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Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby richvh » Mon 01.12.2009 7:24 am

KanjiHanzi wrote:
Yudan Taiteki wrote:That quote from Wikipedia you posted *supports* what I'm saying, so I guess there's no more discussion.

You are free to stop "discussing" at any point. This is anyhow kind of off-topic. You didn't seem to be very interested in discussing the on-topic focus here: Is Japanese the most difficult language to learn (for English speaking individuals)? The thickness of a Japanese grammar book vs. the thickness of a Chinese grammar book might be interesting, but it isn't really the END of any discussion.

So even if you have quit "discussing" I just don't agree with your interpretation of the wiki text. Nowhere do I find ANY support for your idea that WRITTEN Mandarin and WRITTEN Cantonese are two entirely different languages. This is rather easy to test, as I suggested: Could a Mandarin only reading person understand - much or little - a newspaper published in Hong Kong (which is considered as THE home of Good Cantonese)? I suppose there are several newspapers published online, so it wouldn't require much work.


You're getting hostlie again. Do you always get hostile when you aren't told what you want to hear?
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby KanjiHanzi » Mon 01.12.2009 7:52 am

JaySee wrote:This question really is impossible to answer because it would involve comparing all .....


I am perfectly happy to trust the evaluations made as per
two_heads_talking wrote:Now, "The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the US Department of State has compiled approximate learning expectations for a number of languages". Of the 63 languages analyzed, the 5 most difficult languages to reach proficiency in speaking and proficiency in reading (for native English speakers who already know other languages), requiring 88 weeks, are: "Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean", with Japanese being the most difficult.

In the Defense Language Institute of the US Department of Defense, Korean is seen as the hardest of the Category IV languages, which are Arabic, Chinese, and Korean. "Right now only 8 Languages are being taught (for Navy). Cat IV: Arabic, Chinese, Korean. Cat III: Persian, Serb-Croatian, Hebrew, Russian. Cat I: Spanish. ...Korean is the hardest language here (Navy), apparently it is 75 weeks long now, and they are trying to make it a Cat V language."

It's interesting that the DLI and the FLI seem to agree on category level but can't seem to agree on which language is most difficult. I think Chinese, Japanese, and Korean are given the nod, as they have kanji in them and the extra time to learn is due to the extra time to learn the "alphabets" of those languages.

It focuses on Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. My limited, but not altogether worthless, experience with looking at Arabic, puts it in a category below these three languages. Korean I don't know AT ALL so I have no way to say how it compares to Chines/Japanese. It at least have the advantage of a considerably easier script.

You don't get particularly deep into the background etc. of a language when you are trying to learn it. You simply have a number of TASKS to massage: pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, reading, writing and speaking. EXACTLY WHAT will be difficult will, as already agreed to here, be a personal issue. Do you learn by reading? Listening? Talking? Writing? Personally I have ALWAYS learned best when writing stuff down.

I am not all good at listening comprehension, although I can be a patient and sometimes capable PARROT. To learn What is said here? I have developed a special technique - or perhaps a very common one? - where I put all lessons into a sound processor (my choice: SoundForge) and repeat and repeat small fragments until my grasp is clear. What frequently is just a rapid succession of syllables - particularly true of machine gun Japanese - will sooner or later turn into words and sentences.

There you have one significant parameter: How fast is a language spoken? What is the "BMP" of Mandarin vs. Japanese? Still guessing, but I would assume we would get a considerably higher number for Japanese. 170 BMP :-) Personal again: I can pick up a bit of Mandarin when watching a movie. I can't pick up a SINGLE WORD when watching, say, Seven Samurais by Kurosawa. Again: I could be very exceptionally bad at listening to Japanese, but i DON'T THINK SO.

I put up a small snippet of spoken Mandarin today at

http://kanjihanzi.blogspot.com/2008/12/ ... abeth.html

This is fairly average Mandarin, in terms of speed, but more on the slow side than the reverse.

