anything close to Japanese or Chinese. Thai abugida remind of languages of the Indian Subcontinent.
Iva Tsui
我会说上海话和粤语,我认为,现代日语发音与其说是和cantonese像,倒不如说更加接近吴语(a kind of dialect in southern China)。这是现在江浙沪一带的发音,有一些日语词的发音几乎和现在的上海话一模一样。因为日语的发音在古代确实有一部分来自于吴音。
James Blackburn
I speak and read Chinese, but I know almost no Japanese. So to answer your question at the end, the way you described it (\
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 Jiang
The comments are so interesting that Chinese and Japanese use their own language to communicate~
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).
KGB Kids
The Thai words it doesn’t trick me because I am Thai 555
Kazuaki 0173
Kenneth JPN
The cat was eaten by a fish lol
Khouloud Ayari
It reminds me of the difference between arabic and farsi
Kotori Minami_chan16
非常電話 This means 'emergency phone' in Japanese, but in Chinese, it translates into 'very phone'
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
Chinese mainlanders do NOT have trouble reading traditional Chinese characters. Traditional Chinese is very easy for us to read and understand because only a few characters are actually changed in simplified chinese and are still heavily recognizable from their simplified form. Also many places still use and have Traditional characters like temples, shops, ect, so Traditional characters are still all around us. We only have trouble with writing Traditional Chinese as we are not required to learn how to write these characters in their Traditional forms (and because some are so complex, they're difficult to remember all the strokes) Also, very sorry for my English.
Lethal Discharge
I was watching this being very informed and not expecting to laugh, then the bla bla part happened and I died.
Lizzy allen
I’m Chinese and I have many Japanese friends. I hope China and Japan be friends.
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, \
MXing L
People speak mandarin can recognise traditional Chinese word with out learning .Although characters looks very different ,the core of the characters which represent the meanings are same.(In most of the cases.
Mark Lu
Here is something wrong, naive ACTUALLY means 幼稚 OR 天真 in Chinese language while the meaning of 老实 is frank, honest.
Mark Luo
I go to school 我去学校\nI went to school 我去 了 学校
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。
Pedro Gabriel Haddad
I consider myself an advanced Japanese learner as well, but the kanji, man, sometimes I just can't read them. It's pretty fun when I send a difficult text to a Chinese friends and say \
Qianxiang Zhao
love Japan from China❤️🇨🇳🇯🇵🇨🇳🇯🇵
Rajat Jaiswal
Cat bla fish bla food bla bla 🤣
Red Dylan
Richard Hao
I went to school. 我去了学校。I go to school. 我去学校
Rico Chu
I am a native Chinese speaker from mainland China.\nI can generally understand written Japanese though it's written in traditional Chinese characters and 'bla bla'.\nSimplified Chinese:\n我是说中文的,来自大陆。我能基本看懂日语,尽管日语是用繁体中文和一些我不认识的符号书写的。\nTraditional Chinese:\n我是說中文的,來自大陸。我能基本看懂日語,儘管日語是用繁體中文和一些我不認識的符號書寫的。\nJapanese (Google translate):\n私は中国本土からの母国語の中国語話者です。\n伝統的な中国語の文字や「bla bla」で書かれていますが、書かれた日本語は一般的に理解できます。
Ruan Xu
HaHaHa , Cat bla fish bla food bla bla is so reality
Shady Jerry
I love you.\n我爱你。\nSaya suka kamu.
Shawn Zhu
As native Chinese speaker, I would like to say, Kanjis' pronunciation are actually very similar to Chinese characters. Maybe foreigners cannot feel the similarity, but I found myself learning Japanese so fast. Compared with English, it is s better choice for Chinese to learn as second language.
Interesting video, but there is a big emphasize on the writing; conversely, some important general similarities have been omitted, they are worth mentioning:\n \n- the pronoun and subject dropping (impossible in European languages, it would sound odd)\n- the use of measure words (or classifier) / 量词\n- the blurry limit between adjectives and verbs (adjectives kind of \
Suki L.P
As a Chinese teacher I could tell you it is not 100% correct. We use \
SwAg_777 h
As a korean I think that either Chinese or Japanese people can understand each other's languages in writing because two both languages are using Chinese characters... Even though the Chinese one has been simplified
Taro Neko
In Japan, not all but a lot of high schools teach \
Video blah Good blah Like blah blah
Great video, explains a lot of shit, doesn't waste time.. I love it
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=\
Vanessa Yang
This guy knows many languages but Chinese. This shows how hard Chinese is to a foreigner.
