Mandarin (Chinese) and Japanese Difference


One of our tutor is a certified Mandarin and Japanese teacher. She taught Japanese in China, Mandarin in Japan and both Mandarin and Japanese in Singapore and Australia. I once asked her the difference of learning Mandarin and Japanese for English speakers, below are some tips.

  • Mandarin and English has the similar grammar structure, like subject, verb and object. For example: “我爱你” in English is “I 我 love 爱 you 你”.
  • Japanese still use ancient Chinese grammar, Subject+Object+Verb. So I love you in Japanese becomes “わたしはあなたをあいしてる。”
  • Though Mandarin and Japanese have many same characters (Kanji), but the meaning may not be the same. You can learn Japanese without knowing the Kanji but it is very hard to learn Chinese if you do not learn Kanji.
  • Chinese pronunciation is more difficult than Japanese, especially the tone. A lot of Chinese words have the same Pin Yin, but different tones which make the meaning of the words totally different.
  • It is basically easier for Chinese people to learn Japanese and Japanese people to learn Mandarin. However, most of the Chinese students found Japanese grammar is too difficult, especially the Kaigo. While Japanese students found the Mandarin pronunciation is too hard to master.

Please let us know what you think. Our tutor can also teach Japanese in Mandarin and teach Mandarin in Japanese. So if you come from China or Japan and want to pick up another language, please contact us.

Learning language is fun, knowing languages can bring you more fun.

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