Can you Really Learn Chinese and Japanese Together?

By OptiLingo

When it comes to learning a language, Japanese and Chinese are two of the hardest to master. This is especially true for people living in the west. People who live in the Eastern region of Asia more than likely have been exposed to these languages at some point or another. However, westerners have little exposure to Chinese or Japanese outside of movies and some J-pop or Chinese popular songs. Since this is the case, a lot of westerners who are interested in these languages might wonder if you can you learn Chinese and Japanese at the same time? The reality is yes you can but it is going to be an extremely difficult process.

Why is learning two similar languages a hard thing to do?

Language professionals often tell us that people should never learn two languages that are similar to one another. This is the case between Chinese and Japanese. When languages have a lot in common but still are very different, people who try to learn both of these languages at the same time will get confused. They will have trouble knowing how to properly speak, write and use them. This is a big reason why experts tell people to never learn two Romance or European based languages at the same time. Learning languages such as Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese at the same time will often confuse and mislead a person.

The reason why learning similar languages is difficult and confusing has to do with similarities known as false friends, tonal inflections and grammatical structure. These are the problems that Chinese and Japanese learners will face when trying to pick up both of these tongues. So, if you keep asking can I learn Japanese and Chinese at the same time, then keep reading to get the answer to the rest of this question.

Japanese and Chinese Similarities and Differences

First, we’ll start with Chinese. This language is older than Japanese and it was developed first. Briefly, the ancient Chinese people developed a writing (language) system known as Hanzi. This language uses symbols for words. However, the symbols are not phonetically connected to the words. Chinese words only have one syllable. Also, Chinese language structure doesn’t have tense or conjugation. The phonetic construct of Chinese is very complicated and the sounds that Chinese people make are way more complex than Japanese.

However, Japanese has multiple syllables, lots of conjugations, different moods, lots of tenses and a great deal of formality. Japan also borrowed Chinese symbols for their language. However, they did not stop to consider (or at least really think through) how different these symbols would be used for their language. Keep in mind that the Japanese now have 3 writing systems for their language.

Chinese people have traditional and simplified writing systems. The Japanese has their own styles as well. To add to this complexity between the languages both Chinese has hundreds of different dialects that are represented in the vast regions of the nation. Japanese also has lots of different speeches as well. A person can learn the standardized versions of both languages. Still, they could have trouble communicating with natives from these nations. The answer to the question can I learn Japanese and Chinese at the same time is now being satisfied. The information presented here makes it possible for a person to arrive at a realistic conclusion about grasping both languages.

Passion for Learning these Languages

If you are trying to learn both of these languages at the same time, you must have the passion or strong desire to do so. The reason why having a strong desire to pick up Japanese and Chinese at the same time has to do with commitment. If you are not committed to this process, you will naturally stop trying to fight your way through it. Having a passion to learn is essential to mastering any language.

There are plenty of people who try and master Japanese and Chinese. These individuals usually have a lot of passion and determination with trying to master these dialects. They know that without a strong inkling to excel at these languages they will not last long. Remember, progress for these languages will probably be slow going for most people trying to learn them. This might also be the case for you. Without having the passion to push through and to really connect with Japanese and Chinese culture; your effort at learning will be extremely challenging. Having strong passion goes a long way with knowing how to learn Japanese and Chinese at the same time.

Academic Progress of Both Languages

When you decide to learn Japanese and Chinese remember some of the practical problems that people before you faced with these languages. First, both languages are taught on the university or college level. You can learn these languages through a formal education course and sometimes they are taught in certain high schools.

Former students of these programs typically state that learning both languages academically is really hard. They are not saying that a person cannot do it. However, they usually caution people not to do this unless they have focus and can frequently practice using both languages. This of course will still cause problems because of how both languages are formed. One of the best ways to know how to learn Japanese and Chinese at the same time is by taking things slow. You should also do your best to keep each language separate from the other.

Final Thoughts about how to Learn Chinese and Japanese at the Same Time

At this point if you should no longer wonder can you learn Chinese and Japanese at the same time. The truth is that you can learn both of these languages together. It will be difficult but you can certainly get through the process.

Just remember to take the time to learn each language separately. You should work hard at building up your the knowledge and try to connect with an authentic Japanese or Chinese language speaker. Don’t forget to learn the rules for both languages and remember to learn how to write these languages as well as read and speak them. This too will help you to better understand these tongues. Knowing how to learn Chinese and Japanese at the same time is not that difficult once you realize that you can accomplish this feat.