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Japanese vs Korean vs Chinese: Which is the Most Difficult Language to Learn?

Last Updated On: September 1, 2022 by The Migration Translators

Japanese vs Korean vs Chinese Which is the Most Difficult Language to Learn
Japanese vs Korean vs Chinese: Which is the Most Difficult Language to Learn?
Last updated:September 1st, 2022 by The Migration Translators

Overview of the Japanese language 

Japanese is spoken by 130 million people. This makes it the 9th most spoken language by native speakers. The Japanese language is viewed as being one of the hardest languages for Americans to learn but this isn’t the case for Chinese speakers. Japanese is difficult for English speakers to learn because according to Richard Brecht, who is the Advanced Study of Language director at the University of Maryland, it is because Japanese has a complex writing system that doesn’t have much in common with the A-to-Z alphabet. Japanese consists of 3 different alphabets. The first is kanji, which is composed of around 15,000 characters. The 2nd is kata-kana, which is used to show emphasis, while the 3rd is hira-gana which is for grammar and spelling suffixes. 

Overview of the Korean language 

Korean is considered to be one of the world’s oldest languages which are still in use today. It has been suggested by some 19th Century Western scholars that the Korean language is connected to Ural-Altaic, Chinese, Japanese, Indo-European, Tibetan, Dravidian Ainu, and maybe other languages too. Linguistically, Korean isn’t related to Chinese but is similar to, but still distinct from the Japanese language. 

One of the hardest aspects of Korean is that it is a hierarchical language which means different words are used depending on who you are communicating with. In 2021, the Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange estimated that 77 million people were in the process of learning Korean even though just 52 million people live in Korea.  

Overview of the Chinese language 

Today, 1.3 billion people use Chinese as their official language and as their mother tongue. It is the most commonly spoken language throughout the world. It is considered to be an isolated language and it is the language of the Han people, the most important of China’s ethnic groups. Modern Standardised Chinese is called Putonghua.

Japanese vs Korean vs Chinese

Which language has the most complicated writing system? 

When earning to read and write Japanese is likely to be more difficult than in Chinese because most Japanese characters which are called kanji) have at least 2 or more pronunciations, while most Chinese characters, called hanzi, just have one. When learning Japanese you are exposed to two syllabic scripts which are katakana and hiragana.

Which language has the most difficult grammar? 

Chinese is the easiest. Its grammar is very close to English. Korean doesn’t have a tone or a writing system and has a grammar that has little in common with English grammar. Japan has a difficult writing system with 3 scripts, small letters, and duplicated consonants and vowels but it doesn’t have any tones. Japanese grammar is probably the most complex. For example, the language has 13 different forms of all Japanese verbs, and when they are combined with the tense there are even more forms of verbs created.

Which language has the most difficult pronunciation?

Chinese is certainly the hardest to pronounce because of its tonal language, and word meanings which constantly vary depending on their tones, which doesn’t occur in Korean, Japanese, or English.

Which language is the easiest for English speakers to learn?

When considering writing, pronunciation, and grammar, the easiest writing system is Japanese, followed by Chinese, and thirdly Korean. The easiest language to pronounce is first, Chinese secondly is Korean while thirdly comes Japanese. Finally, for grammar Japanese ranks as the easiest, followed by Korean and finally Chinese.

Asian languages often stand apart from other languages as they just seem more foreign but Chinese, Korean, and Japanese are 3 languages that have a lot of connections so they are often compared with one another but in the end, they are quite different.