Russian/Chinese question :-)

Hello there, so here is my situation:
I speak French (native), English (C1), and Japanese (B2/C1) and I am planning to start studying either Russian or Chinese soon.
Within a 9months period, how far can one hope to go with these 2 languages considering my language background, and which language between Russian and Chinese would be the ‘‘easiest’’ for me (the one in which I could reach the highest level in less than a year).
Do you think B1 can be reached within 9months?
I’m really interested in both but I have to pick one for a special program at university.
Thank you for your advices and opinions ! :slight_smile:

B1 in Russian can certainly be archived by a French/English speaker in 9 months even with a rather relaxed learning schedule. Learning Chinese is believed to take several times more time, but I don’t know how big of a factor your knowledge of kanji would be.
The ultimate factor is still which one you “like” more and could imagine yourself diving into. Maybe try starting with both and stay with whatever sticks better or feels more rewarding, challenging or whatever feeling you are after.

I believe B1 in both are possible. English and French will help you a decent bit in Russian because there is quite a bit of similar vocabulary/word roots.

For Chinese, depending on your kanji knowledge, you will be able to pick up Chinese reading rather quickly and be able to get into more authentic content sooner than you would in Russian in my opinion.

For Russian the difficulty would lie in Genders and Pronunciation (which aren’t that bad)

And for Chinese it would mainly be the reading (which depending on your Kanji, you’ll be fine), and the Tones.

To master a foreign language and to get good score at university is not the same. Try to know their requirements for both languages and how they’ll test you.

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Have you seen this thread?

With Chinese, you can open your mouth and communicate sooner, due to simpler grammar (no declension for example), but you will need to engage native speakers to help you produce natural-sounding sentences.

Not everyone finds the tone thing difficult. So don’t be discouraged by accounts of people who find it insurmountable.

Hey, thank you all for your answers (and for the link to the other thread!!) !
For my Kanji, I roughly know 1700-1800 of them…but I’m pretty sure most of them won’t be that usefull for chinese since japanese uses non-modernized characters…
I think I will spend a few days with both russian and chinese and go with the one that sticks the best and I have the more fun with !

I don’t know about Chinese but Russian is also challenging when it comes to producing naturally sounding sentences. I think in any language you have to listen a lot to learn how to express yourself. Simply stating your name, age and profession in Russian is different than in English and unnatural at first. Chinese may be more different of course, but speaking Russian naturally isn’t exactly easy either.

You should read this too:

I have no experience with Chinese but my impression is that while Russian may be harder at first it’s easier in the long run while Chinese may be an eternal exercise in patience. In the end you should of course choose the one that appeals to you the most but it doesn’t hurt to make an informed decision.

I haven’t done Chinese or Russian, but am interested in both–and the answers to this thread.

My assumption is that Russian is easier than Chinese hands-down–especially over the long run–and assuming you are learning them “for real” and not just doing a crash course for a quick travel coming right up.

The other thing that I believe should be clarified is, as always, that language learning is measured in terms of HOURS of study and how much time can be devoted to studying.

Remember, as an example, it took Steve 2-3 years to get to that level in Russian studying an 1-1.5 hours per day. However, it took him only 9-10 months to reach that level in Mandarin because he studied full time at around 8 hours per day.