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How well does RTK transfer to chinese?

#1
So say I finish RTK, and get decently fluent in Japanese. For those of you who also happen to study/speak chinese, how difficult would it be to learn written chinese after? I know there is RTH, but if I've already done RTK, is it at all necessary?
Edited: 2013-01-06, 5:05 pm
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#2
I plan to do mandarin after learning japanese as well. I'd say mandarin and japanese are two different languages all together. They're like apples and oranges. I find that the only thing similar is that a lot of the kanji have more or less the same meaning in Chinese though some are very different.

I think it would be redundant to do RTH after RTK. However, I think it would be useful to go over the hanzi that haven't been covered in RTK and whatever new primitives that appear in RTH. gdaxman prepared a large RTK/RTH spreadsheet to compare the two and you can sort the columns to show the characters that are different and not covered in RTK. He mentions it in this thread: http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?tid=9657

In hanzi.koohii.com you can add only the hanzi that you want to study. Which will cut out stuff you already know from RTK. based on gdaxman there are about 700 hanzi characters that are different or not covered in RTK. If you were to go that route I don't think it would be any more difficult or different than studying RTK. It's the same thing just gotta trudge on a little bit more. RTH only covers about 3000 hanzi anyway. You'd need to learn at least double that to read newspapers and such.

language, they're completely different languages. Grammar, vocabulary, pronounciation etc. Practical Audio Visual Chinese vol 1-4 has gotten the best reviews I've seen, but not the 5th volume.

That said I would also like to hear other people's experience with learning chinese after RTK as well. Smile
Edited: 2013-01-06, 6:02 pm
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#3
I took a year of Chinese for fun after doing RTK and I did really well in it. (I was learning traditional Chinese, since I find it more similar to kanji) We used Integrated Chinese Level 1 Parts 1-2 (3rd ed) in class. imo, I don't really think going through RTH is necessary, if you've done RTK. Anyway, I had a much easier time in beginning Chinese than I did in beginning Japanese for a couple of reasons:

1. I was using SRS for vocab right from the start.
2. Instead of learning hanzi one by one all I had to do was remember how it differed from kanji. Ex: instead of 属 it's 屬, 壊 it's 壞, etc.
3. Learning Chinese was helping me remember things for Japanese. Ex: Before, I always wrote kawaii as かわいい, but now its kanji is easy to remember from the hanzi 可愛.
4. Some words sound similar. Ex: 図書館 and 圖書館.

Of course, the grammar is different. Some vocab is, too. For example, Chinese 湯 means soup, not hot water like お湯. Also, I'm terrible at differentiating tones, so I still suck at listening comprehension & speaking. =/
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JapanesePod101
#4
I started Reading the Hanzi after RTK, but found it wasn't necessary. There are a few more characters to learn, but not many, and some new usages. There's a list somewhere, if you're interested, of the characters not in RTK 1 but in RTH 1..
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#5
I did half of RTK while studying Japanese a few years ago, then i switched tracks and did a few years of Chinese in university. Having been exposed to about 1000 Chinese characters going through RTK, I found it really easy to remember most of the characters I came across. I thought about doing RTH but after experiencing success with just a basic kanji background, I figured it would be a bit of a waste of time. My biggest problem now is finding the time in the day to work on both languages to my hearts content.
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#6
Oh, I forgot to mention, but if you're decent at Japanese (not just RTK) you can use a whole new wealth of Chinese learning materials (written for native Japanese speakers). Take a look at a basic grammar video from kaeru-life and see how much you can understand: 基本の文法を学ぼう
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#7
From what I've read, Chinese has way more kanji that Japanese.
I read an article that said you need to learn 3000-3500 kanji for daily use.
For professional writing, you need to learn 7000 kanji.

So I don't think RTK would be enough, but it would be a great start.
So maybe you do need RTH. Also, i don't think all the kanji necessarily have the same meaning.

7000 kanji sounds terrifying, but when I took Chinese class for a semester, there was normally only one sound per kanji (as opposed to the many onyomi/kunyomi per character in Japanese).
Edited: 2013-01-09, 8:58 am
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#8
Frequency studies on Chinese texts actually produce results very close to what you get for Japanese texts. 7000 is likely to be a gross overestimate of the same type that results in people claiming you need 5000 kanji to read Japanese or 15000 to read "classical" stuff. Maybe 7000 represents the number of kanji used in every piece of writing published in China, but obviously you wouldn't need to know 100% of those.

