People living in different countries speak multiple languages. When people living in different cultures interact with each other, they come up with the formation of new languages. The way people speak the language is greatly influenced by their culture. For example, Chinese people are very loud whereas Japanese people are very soft-spoken. For effective communication, you need to understand the difference between the Chinese and Japanese languages.
Understanding of Chinese and Japanese Language
Do you know that Chinese is the official language of three countries: China, Taiwan, and Singapore? According to Ethnologue, Chinese is the most spoken language in the world. Approximately, 1.31 billion speakers in the world speak this language. There are multiple dialects of the Chinese language. Therefore, to differentiate between the different dialects of the Chinese language, a Chinese translation service can be of great help.
Chinese and Japanese are both ancient languages of the world. Japanese came into existence with the influence of Buddhism. Approximately, 125.1 million people speak this language making it the eighth most spoken language in the world.
What are the differences between the Chinese and Japanese Languages?
Let’s dive into the linguistic differences between the Chinese and Japanese
Chinese writing is thought to have started in the 2nd millennium BC. Japanese writing, specifically Kanji, didn’t have its own system. It started borrowing characters from China in the 8th century CE. Kanji was later used for verbs, nouns, and adjectives. Additionally, Chinese writing mainly uses Hanzi, and Japanese Kanji writing relies a lot on Chinese characters.
Another thing that sets these languages apart is the number of ways they use to write. Japanese is more advanced because it uses three systems: Hiragana, Kanji, and Katakana. Among these, Kanji is harder, but Hiragana and Katakana are easier to learn.
Hiragana is used to add small words to Kanji for grammar. Katakana is often used for words borrowed from other languages, like “Starbucks” from English.On the other hand, the Chinese stick to a single system called Hanzi. They also introduced a simpler version to promote literacy in 1949.
At present Chinese document translation services are in great demand. This is because China is the second most powerful economy in the world. Therefore, developing countries want to do business with China.
Comparison between Kanji and Hanzi
Although Hanzi and Kanji share the same writing style, they are different languages. Thus, a hanzi’s Chinese pronunciation differs from its Japanese kanji pronunciation.
Many Japanese kanji come from Chinese hanzi, and many look the same. In the 1950s, China simplified its hanzi, but kanji in Japan remained the same. So, the traditional hanzi is not used in China anymore.
Even though kanji and hanzi look alike, they can be read in various ways. A hanzi in Chinese has only two readings, while in Japanese there are more options.
For example, the character meaning “sun” or “day” can be read as nichi, jitsu, hi, bi, or ka in Japanese. However, in Chinese, it is only read as rì.
Chinese grammar is simpler than Japanese because Chinese only uses characters called Hanzi. In Chinese, verbs don’t change their form. Japanese has more complex grammar due to its Hiragana writing system. Japanese verbs contain different forms and particles.
Moreover, the sentence structure of Japanese sentences is different. This shows both languages use different sentence structures. Chinese has subject-verb-object (SVO), whereas Japanese uses subject-object-verb (SOV). However, according to the experts, modern Japanese is similar to old Chinese. Therefore, to differentiate between the Japanese and Chinese grammar, Japanese translation services can be of great help.
Tone matters in Chinese culture as different tones carry different meanings. Like “Ma” can mean horse, mother, or hemp based on how it is said.
The Japanese language is simpler with equal-length consonants, vowels, and syllables. The tone inflection is less in the Japanese language than in Chinese.
Given the differences in tonal complexity between the Chinese and Japanese languages, the importance of professional Japanese translation services cannot be underestimated.
Long ago, various languages had special ways to write numbers, like Chinese and Japanese. When you see their number writing, they seem alike because they use the same structure. Yet, if you look closely, you can notice a dissimilarity between Chinese and Japanese in how they write. Chinese characters are more square, while Japanese characters have more curves.
Looking at being Polite
In Japan, their culture uses different polite ways of speaking in their grammar for different situations. Keigo is what they call it, and it changes based on how formal they want to be. There are three types of Keigo: honorific, humble, and polite.
In China, they do have polite language, but it is not as complex as in Japanese.
To mitigate the communication barriers and to disseminate information accurately in daily life, you must know the differences between different languages. To know the difference between the Chinese and Japanese languages, you must get assistance from professional translation services.