Just for fun I will post some Japanese samples from CD:s coming with books I have bought. Not today, though. The "intermediate" - IMHO, rather advanced - book Azora is particularly interesting since I believe the claim "This is very realistic stuff" is entirely true.
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby KanjiHanzi » Mon 01.12.2009 7:59 am

richvh wrote:You're getting hostlie again. Do you always get hostile when you aren't told what you want to hear?

Am I? More than the other NICE and FRIENDLY posters here, including yourself?? I AM really happy to hear everything being said here. Trust me. Where did you get the opposite impression? Because I don't agree?

There is really not much I can do about the fact that some people here take everything down to a strictly personal level. Be HAPPY that you find Japanese entirely ease. Be PROUD that you have the patience and stamina to continue. Just because I have made a choice here, it doesn't automatically mean that I label all other options as stupid. On the contrary, I have 100% respect for these choices. Can I get the same respect?
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby KanjiHanzi » Mon 01.12.2009 8:17 am

richvh wrote:Do you always get hostile when you aren't told what you want to hear?

BTW
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=12581#p145917

"Do you always stop talking when you are told something you don't want to hear?"

Is this the kind of standard you - as a forum moderator - want to uphold? By all means! You ARE the boss! I am nothing but your humble servant here. But don't try to kick around your servants too much, though. They might run away.
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby richvh » Mon 01.12.2009 8:25 am

KanjiHanzi wrote:
richvh wrote:You're getting hostlie again. Do you always get hostile when you aren't told what you want to hear?

Am I? More than the other NICE and FRIENDLY posters here, including yourself?? I AM really happy to hear everything being said here. Trust me. Where did you get the opposite impression? Because I don't agree?

There is really not much I can do about the fact that some people here take everything down to a strictly personal level. Be HAPPY that you find Japanese entirely ease. Be PROUD that you have the patience and stamina to continue. Just because I have made a choice here, it doesn't automatically mean that I label all other options as stupid. On the contrary, I have 100% respect for these choices. Can I get the same respect?


Well, when you shout like that, you certainly come off as hostile. (And you do seem to be the only one shouting.) And you certainly seem to be taking all disagreements personally. In what way aren't we respecting you? In failing to validate all your pet theories?

Is this the kind of standard you - as a forum moderator - want to uphold? By all means! You ARE the boss! I am nothing but your humble servant here. But don't try to kick around your servants too much, though. They might run away.


I think you misunderstand the role of forum moderators. We're bouncers. We try to keep the peace.
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby NocturnalOcean » Mon 01.12.2009 8:28 am

If you ask my Japanese girlfriend she would tell you Norwegian is the hardest language in the world to learn.
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby KanjiHanzi » Mon 01.12.2009 9:47 am

richvh wrote:Well, when you shout like that, you certainly come off as hostile.

Shout? You mean using capital letters for emphasis? Like "AM really happy" "Be HAPPY" and "Be PROUD"?? Oh, I SEE! So when people post with small letters stuff like "i just cannot take you seriously" and "you don't know what you are talking about", then it's OK - sorry: ok - enough to be viewed as non-hostile. My rather positive HAPPY and PROUD is hostile?? you must be kidding.

richvh wrote:We try to keep the peace.

Oh, really. We all have our different methods, haven't we? I can't see you as A Man of Peace no matter how hard I - sorry: i - try, but that's my personal opinion, of course. Is that ok? Or is it hostile to have an opinion too?
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby KanjiHanzi » Mon 01.12.2009 9:49 am

NocturnalOcean wrote:If you ask my Japanese girlfriend she would tell you Norwegian is the hardest language in the world to learn.

See... There you've got the topic for another interesting discussion: What is the hardest language for a Japanese to learn? I will not have much to add there, though. h.a.p.p.y.? :D
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby NocturnalOcean » Mon 01.12.2009 10:00 am

KanjiHanzi wrote:
NocturnalOcean wrote:If you ask my Japanese girlfriend she would tell you Norwegian is the hardest language in the world to learn.

