How to study both chinese and japanese?

So, it’s been more than a month since I discovered this god-sent site, and it’s been so precious to me, I never imagined myself actually learning japanese by myself and only now that I started jap class at university I noticed how far ahead I am than other people.
I just started to study chinese too, which happenes to be far more difficult for some reasons, ai guess as an italian native speakes chinese pronunce is far more complex than japanese.
Does anyone study both ch and jp? Do you have any suggestions to give to a chinese starter? Maybe some apps or websites I could abuse like I’m doing with wanikani?


Ah, I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, but just be aware that in English, the abbreviation “jap” is a slur, and even if it’s not meant with bad intentions it’ll make some people cringe.

Sorry I can’t help with learning Chinese… I do think it would be interesting, but I agree that the pronunciation is intimidating.


Thanks for sharing that. I just know that too. I thought referring Japanese as Jap is normal. I saw that in an American movie. If you didn’t share it, I may use this word wrong.


It’s basically along the same lines as using Gajin instead of Gaikokujin around foreigners. So don’t be lazy abbreviating everything and instead of “Jap” use Japanese. I’ve also mentally swapped out it out with “Jpn” like Japan does with websites to avoid this problem. Movies are good with casual conversation, but unless you realize it you can pick up bad habits so to speak.

Although I do speak Chinese, I don’t have any websites I could recommend. The difficulties you speak of are pretty common, you need to train your ear hard to pick out tones then later would come pronunciation. I would say try to listen native speakers and copy EXACTLY how they say things.

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I once heard Ikitagarino MC on WakuWaku Japan TV referred a foreigner as 外国人の方 so, I think, :thinking: he used polite language? cc @Leebo

I don’t speak Mandarin. I’ve never attended Mandarin course offline and online and never want to, but I tried shadowing Mandarin in front of a native Chinese in Singapore (just for having fun while having lunch together). It was hard. I probably spent total 6 hours both by myself and in front of my Chinese friends to only learn to say ni hao? wo hen hao and those 4 different tonal sounds. So I think if I really learn Mandarin, I must always learn it with native, so they can correct me if I’m wrong, so for example, not to be interpreted I’m mad and full of curses, while I try calling Mom in Mandarin (Mama) but with wrong tonal sounds.

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Every single word you just typed are slurs.
Be careful.

I thought so too and a friend of mine corrected me. Avoid it to be on the safe side. Maybe Americans know about it better?


there’s exactly one person being offended here, and that’s you, my dude


I do agree, for western learners, it’s probably even more important that you have constant contact with a native speaker. I mean I’ve grown up listening to Chinese, but I imagine it’s takes a whole lot of mental concentration and also frustration for learners.

Since “words” are just one syllable (with associated tone), a whole sentence can sound like one English word with x amount of syllables.


It’s just during WWII times it was used as a derogatory term for Japanese Americans. I mean of course war times people develop phobias and do irrational things, but it’s a fact America made camps to imprison them and we’ve publicly apologized for it. It’s probably seen in old films because it’s historically accurate. …Also lets leave it at this, I believe it’s one of those no go topics on our forums.


This is an early impression which will probably be dissipated soon. From a romance language speaker, yeah, standard Chinese phonology is much more intimidating at first but if you practice diligently and listen to Chinese audio you’re going to get used to the tones and unique consonants much sooner than you’ll might expect. Japanese grammar on the other hand is much more complex. People often discuss which is harder, but really, both of them are big challenges unless you’re already familiar with another language with similar features.

So, if you’re going to study both at the same time the best advice I can give is: be patient but also be consistent. It takes several years for most people to go from zero to hero in just one of those languages, but study regularly and you’ll get there.

One suggestion? Start a Kanji/Hanzi notebook (it can be computer file if you prefer), and save 2 or 4 pages for each character you learn. Both languages are very different but there’s this common ground in the writing system that you might want to take advantage. Right all the Japanese words you learn using that character on on side, and all the Chinese on the other. Write notes and comments on usage. Effectively, build your own dictionary, little by little, and try to make the most out of the synergy.


You’re not offending me, brother. If you want to say it, say it. But it’s helpful to know what other people are going to think of you when you do. Leebo thought the OP might not know that, and didn’t want them to embarrass themself. If you still want to, knock yourself out.


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