Waric Momo
I’m a native Chinese, I have to commit Chinese is a terribly difficult language to learn, but its very rewarding once you achieved high level. I strongly recommend figure out the fundamental grammar first, and for improve speaking is to watch TV programs that interested you and repeat what it said for numerous times. - My opinion, german is a hell level difficulty language to learn, and the der, die, das might sounds familiar, but exception can driving students nuts!!!! it can be der Küche and die Küche! Not for plural cases! Schlecht!!
XO Sauceror
Chinese along have more than 100 languages today. The so called mandarin is just the nationalised version for easier communication. If you are a native Chinese speaker, you actually find many Japanese words still pronounce very similar to Chinese words. And for Chinese to understand Japanese it is a million times easier than Native English speakers. It’s very hard to explain why but it’s there. For example you used Jiating and Katei in your video. For an English speaking man yes they look very very different in pronunciation. But actually for a Chinese it doesn’t sound so different at all. It’s pretty much the same difference between how a Shanghai Chinese speaks their local language to a Beijing Chinese speak their local language (Beijing is very close to simplified Chinese). And grammar in Chinese is also different to each other from different cities. Chinese is too broad to be only considered as “mandarin” , it is actually the origin of many other modern Asian culture and languages no matter how much people these days would want to deny their linkage between China in the past. Many country wants to show they are uniq and they are special, I personally don’t believe in order to do that they need to completely cut their past and refuse to admit they were part of the Chinese (Han, kan) golden age. Even with the Chinese influence they are unique by their own. I also have to say Japan is doing much better than Korean in this, Japan still keep a lot of the Chinese influence as part of their history. Frankly, Japan kept more culture from the “ Tang” danasty than even the modern China.
Yuan Keating
I still remember the news that a person in Beijing bought a product called \
Yuening Piao
As a Chinese speaker, I'm able to understand few Japanese characters, then guess the meaning of the whole sentence, finally get confused.
Zachary Bao
very nice videos, compare the differences and similarities between Chinese and Japanese in a very detailed way.
The meaning of 老实 is actually closer to \
Zhero Zhero
Mandarin Chinese is fascinating because it’s so complex.
Zikreat Assalām Samādī
Love chinese from Saudi Arabia
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
benzo kenzo
language structure between the two languages is totally different excluding chinese words used in Japanese. Rather, The structure in Japanese language is very similar to that of Korean
From what I encounter it's usually the other way around. I live in Vancouver, lots of Taiwanese have trouble reading simplified but very few mainlanders have that trouble reading traditional. It was quite evident in my highschool Mandarin class. What's interesting was that efforts to simplify Chinese characters actually started out in Japan first, they just didn't go as far as mainland China did.
LOL at being able to \
kuma hiyarawa
The Chinese Character belongs to both China and Japan
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.
'cat bla fish bla food bla bla' cracked me up XD
seveeen 84
Very interesting!! I appreciate your comparison of two languages which I am learning nowadays.
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
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.
xi He
Chinese can understand a little Japanese. Japanese can understand a little Chinese too.
zhimou li
zuimeng yang
日语韩语越南语在古代都是这些国家底层社会的语言,上层社会都说汉语写好字,那是这些语言的源头,是贵族使用的语言\nJapanese, Korean, and Vietnamese were the languages of the lower classes of these countries in ancient times. The upper classes spoke Chinese and wrote Chinese well
*The cat was eaten by a fish.*
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🙂
Japan modernized earlier than China. When they tried to understand the modern western ideas that didn't exist in Asia, they created new compound words. Although they were created by Japanese, they still made so much sense for Chinese speakers. For example, \
日语 = 50个片假名+ 50个平假名 + 2000个汉字
森木林 樹
Fun fact: The Chinese name for the PRC, 中華人民共和國, most of this name is re-borrowed from Japanese. Japanese scholars were studying Western concepts and there were no words for them in Japanese, so they coin new ones based on the Kanjis corresponding to the general meaning of the word. 人民: The people, collectively; 共和(國): Republic (country). Sometimes they gave new meaning to archaic Chinese words, such as 経済 (economics), which meant something else in Middle Chinese. Such words did not exist in Chinese either, so their scholars who were studying Japanese started using them in their own language too. And that's how those terms became widespread in both languages...
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~~~
好厲害,懂這麼多,這不知道是什麼專業,比較語言學嗎? 哈哈 有這種的嗎?
Japanese design is great , but Japanese writing system is so clumsiness. How could they bear it.Japan is close to China and far from Phoenicia which is origin of the alphabet. Japanese and other nations close to the Chinese civilization are so pitiful.The Chinese character is really not suitable for using except Chinese language. By the way, I'm learning Japanese, because Japanese is the most euphonic language in the world.
11:37 这不是菜日文的用爱发电吗?