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Chinese after Japanese

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Chinese after Japanese

Postby CAPiTUL » Wed 12.21.2005 11:45 am

Greetings.

Has anybody tried learning Chinese after they learned Japanese? Do you feel Chinese was any easier to learn because you studied Japanese?

I've gotten mixed messages about the Kanji usage. I've heard most uses for japanese are outdated or completely different than their chinese counterparts. Then i've heard that only the pronunciations are different, really, and that the MEANing is usually the same.

Which is it? Anybody?
-CAPiTUL
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RE: Chinese after Japanese

Postby AJBryant » Wed 12.21.2005 10:14 pm

Knowing Japanese first wasn't a help until I started to work on Classical Chinese, where there are more similarities in kanji usage (after all, when Japan adopted kanji, Classical Chinese was the language of the day, so the kanji usage in MODERN Japanese more closely reflects the hanzi of Classical Chinese than Modern Chinese.

But it really made things difficult, for though I knew I was working on a Chinese text, I'd see sentences in a mental jumble of Chinese and Japanese readings depending on how I best knew the hanzi in question.

Tony
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RE: Chinese after Japanese

Postby CAPiTUL » Thu 12.22.2005 11:13 am

If you don't mind my prying, how long did it take you to learn each/both?
-CAPiTUL
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RE: Chinese after Japanese

Postby AJBryant » Thu 12.22.2005 2:50 pm

I started Japanese in 1979. I think I'm still learning, even though my Master's is in Japanese and I lived there for years as a newspaper editor.

Chinese I started in 2000, and I really haven't "learned" it -- I have serious cognitive dissonance with my Japanese when I try to deal with Chinese. Reading it is much easier, however, as I see the pages in an odd combination of Chinese, Japanese, or English depending on how I "know" what I'm looking at. If I were to have to read something out loud in Chinese, I'd be totally flummoxed, as I just never bothered to learn the pronunciation of many hanzi.

You see, I was doing grad work and my interest was in reading old texts, not carrying on conversations, so I never bothered to learn to *speak* it per se (which really hurt me in the end, but... sigh. Hindsight, you know?)

I'm starting up the Chinese again using my old textbooks and forcing myself to learn what the HANZI are instead of what the KANJI are. ;)

Tony

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