See... There you've got the topic for another interesting discussion: What is the hardest language for a Japanese to learn? I will not have much to add there, though. h.a.p.p.y.? :D


What I meant to convey was, I think ultimately it is mostly an individual problem. It depends on interest, your willingness to learn and so forth.
If you look at the grades of any college class, whether it be Russian, Japanese, French or English. There will always be people who fail, and there will always be people who succeed. And there will always be people who do better in one language than in another language. I think it is pretty safe to say that languages like Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Hungarian, Finnish and so forth are difficult languages to learn, but I don't think it is possible at all to say which one is more difficult on an objective level, because in the end it is the subjective level that comes into play when you learn it. And I believe the ultimate point is the level of interest you have in the given language. If you have high enough interest and big enough "love" for the language, it will be easier to learn, than a language you dislike.
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby richvh » Mon 01.12.2009 10:01 am

KanjiHanzi wrote:
richvh wrote:Well, when you shout like that, you certainly come off as hostile.

Shout? You mean using capital letters for emphasis? Like "AM really happy" "Be HAPPY" and "Be PROUD"?? Oh, I SEE! So when people post with small letters stuff like "i just cannot take you seriously" and "you don't know what you are talking about", then it's OK - sorry: ok - enough to be viewed as non-hostile. My rather positive HAPPY and PROUD is hostile?? you must be kidding.


Yes - internet convention is that all caps is shouting. And shouting HAPPY and PROUD comes off as sarcastic. And really, the way you react to our replies comes off as really combative. You don't seem to be able to accept any opinion which disagrees with your own.
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 01.12.2009 10:07 am

KanjiHanzi wrote:Nowhere do I find ANY support for your idea that WRITTEN Mandarin and WRITTEN Cantonese are two entirely different languages.


Re-read what you yourself posted from Wikipedia. Cantonese speakers learn to read standard Chinese, which is essentially Mandarin.

This is rather easy to test, as I suggested: Could a Mandarin only reading person understand - much or little - a newspaper published in Hong Kong (which is considered as THE home of Good Cantonese)? I suppose there are several newspapers published online, so it wouldn't require much work.


Hong Kong newspapers are not written in Cantonese.
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby KanjiHanzi » Mon 01.12.2009 10:19 am

NocturnalOcean wrote:And I believe the ultimate point is the level of interest you have in the given language. If you have high enough interest and big enough "love" for the language, it will be easier to learn, than a language you dislike.

I really don't think it's possible to enjoy and LOVE - sorry l.o.v.e., no swearing and shouting here - the Japanese language more than I've done and still do. It's fun, intelligent, pleasant to listen to, looks great on paper and you name it. Who the [whispering]h.e.l.l.[/whispering] is crazy enough to take a Japanese (grammar/text/etc) book to bed almost every night, year in and year out, without a real affection for the language?? I am n.o.t. a masochist.

Let's say that all this loving wasn't mutual enough for me to spend all the time I am likely to have at my disposal in the future on the relationship; now we're just friends meeting now and then, but rarely go to bed together :lol: Mandarin seems to be a much more endurable mistress, so to say. She's getting more and more beautiful, the better I know "her", though.
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby NocturnalOcean » Mon 01.12.2009 10:30 am

If after all this time you still are not able to pickup the slightest Japanese, maybe you should try change focus on how you learn it? How about not focus everything on kanji, and try read upon more grammar, go through several textbooks, and so on. If you have big time troubles in Japanese when it comes to listening, it is obviously not because the sounds of Japanese are more difficult than say, Mandarin. It's simply due to lack of vocabulary and sentence patterns/grammar.
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 01.12.2009 10:40 am

Is Japanese the most difficult language to learn (for English speaking individuals)?


I would say that it is certainly among the most difficult languages to learn for a native English speaker.
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby KanjiHanzi » Mon 01.12.2009 10:57 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:I would say that it is certainly among the most difficult languages to learn for a native English speaker.

Great! Finally we agree on s.o.m.e.t.h.i.n.g. :!: :mrgreen:
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