English learning vs Japanese learning –which is easier to learn for non-native speakers? Let us find out in this comparison!
This post about English learning vs Japanese learning might convince you that both languages are the opposite of the other. If you do your research, there are more differences than similarities that you would likely discover. English and Japanese differ greatly –from their common heritage and origins to writing and pronunciation.
Through this article, let us all discover the similarities (yes, there are some similarities, too!) and more about the differences between the English and Japanese languages.
How Different are the Two Languages?
English learning vs Japanese learning is a topic that language learners must look into. Japanese and English don’t have many similarities, possibly one reason why English speakers sometimes find learning Japanese challenging and vice versa. There are certain parallels between the two languages, even though they are not immediately clear.
The characters are probably where English grammar and Japanese grammar differ the most. Latin characters are used from A to Z in all of these languages. Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji are the three types of characters used in Japanese grammar instead of Latin characters. Doesn’t that seem terrifying? Hiragana and Katakana have 46 and 45 characters, compared to the 26 characters of Latin script. Additionally, there are thousands of Kanji characters (based on Chinese characters), each of which has a unique meaning.
Second, there are differences in grammar tenses. Japanese grammar only has two verb tenses: past and present, and each tense has a formal and informal form. English grammar has many verb tenses. Ranging from the past tense to the future tense. Each tense has four forms: simple, progressive, perfect, and perfect progressive. Japanese verbs have a “masu” ending in two tenses. The positive form is “masu,” and the negative form is “masen,.” Meanwhile, the past tense’s positive and negative forms are “mashita” and “masendeshita”.
Third, there is a slight difference in the order of the particles. For instance, in English, the sequence is usually Subject – Verb – Object, as in “I eat rice.” Yet, in Japanese, the order is Subject – Object – Verb. It sounds absurd and comical, but that is how it works in Japanese. If we follow this order in English, the example will be: “I rice eat.” The word “I consume rice” will be “わたしはごはんを食べます” in Japanese (Watashi wa Gohan wo tabemasu – I rice eat).
English Learning vs Japanese Learning: Language Showdown
Below are the general categories you must focus on to understand the differences and similarities between English and Japanese.
The origins of English and Japanese are very dissimilar. Anglo-Saxon immigrants from the European continent brought their language to Britain in the early fifth century, when it became the basis for English. Old English, incomprehensible to modern English speakers, was created from this, along with some Celtic and Latin.
Old Norse influences continued to impact the language’s development. Yet, it wasn’t until William the Conqueror entered England. He introduced his dialect of French, and the language began to change into the English we know today.
The two languages modern English has the most in common are German and French. It also has origins in Russian, Hindi, Punjabi, and Persian.
Japanese introduced and analyzed are unknown. It is not related to any other existing languages or language families. The two most prevalent interpretations relate to the connection to Korean and the Ural-Altaic language family. Turkic and Mongolian languages, as well as those spoken in Finland, Hungary, and Estonia, are among the Ural-Altaic languages.
Japanese lettering draws inspiration from the Chinese language as well. Chinese immigrants introduced the Chinese language in Japan as early as the fifth century CE.
English and other non-Japanese languages have several loanwords that are used in Japanese. These terms are known as Gairaigo. This first entered Japan in the late 19th century. The original Japanese words for several English loanwords in Japanese may not exist or may not be well known in Japan. Especially among younger generations.
Wasei Eigo is a group of English-derived words in Japanese that don’t have the same meaning as those in English.
The number of Japanese loan terms adopted into English may also surprise you. Emojis, karaoke, and tsunami are all words that we frequently use in English.
In honorifics, sama, san, kun, and chan are essential to the Japanese language. And this is how people interact with one another in Japan. You might think of Japanese as being a particularly honorific-heavy language.
English also uses honorifics, although less often than they are in Japanese. For items like official documents and medical forms, you can use Mr., Mrs., Miss, and Ms. Although “ma’am” and “sir” usage varies depending on where in the world you are.
Compared to English, Japanese contains fewer vowel and consonant sounds overall, but they are far more regular. This implies that, contrary to English, you generally pronounce things as they are written.
The terms “cough,” “though,” and “through,” for instance, all contain the same “ough” combination. They are all pronounced differently, though.
The double consonant and lengthy vowels are two difficult pronunciation features of Japanese that confuse English speakers.
Additionally, the “R” sound is absent from Japanese. As a result, terms like “ramen” and “riy” (reason) don’t have a hard “r” sound. Instead, it sounds like a combination of the “r” and “l” sounds.
The System of Writing
While English uses the 26-letter Latin alphabet to create words, there are three other writing systems used in Japanese: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Each writing system, hiragana, and katakana, has 46 basic syllables. Hiragana is for words of foreign origin, while katakana is for terms of native Japanese origin.
There are around 50,000 kanji or Chinese characters, but most adults still don’t know this many. You will need to know about 2000 kanji if you’re learning Japanese and want to pass the Japanese Language Proficiency Test at the highest level.
When writing Japanese, you typically need to start from right to left in vertical columns. However, you can also try western-style writing—writing in horizontal rows from top to bottom. Today’s Japan has both writing techniques coexisting side by side.
