Question by I’m a noun: How does the chinese or japanese language work?
I’m confused… I’ve heard there are tens of thousands of characters in the Chinese language. I’ve heard that an educated person in Chinese needs to learn around 6000 characters? How is a person supposed to remember over 6000 letters and then use them in words. That sounds crazy! I’m a little confused on how the language is structured. In English there are 26 letters and different combinations make different words, but I’ve heard in Chinese one character can mean a whole word. Also how is Japanese structured? Is it the same as Chinese or is it different.

Best answer:

Answer by Chilli
This is going to confuse you even more. Japanese uses 2 phonetic writing systems (hiragana and katakana). A third system of Chinese characters (kanji) are used in combination with hiragana when writing Japanese words. You must be able to read around 1850-2000 characters in order to read a Japanese newspaper and to be considered literate at a basic level.

Most technical and medical terms in Japanese are written using kanji.

What do you think? Answer below!