Should I start with Japanese or Mandarin?

I think I managed to get very comfortable with German structures and vocabulary, so I would like to begin a new language from scratch.
I think that it would be nice to learn an Asian language. I’m only acquainted with European languages. I don’t know whether it would be better to start with mandarin or Japanese.

My problem is as follows. Eventually I would like to learn both. As far as I know, it is far easier to learn Mandarin first, and then Japanese. So, according to this, I should learn Mandarin first.

But, I don’t really know anything about the Chinese culture. And I really like the culture of Japan, because I love to watch anime, and I have been listening the language for years (although without understanding it)

What would you suggest?
I would appreciate to read your opinions on this matter.

Seems to me that you are more interested in Japanese at the moment, so I would go for that.


That was my gut feeling too. Adiaz, forget about what is easier for moment. Ask what is more interesting to you right now and what you’d like to get started on right now. Asian langauges are a long haul so make sure you’re really into the language you’re thinking about.

I was at kind of the same point two years ago and decided to learn Mandarin - although I knew kind of the same about both cultures.
In terms of learning characters it seems easier to learn them from a chinese point of view.

Thank you for the answers. By the way, I would like to ask if you know whether the content that Lingq currently has is better suited to learn Mandarin or Japanese.

Oh Lingq is definitely easier with Chinese. Japanese and Korean sentence structure can be tricky with lingq as the machine translations often times are difficult.


And yes, for my third point, don’t worry about difficulty or usefulness.

I recommended reading up on Chinese culture, checking out some forms of Chinese entertainment and see if anything happens to really grab you and excite you about learning the language. If Japanese still feels more exciting to you in your gut, go with that.

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Also, learning both languages helps significantly in reading the other. I don’t think the order matters. But I would choose Japanese since it seems like your motivation is based emotion, while your motivation for Chinese is more based on logic. For me, emotion is always a much more powerful motivator than logic. (Though having a logical reason to learn a language isn’t completely un-useful).

“And I really like the culture of Japan, because I love to watch anime…” …

You should begin with Japanese.
Interest plays a big role in being a motivator to learn.

What do you mean? I didn’t say that it was a mirror of Japan or anything like that. And I did became acquainted with many aspects of their culture by watching anime.

Or do you mean anything else by your comment?

That is an interesting point. And it is not easy to decide whether one should follow logic or emotion.