When you think about it, there's really no reason why Chinese would use vastly more kanji than Japanese. Chinese has to use some kanji to cover grammatical elements that would be represented in kana in Japanese, but there certainly aren't thousands of those, and many of them are already used in other ways (e.g. 了, 譲, 被). There's not a complete overlap in the common kanji in Japanese and Chinese because of different usage patterns (e.g. 我 is the standard "I" in Chinese, which makes it used far more often than Japanese), but there seem to be a fairly close correlation in the numbers.
Edited: 2013-01-09, 9:15 am
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#9
yudantaiteki Wrote:Frequency studies on Chinese texts actually produce results very close to what you get for Japanese texts. 7000 is likely to be a gross overestimate of the same type that results in people claiming you need 5000 kanji to read Japanese or 15000 to read "classical" stuff. Maybe 7000 represents the number of kanji used in every piece of writing published in China, but obviously you wouldn't need to know 100% of those.

When you think about it, there's really no reason why Chinese would use vastly more kanji than Japanese. Chinese has to use some kanji to cover grammatical elements that would be represented in kana in Japanese, but there certainly aren't thousands of those, and many of them are already used in other ways (e.g. 了, 譲, 被). There's not a complete overlap in the common kanji in Japanese and Chinese because of different usage patterns (e.g. 我 is the standard "I" in Chinese, which makes it used far more often than Japanese), but there seem to be a fairly close correlation in the numbers.
I got that 7000 kanji number from here:
http://www.italki.com/answers/question/1...O2HlInjmXN

The guy who responded is from China, speaks English and Japanese, and is learning Russian, French, Vietnamese, and Japanese.

He said that 3000-3500 kanji cover 95% of general daily-use writing.
To read more specialized text, 7000 may be necessary.

Here are opinions from another page (http://www.hanzim.com/hanzi.php):

Number of Characters

One of the most common questions about Chinese characters is how many there are. The answer depends on what you want to consider a character. If you mean all the characters that have ever been used during the `modern' period (regular script onwards), there are about 60,000. However, the vast majority of these are no longer used, and many were only ever used in very special circumstances, such as the name for one particular place or person. Most estimates place the total number of `viable' characters at from 10,000-15,000. But in fact, modern printers are able to get by with between 7,000 and 9,000 type-pieces, even for specialized material, making 7,000 an approximate upper limit for complete literacy. A typical book contains about 2,500-3,000 different characters, and children are taught 2,500 in elementary school and an additional 1,000 in middle school. A person with a college education might know 5,000. Frequency counts show that knowing the 2,500 most frequent characters suffices to recognize 99% of those that one comes across (in newspapers and non-specialist literature).


It doesn't sound unreasonable to me.
According to the above, Chinese children are taught 3500 kanji by middle school.
Edited: 2013-01-09, 10:48 am
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#10
As far as I can tell from people who actually study and produce numbers, the 7000 figure is far too high. Something closer to Japanese is far more commonly quoted. I actually am not interested in the opinion of some person, however intelligent, unless he's done the work of analyzing texts.
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#11
One important factor is that most Chinese publications don't use any sort of phonetic guide like furigana in Japanese, so it's more important to know the rare, seldom used characters when they do pop up.
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#12
I've actually just started studying Mandarin and I'm making wicked progress. I've got N1 for Japanese, can read novels and such know roughly 3000 ~ 3500 kanji i'd say. Seriously... if you have that much knowledge it actually makes learning Chinese so much easier.

I knew Chinese and Japanese had a lot of shared vocab but I'm continually being surprised at how much. So that's one aspect that makes things easier. Secondly, hanzi only have 1 yomikata (there's actually 500 that have 2 and 12 that have 3 but that's it)... so learning to read Chinese is (if you know kanji already) MUCH easier than learning to read Japanese.

I also think 7000 is too high... for every day life at least. 7000 I think would be that level where you can pick up any novel you want and pretty much not be able to find something you don't know... plus hanzi have a very strong system of "radical + phonetic component" much more so than Japanese which has phonetic component only sometimes... so you can often guess the reading (minus the tone) enough to look it up in a dictionary.
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#13
Mezbup, I've been pretty impressed with how well you learned Japanese, and I'm just judging that from your blog posts--especially getting to really advanced levels without actually living in Japan. Would you care to update your user study methods entry at some point with the benefit of hindsight and experience?
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#14
7000 is absurd. 3000 is perfectly adequate to read a newspaper (even in Taiwan or Hong Kong, where the newspapers are written at a higher level), or a scholarly book, or what-have-you. I don't think I know much more than 3000, and I do just fine. There comes a point at which learning new characters isn't very important, because you'll always come across some that you don't know. Native speakers do all the time. That's what dictionaries are for.

