Russian vs. Chinese – Which one is Harder to Learn?



there's always a lot of discussion here on YouTube about which languages are that most difficult to learn is Arabic Chinese Japanese or maybe even Russian well I've learned Chinese and Russian myself Chinese started with Chinese like 10 years ago Russian like 2 years ago so in this video I'm gonna tell you why I think Russian is more difficult to learn than a Mandarin Chinese keep watching hey everyone my name is young vomit and you're watching language boost D channel for your language learning tips tricks and of course motivation now we're gonna do this video in kind of a laid-back format so I have my laptop here with my notes because recently someone tagged me in a discussion of Facebook where a guy wrote I have been I have been studying Chinese for about six years and I must say it's the most frustrating language I ever studied in my life if I could go back in time I don't think that I would I would ever start learning Chinese again now it gives a few reasons for why Chinese is so difficult to learn so the first reason he says the aren't any continents between English and Chinese so that's true if you want to learn Chinese you really have to start from scratch because you're not gonna know you're not gonna be able to recognize any words and it's and what's also true is that it's difficult to learn new words because well if you don't know how to if you don't know the syllables if you don't know how to pronounce the words you know you're not you're not you're not even gonna be able to distinguish the different sounds for example in Chinese you have syllables like Yong Chun Cheung chiu-hung scene it can be very tricky to distinguish these sounds but every syllable has another meaning also depending on the tones which is another problem which I will discuss later in this video so he says yeah pronunciation is hell you can learn worth 10 times and then sometimes they're still not gonna be able to understand you I always do recommend someone he wants to learn Chinese to really start with the basics to really find a good teacher who helps you agree to teach you how to position your mouth and your tongue because if you're not gonna be able to pronounce all the syllables properly yeah then you have a big chance of quite a high chance that native speakers at the Chinese not going to be able to understand you a Russian it's a little bit easier pronunciation is a little bit more straightforward of course you have a few sounds which are pretty tricky like for example this this tea is not tea but more like tea and again my Russian isn't it's far from perfect actually I'm so struggling to hold conversation but these are just a few observations that I made yeah so pronunciation in Russian is much easier in Chinese if your native language is well English or any other European language I would say of course you have to learn how to roll your are a Russian which can be tricky for me this was one of the biggest pain points in Russian pronunciation then he says passive listening hasn't helped much I commute to work for a long time every day which means that I have a lot of time to listen to Chinese podcast and courses but even after doing that for 5 years almost every day I still don't understand much well I think the price is a problem that people have when learning a foreign language in general I think is always very important you know I think a mistake that many people make when when they want to learn a foreign language to say ok I want to learn German then I just listen to the radio in German or just watch German television but if you are a beginner you're not gonna be able to understand anything at least your ear gets used to the German sound in this case but you're not you're not really going to be able to to pick up new words because it's so called uncompensated input it's not comprehensible you don't understand what's going on if you don't understand what's going on you cannot learn new words so you need either to read along with the transcript or you need to listen to very simple content you should at least be able to understand like 80 or 90% so I think this is a problem not just for Russian also for Chinese is both very difficult now he says that when you learn there's many people who say that in Chinese you don't have any grammar well you do have you do have grammar in Chinese the thing is that is not very clear what the grammar rules are so if you're learning Chinese as a beginner it's pretty straightforward you don't conjugate the verbs you just learn a few words you put them in a write over and you have a correct sentence but if you get to the more advanced stages like word all us sometimes can be tricky although when talking about grammar I well this is really the most difficult thing about learning Russian and I'm gonna give you a few examples if you want to say I I want to go to school for example in Russian you say I want yet you have to conjugate the verb to ones I want to go but which to go in Russian have lots of words for verbs of motion as they call them so are you going on food are you going by vehicle are you just going or is it a habit are you is it a routine are you going and are you coming back so based on if you're coming back or the vehicle you travel with you have to pick the right verb and then a Russian you have a thing which is called like perfective and imperfecta verb it's a little bit complicated I'm not gonna explain in this video what the difference is but what this means is basically in Russian you have two verbs for every verb and then depending on if you put the stress on the process or on the result yeah you have to use one verb or the or it's a bit tricky I'm not gonna explain it in this video but yeah so back to the example I want to go to school I want you have to conjugate once then you have to you have to pick the right verb for to go as many possibilities here to go to school it's not school as Skol but to school it's a case school okay so these are all the grammar decisions they need to make or grammar points you need to keep in to your account when making a simple sentence like I want to go to school now in Chinese it's just I once go school and you have a sentence that's it no grammar just if you know the words put them in the right order and that's it as I said if you reach more advanced level in Chinese it gets a little bit more complicated and so one might say that there is very little grammar in Chinese as I said Chinese grammar can be very blurring it's not always clear if I want to make a sentence like how do you say that in English like if I had known that I would not have gone right in Russian you have a very clear you have very clear grammar rules about how you make a sentence like this but in Chinese it's not very clear in Chinese they might something say something like words also dull which orbit route which literally means I only know then I not go you know so if you are a Chinese learner and you hear this sentence you know you might understand every single word might not be able to to find out what this person means because there's a lack of grammar it's so much simplified that it can have many that a certain phrase can have many meanings and this can be very tricky in Chinese at the later stages but again as a beginner I think that of course if you learn Chinese you need to be able to to pronounce the syllables clearly you need to know of course how to use the tones but once you know that I think it's pretty straightforward and you just put the words in the right order and voila you have a sentence while a Russian you can literally make five mistakes in a very simple sentence and then of course there is the writing system in Russian you have this relic alphabet which is pretty easy to learn you can learn it in you know well if you're really good in an hour but otherwise in a day maybe a few days and then you know getting comfortable with the Russian oven but takes a little bit longer but in China and in Chinese of course they use Chinese characters and learning the characters really takes a lot of time Chinese characters can be a pain in the ass for people who want to learn Chinese but I always say you know just focus on the spoken language and on pinyin I think that pinyin is super important to learn so this is basically the Chinese like the romanized system to write Chinese if you want to write me how you don't write which means hello of course you don't write the Chinese characters but you just write me how and I age hey oh and there you have it you know so pinyin is like the writing system that often foreigners use to learn to learn Chinese and if you know the pinyin very well in theory you should also you can also know how a certain words is pronounced so I do think that's very important and then the characters you know if if you're really interested in the characters I do think it makes sense to learn to recognize them so that you can read Chinese and also type Chinese because if you type Chinese either on your phone off on your or on your keyboard you need to know the pinyin and then you just type the pinyin you select the character and then you can basically type Chinese and this is doable I think you can you can learn this pretty easily of course like writing all the Chinese characters behind is this is another another skill set which can take up until years so my advice if you're not obsessed by Chinese characters just focus on the spoken language and on the pinyin if you really like it and later on you can learn a care just but otherwise it can be too overwhelming in the beginning okay yeah so writing and reading is more difficult in Chinese and then Russian it's about the spoken language I think is much easier to get started in Chinese okay then he also complains that our two writing system Chinese you have simplified and you have the traditional script which is still used in Taiwan and Hong Kong yeah and then another thing is that in Russian are basically no major dialects right so if you go to Moscow to Vladivostok or to Astana in Kazakhstan or Almaty yes there are there's almost you almost cannot hear the difference which is pretty amazing I'm from the Netherlands a small country but if I go to the next town which is like 15 kilometers further they can already hear that I'm not from that town Russia they don't have this problem so if you understand Russian if you can speak it you know you're not gonna you're not gonna have any problems with dialects or accents in Chinese in China and Mandarin is often not the language that people grew up with their native languages are often that vile acts and yes almost everyone speaks Mandarin but some of them have very thick accents like someone from Beijing can be very difficult to understand for like someone who speaks real real like Beijing dialect Beijing hua can be really tricky to understand actually I do not understand much of it and then you know accidents can be really strong I still remember talking to to Grandma of a Chinese friend of me who who comes from Hunan Hunan Province really a hard time to understand it in Russia you're not gonna have this problem then he also says that travelling to China requires a visa so it's difficult to just go there practice your Chinese is the same problem in Russia we need in most countries need most mass Western countries need a visa to visit Russia as well and year he ends the article by saying that I think I could have learned three or four languages in the same time that I learned Chinese and I think that's true and a thing that it's the same for Russian Chinese are Russian are both very different and are both very difficult to learn for someone who has English as a native language on Dutch or German or any other European language is very different very little similarities and yes I also do think that it's just as difficult to learn French Italian Spanish and I don't know and Portuguese then learning just China only Chinese or Russian which one is more difficult in my opinion is Russian because as a beginner you can really make 10 mistakes in one sentence and it's really difficult to get started and use write grammar in Chinese you have to master the tones and the pronunciation but then you just put the words in the right order and you can actually start talking understanding advanced Chinese is very difficult I do listen to like speeches of Si Jing ping the Chinese president and also like a flat amir putin and put in i mean although my russian although my chinese is much better than my russian i do understand almost as much of a presidental presidential speech because i haven't no in chinese they use all these expressions and all these difficult words and my chinese i would say it's pretty good i'm pretty fluent but I completely lost a in a speech like that while in Russian those difficult words often the same as an English or a lesson based language so it's easier to pick up those difficult words ok now there was a lot of information I hope this has given you an interesting perspective and insight um well in these two languages basically let me know what you think what are your experiences learning Chinese or Russian what I am frustrations do you agree with everything that I said in this video do you think man this guy well then you're free to leave your comments in the comment section below thanks for watching and see you soon hero language boost ciao ciao da svidaniya and bye bye Satya

