What are good approaches to start learning Chinese after learning Japanese language?

Updated on September 6, 2019 in Learn Chinese
2 on May 19, 2014

My Japanese was quite good when I was in college. Now I`d like to learn Chinese.

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0 on May 19, 2014

If you’re learning both Japanese and Chinese language, you would have noticed that some kanji, even though they are of Chinese origin, they have been made easy or even digress from the original vocabulary and are now using a different version of the same character

ki 気 (Japanese) {qì} 气 (simplified) 氣 (traditional)

{zasshi} 雑誌 (Japanese) {zázhì} 杂志 (simplified) 雜志 or 雜誌 (traditional)

{ongaku} 音楽 (Japanese) {yīnyuè} 音乐 (simplified) 音樂 (traditional)

The first character in the Japanese {mainichi}毎日 is not the same way in Chinese 每天.

Unlike Japanese, Chinese characters ordinarily have only one reading, perhaps 3rd or 4th of these have two readings (usually sound similar or different only by their tone), and only few have three or more.

The phonetic aspect of a character of Chinese language is useful for learning it (especially with simplified characters), compared to Japanese, where it’s simply a traditional foot note. Characters that look identical usually sound alike, and it’s not common to be able to guess the unique reading of an unknown character (if not the tone) by its structure. Therefore learning characters in Chinese is much easier compared to Japanese.

 

Similarities between English and Chinese grammar are shallow when compared to the numerous similarities between Japanese and Chinese. You would not be lacking anything by studying Japanese instead of English.

 

However, you should not shun English completely, mainly because reference materials are widely available in English. Check out the amazing Pleco dictionary suite, available on various platforms (I use it on iOS). For Japanese, the Shogakukan 中日日中辞典 app for iOS is recommended but a bit costly; you can also consider the BitEx and Horry app.

Having both Japanese and English under your belt is an advantage.

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0 on March 25, 2016

Depends really on your level, aims and how you like to study. Typically, for beginners, it’s a good idea to be in a group class, as the social environment makes it easier to study and more fun while you are making your first steps. For more intermediate-advanced students who are already able to express themselves and their thoughts, doing a 1on1 program is quite a good idea as you can discuss more topics and really practice your spoken Chinese with the sole attention of the teacher on you.

For a good place to study Mandarin, in my opinion, Hanbridge Mandarin School is among the best options out there. It offers experienced and professional teachers who specifically studied Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (对外汉语) and have vast experience. The teachers are full time employees of the school, so having good conditions, they stay for longer. Note though that with quality, comes price, so it is not the cheapest school out there.

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