What is the difficulties of learning Chinese, Japanese and Korean, and in what order?


  • Things like:

    1. How hard it is to learn the language, overall.
    2. How hard it is to pick up the grammar
    3. How ... to write it
    4. How ... to read it
    5. How ... to listen to it
    6. How ... to speak it
    7. And anything you fill in

    (I know some of the answers for Chinese but i want you to put it into order =D)
  • What I'll do is from top to bottom (being most difficult to least), I'll answer all the numbers, then give a brief synopsis of each.







    As you can see, Chinese is the easiest in three out of six, and is only the hardest in writing. This is solely because it compromised solely of Hanzi, Chinese characters. There is no alphabet, and there is no syllabary. However, reading it is not hard, because for the most part, each character has one reading, and one reading only. The grammar is usually pretty simple... the only thing I'd have to say is that if you're a native English speaker, you have to completely turn your thoughts of language upside down; for there are some things in English that we say that are also said the same way in Japanese and Korean, but are in no way said likewise in Chinese. As far as speaking goes, it is a tonal language, meaning you would use different pitches of your voice to convey certain meanings. The syllable "ma" can be read with four different tones, all with different meanings (not including the neutral tone).

    As far as grammar goes, it seems to be a lot closer to Japanese (which is very intricate and detailed). What makes Korean the easiest to read and write is the fact that its system is based on combining consonantal and vowel sounds into one syllable, called a syllabic block. The best thing is that you only have to memorize 24 symbols or characters and which sound each represents. Pronunciation can get a little difficult in Korean for the sole reason that some vowels sound close to the English ear, but not to the Korean. Same with consonants. Instead of a "g" sound, there's a "k" sound and a "soft k" sound.

    This is where the grammar, the reading, and the comprehension becomes nightmarish. The grammar, though in a different order, isn't too far from English in the fact that prepositions (or postpositions/particles in Japanese) can make or break you. While the writing isn't too difficult because of the hiragana and katakana syllabaries (which makes it so that not every word or syllable is written with an intricate character), reading can be extremely frustrating. Even though Japanese uses the same characters as Chinese, there can be multiple, sometimes more than six, readings for a single character. And the best part about it is that you just have to know when to use the correct reading, though the position of the Kanji can usually give you hints.
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