Japanese vs. Chinese Writing

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Difference between Japanese and Chinese Writing

Japanese and Chinese languages, at a first glance, may seem to be written in the same way to those of us who are completely unfamiliar with them. There are fundamental differences between them. Neither of these two languages are written with Latin characters so would one begin in attempting to understand them. They use different kinds of characters that can easily confuse a beginner. The following paragraphs will discuss a comparison between these two pictorial languages.

Japanese
Chinese Writing

Early Writing System

The characters used in Chinese writing system are mono-syllabic which means each word corresponds to a spoken syllable that has basic meaning. Chinese characters are known as han characters. A study shows that you need to have the command over more than three to four thousand characters to master in Chinese language. It is noted that the Japanese had no writing system before the 4th century AD. Over time, a writing system emerged in which Japanese characters were used to write either words borrowed from Chinese or Japanese words with the same or similar meanings. The modern Japanese language is the mixture of hiragana and katakana, plus kanji scripts.

Value of Learning

Both of these countries have made a tremendous success in almost every field of business such as technology, education, and business compared when with the West. So it would be a valuable asset to learn how to speak and write these Asian languages. It is much easier to write Japanese than Chinese. Japanese words are a mixture of complex characters called kanji and simple characters called kana. Between these two kanji is mostly used and a good understanding of kana will certainly enable you to speak to Japanese people. On the other hand, it is quite challenging to learn Chinese. It is not enough to learn hanzi, you also have to learn different sounding tones to speak Chinese fluently.

Written Variants

Chinese characters often follow the ming and sans-serif styles of writing. In these systems the characters occupy a more or less square area in which the components of every character are written. This is because a uniform size and shape can be maintained and the words fit well to the squares. So beginners are suggested to practice writing on squared graph paper. The Japanese follow two types of writing system. One is kana syllabaries and the other is semanto-phonetic kanji. Some modern Japanese texts sometimes include romaji (Roman letters).The standard way of writing Japanese with the Latin alphabet is called eimoji (English script).

Similarities and Differences

  • Chinese language has a wide range of characters while the Japanese has comparatively low.
  • It is much easier to write Japanese than Chinese.
  • Both the languages use the characters in such a way that every single character can represent several spoken syllables.

Which style of writing is older?
  • Japanese
  • Chinese Writing
 
 

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