The two languages modern English has the most in common are German and French. But, it also originates in Russian, Hindi, Punjabi, and Persian.
Because of the several levels of formality in Japanese, it might be challenging to master. Japanese honorific speech, or Keigo, is an essential component of the culture and the language, particularly if you want to work there. Depending on the circumstance and the person you are speaking to, there are various Keigo varieties within the language. Read this article to learn more.
There is no equivalent of Keigo in English, but you can show courtesy with alternative phrases and body language.
The sentence structure in English is Subject + Verb + Object. At the same time, the sentence structure in Japanese is Subject + Object + Verb.
In the verb conjugation language of Japanese, one must add suffixes to the root of a word to change its meaning. Although English does this to some level, it occurs more frequently in Japanese.
The construction of Japanese verbs is quite simple, especially since there are only two verbs in Japanese that are irregular, unlike in English. This means that the English teacher must highlight irregular verbs in class.
On the other hand, Japanese nouns always appear in the same form; they do not alter even to indicate a plural form. As a result, you should emphasize how nouns vary in English when dealing with the singular and plural forms and utilize various exercises to help your pupils practice these distinctions.
When it comes to articles, there are no gender-specific articles like in English. And there are no distinctions between plural and singular.
Countable and uncountable nouns and plurals
When comparing Japanese and English, it’s crucial to note that Japanese does not use plural nouns. English has it. For instance: Three pens, two pens, and one pen.
This is a challenge for Japanese language learners, particularly given that English contains both countable and uncountable nouns. Having “two money” is impossible, yet you can have “two dollars.”
Thus, there is still another distinction between Japanese and English. If anything is countable or not, you must change the English quantifiers! Particularly, Japanese uses of the quantifiers “many,” “lots,” and “much” are quite distinct.
Additionally, demonstrative pronouns like “this” and “these” are not pluralized in Japanese; instead, “kore” is used to denote both. “Sore” in Japanese can refer to either “that” or “them.”
FAQs about English Learning vs Japanese Learning
After discussing the similarities and differences between the two languages, Let’s move on to the concern that is most commonly asked about between the English language and Japanese language. This will help us determine whether it is possible to study these two languages.
1. Is It Simpler to Learn English from Japanese or Japanese from English?
The two languages are very different; for example, English has a lot of grammar, whereas Japanese requires you to recall the specific characters in each story. Additionally, it is frequently possible to identify the meaning of words from similar English phrases, but this process gets more challenging when using Japanese characters.
It supposedly depends on whether it’s Korean, Japanese, or German (among other things)… Due to these reasons, Japanese people take longer to learn English. To put it mildly, Japan has some oddities and unique characteristics, but English is no exception.
2. How Difficult Is Japanese Compared To English?
Learning Japanese can be challenging if you are a natural English speaker. The US Foreign Service Institute rates Japanese as one of the hardest languages for English speakers to master (along with Arabic, Chinese, and Korean). The time it takes for a language to be established and learned determines how difficult it is to learn.
3. Is English Learning Difficult For A Japanese Person?
Despite English being a required foreign language in junior high and high school, Japanese students may have speaking difficulties due to the way they speak as if it were a subject. According to the Education Foundation’s examinations of English ability, Japan ranks 35th out of 72 nations.
4. Is Japanese Learning Simple After English?
Generally, a native English speaker who speaks Japanese should be aware of its challenges. You must put in a lot of work to master the kana, syllable recognition, grammatically complicated vocabulary, and vocabulary development in kanji.
5. Do Japanese People Find Learning English Difficult?
Japanese people have trouble speaking English because of the limitations on the variety of vocalizations used in their native tongue. Most foreign visitors have accents similar to those of their original languages when they speak English, but they are not as distinctive as Japanese accents.
6. Why Is Japanese Better Than English?
Japanese is much simpler to pronounce than English. The absence of upper case letters in the Japanese alphabet is the only difference between it and the English alphabet. There is no need to repeatedly search online for Japanese words because they are spelled similarly.
English Learning vs Japanese Learning: The Verdict
A language is more than only its vocabulary terms or its volumes of widely used expressions. You must study the fundamental words and phrases, especially if you have only one month before your trip to Japan to improve your language skills. But understanding Japanese grammar and sentence structure is also important. In this way, even if you don’t understand what someone said or how to answer, you will at least have a small amount of knowledge in your memory. It isn’t easy to learn or understand any language. It will take a lot of work, but learning Japanese is not that difficult. Becoming literate will take countless study hours, especially for the kanji.
English is a West Germanic language that was spoken in early medieval England. This is now the most widely used language in global communication. The history of English spans more than 1,400 years. Old English refers to a collection of West Germanic dialects. The oldest varieties of English were introduced to Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the fifth century. After Standard Chinese and Spanish, English is the language with the greatest number of native speakers. And it is the third most spoken language overall. It is the second language that people learn the fastest. Compared to the number of native speakers, more people have learned it as a second language.
To summarize, there is no winner in the English learning vs Japanese learning comparison. Japanese and English are two of the most unlike languages on Earth. Especially concerning sentencing structures, greetings, vocabulary, and writing. These differences will need to be considered when translating and localizing between the two languages. Having a basic understanding of Japanese culture is also a good idea. It will help interactions and discussions during the localization process.