If you've been through RTK, that's more than enough to get started actually learning the language, and you can pick up new characters easily as you go along. You ought to be more concerned with learning the words more than the characters, though.

All that being said, Taiwanese students generally learn some 5,500 characters before graduating high school. Many of those will only ever appear in their 國文 textbooks, but I'd still say that might be a good estimate of what full, native-level literacy in Chinese requires. Not many people will ever achieve a well-educated native speaker's ability to read Classical Chinese, though. It's too much work, and not "practical" enough, for most people to see the point.

Quote:Secondly, hanzi only have 1 yomikata (there's actually 500 that have 2 and 12 that have 3 but that's it).
Where did you get this information? I'm pretty sure there are more than just 12 characters with more than two possible pronunciations. Of course, the situation still isn't anything like in Japanese.
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#15
Irixmark Wrote:Mezbup, I've been pretty impressed with how well you learned Japanese, and I'm just judging that from your blog posts--especially getting to really advanced levels without actually living in Japan. Would you care to update your user study methods entry at some point with the benefit of hindsight and experience?
Thanks. Yeah, I'm actually planning on doing a detailed write of the different strategies I used throughout various stages of the learning process.

bflatnine Wrote:
Quote:Secondly, hanzi only have 1 yomikata (there's actually 500 that have 2 and 12 that have 3 but that's it).
Where did you get this information? I'm pretty sure there are more than just 12 characters with more than two possible pronunciations. Of course, the situation still isn't anything like in Japanese.
You're absolutely right! I did a very quick search a little while and ago (was unable to re dig up the source) which said things to that effect. So was just going off that.

Though, I was searching for it just now and found some useful information. In Chinese they're actually called 多音字 and I found a Japanese site http://dokochina.com/duoyinzi.htm which lists some (definitely more than 12 with 3!) and also found a pdf containing about 240 多音字 at http://www.ccss.edu.hk/playground/22/%B1...%C4%FD.pdf

I think the number of 多音字 that exist gets quoted based on a few different things actually. For example, sometimes Hanzi outside the HSK might not get counted so it's lower than it would be otherwise. I didn't manage to find a definitive number through my search though... but pdf looks fairly good.

At any rate... it's far nicer than Japanese! Though I prefer the way Japanese looks visually with kana as well.
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#16
There won't be a definitive number, because they're not even sure how many characters are in existence. Not only that, but do you count multiple possible pronunciations in classical literature too? So 說 can be shuō, shuì, and yuè (at the very least). And how about the 通假字? Well then 魚 needs to have wú added as a possibility, because it was sometimes borrowed for 吾 because their pronunciation was identical or nearly so at one point. 邦 and 封 can also borrow each others' readings for the same reason, and so on. At some point you realize it just isn't possible to count.

Besides that, not counting characters outside the HSK list sounds pretty stupid to me, to be honest. That's a very limited subset, sort of a bare-minimum requirement for learners to measure basic competency in modern Chinese, rather than any useful measurement of what Chinese is actually like, as used by native speakers. In my experience such standardized language tests rarely represent the actual language anyway, but rather an idealized, simplified version of it made by educators (or in China, made by communist propagandists), reflecting their bias of how they wish the language was.

It isn't any better in Taiwan, mind you, it's just a different bias (specifically from the KMT, it's "let's preserve the way Mandarin was spoken 50 years ago," and native speakers recognize the style immediately).
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#17
I didn't know where else to post this, and I don't feel like registering on the Chinese version of the koohii forum just for this...

Quote:The General Purpose Normalized Hanzi List (通用规范汉字表) (in development since 2001) was released by the 国务院 (State Council) of China on June 5, 2013. The List contains 8105 Hanzi characters (2009 draft had 8300; 195 were removed from Level Three) classified to 3 levels.

* Level One: 3,500 characters, for elementary education and culture
popularization.
* Level Two: 3,000 characters, lower using frequency (than Level One).
* Level Three: 1,605 characters, names of persons and places, characters used in sciences and technologies (which are not involved in Level One and Two).
http://politics.people.com.cn/n/2013/081...20090.html (96 MB, non-searchable PDF)

Some of the characters from Level Three aren't even in Unicode yet...

Here's Level One: http://pastebin.com/gGPCH7gf
Here's Level Two: http://pastebin.com/ASa2sV9E (there are several lists floating on the internet, but all are incorrect with missing/wrong characters - except this one)

Also relevant:
http://www.yellowbridge.com/chinese/topchars.php

Joyo and RTK coverage of Simplified Chinese: http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?p...#pid206334
Edited: 2014-04-25, 5:26 pm
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