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Similarity between Chinese and Japanese

08.06.07 | admin | In Shanghainese, inspiration, Mandarin, Chinese, Japanese

Learning French is much easier if you already know another Romance language such as Spanish or Italian. Even already knowing English helps a lot since so many words were borrowed from French and English. Is there anything similar for Chinese? Well, actually, many Asian countries that were once under the influence of China borrowed many words from their language so Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese all contain many Chinese loan words. Of those three languages, which all he used to use a writing system based on the Chinese system, only Japanese retains that feature. What that means is if you were to learn Japanese before learning Chinese you would already know a huge amount of the characters, although Japanese also uses two syllabic alphabets that are loosely based on but not used in the Chinese system. Also there are some characters that are only used in one or the other. But for the most part you would already understand the meaning of much written Chinese and you would have a butchered pronunciation of it.

This is partly due to divergence an pronunciation between modern Mandarin and the language that was spoken when the Japanese originally borrowed the words. But memorizing some rules can help you translate the Japanese approximate pronunciation into modern Mandarin. The Shanghainese dialect is more close to the language that was spoken back then and so more word have the same pronunciation today as in Japanese today. For example, grape is pronounced “budo” in both Japanese and Shanghainese and person, “nin”, and two ,”ni”. So out of all the regions in China Shanghai may be the best place to locate if you already know Japanese as many of the people who wield power in that region still speak that dialect. If you ever need to call for help remember that telephone is “dianhua” in Chinese whereas in Japanese it is “denwa”.

Having trouble telling it all apart? Take the test to see if you really can tell the difference between Chinese, Japanese, and Korean people and scenes.

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