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Is Japanese similar to Korean or Mandarin? - 02-02-2009, 08:48 PM

I'm taking Japanese in HS and would like to find this out in case I want to learn another language in the future. Although I doubt it for some reason, I've actually heard Korean and Japanese are very alike. Is this true? Also, seeing as Japanese kanji developed from Mandarin Chinese kanji, I'd assume they're written language systems would be very much alike excluding Japanese kana. So could someone please tellme? I'd appreciate it. ~Thanks.
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dougbrowne (Offline)
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02-02-2009, 09:02 PM

As for Korean, I don't really know anything about korean.

But, with Mandarin, their writing systems are a bit similar because of the use of kanji, but the languages themselves are very, very different.
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02-02-2009, 09:07 PM

i would say mandarin
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02-02-2009, 09:15 PM

Japanese is grammatically similar to Korean.

And like what dougbrowne said, Japanese is sort of similar to Chinese because of the writing. But the Japanese also use Hiragana and Katakana, not just Kanji.
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02-02-2009, 09:15 PM

Korean and Japanese are a bit similiar. The Korean writing system is completely different. Old Korean characters were based on Chinese characters, but modern Korean was invented by the King, Sejong the Great, in the 1400's. The grammatical structure between the languages is pretty much exactly the same, since they are both based on Chinese sentence structure. I think both Japanese and Korean are more similiar to Chinese (specifically Mandarin) than they are to each other. If you were to learn another language, I would assume that Mandarin would be the (generally) more useful of the two. Then again, these are just my thoughts and it all depends on who you are.

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02-02-2009, 09:22 PM

Thanks, guys!
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02-02-2009, 09:37 PM

I taught Japanese to Koreans and Chinese for years. Japanese and Korean have almost identical grammar systems. However their grammar systems are very different from Chinese.

Korean students picked up Japanese relatively quickly, and Chinese students assumed they would and were suprised when they couldn't.
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02-04-2009, 12:15 AM

To sum it up:

Japanese vs Korean
+ Grammar is almost identical
+ Chinese derived words almost identical
+ Korean has quite a few words derived from Japanese
+ If you know Korean Hanja, Japanese Kanji should be even easier.
+ Japanese pronunciation is almost a subset of Korean alphabet so pronunciation should be easy.
- Native Korean and Japanese words are completely different

Japanese vs Mandarin
+ Japanese Kanji is easy to pick up although more complicated than Simplified Chinese
+ Some Chinese words are the same as Sino-Japanese words
- Native Mandarin and Japanese words are completely different
- The majority of the Chinese vocabulary exists in Japanese but some are not used in everyday speech, some are used under different context.
- Grammar is poles apart
- Mandarin has about 7 times more possible sounds than Japanese but some sounds in Japanese does not exist in Mandarin.

E: I take the train to commute to the office.
K:會社에 電車로 通勤합니다. (Office to train by commute)
J: 会社へ 電車で 通勤します。(Office to train by commute)
C: 我坐火車去公司上班。 (I take train go office work)

Grammar wise, Chinese is similar to English where as Japanese/Korean are exactly the same but miles apart from the rest.

Let's check the vocabulary: (K - J - C - E)
會社(회사) - 会社 - 公司 - Company/Office
電車(전차) - 電車 - 火車 - Train
通勤(통근) - 通勤 - 上班 - Commute
As you can see, Sino-Korean and Sino-Japanese are the same, Chinese is struggling badly. 電車 in Chinese means the Tram, and 通勤 in Chinese is a very rarely used word for commute and the word 会社 doesn't even exist in Chinese.

Basically, if anyone can cram Japanese, it will be the Koreans.

Last edited by kirakira : 02-04-2009 at 12:29 AM.
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02-04-2009, 09:58 PM

Korean and Japanese are more similar than Chinese and Japanese.

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02-04-2009, 10:31 PM

Though eventually I plan to learn at least some of all three, and I am currently working on both Nihongo and Hangul, I am not sure learning them simultaneously is always a good idea.

Yes, there are similarities, but I find when I start to speak (as opposed to reading aloud) I am prone to use words from both languages in the same conversation. That's ok if the other person speaks both, but its a problem otherwise. Sumimasen and jeonmanhaeyo do not belong in the same sentence.

But that may just be my own quirk. I had the same problem when I began studying German while writing a thesis in French. My professor was very amused by my sentence construction of either German nouns with French verbs or French nouns with German verbs. But I had a hard time stopping it till I gave up on the German.

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