46 thoughts on “Russian vs. Chinese – Which one is Harder to Learn?”

  1. As a native Ru speaker, learning mandarin right now (4th language), I have to say, whole Asian language groups are plain headache at the beginning and has no bottom.
    But fun fact: the more I learning foreign languages, the more I become to value my native.
    Russian language has 2 distinct features, that makes it so special: extremely flexibility and freedom of expression combines with complex grammar.

    In terms of learning, Russian is no any difficult than any other Slavic language, they are more or less the same.
    It may be difficult to begin if you are used to strict Germanic-language family, but then it is just as any other European language.

    Still, there is one obstacle: Ru is really hard to master.
    If only you are not polyglot-genius, we always can distinct those whom Russian is native and others.

  2. What you mentioned about the third conditional in Mandarin probably has to do with the fact that it's a language spoken in a so called "high context culture". To a certain degree, Russian is also a high context language as the word order changes based on the mood and emotional state of the speaker. I'm a native speaker of another Slavic language, and we also change the word order however we deem appropriate to express how we feel as opposed to Germanic languages, which are considered low context since sentences follow an exact word order.

  3. Russian is still an Indo-European language. It should be an easier language to learn for Europeans compared to Sinic languages.

  4. Hello I’m Korean and I lived in different countries resulting in me speaking Chinese / French / Russian (having lived in Beijing – Paris – now Moscow)

    I am still struggling and Russian is harder. To master basic Chinese seems much easier to master while Russian … too many verb forms depending on the subject / gender / pronouns …

  5. I usually like to watch some foreigner teaching Chinese . That I can understand what they think about my language. that's quite fun.

  6. Everything you said in this video was stressing out how much Mandarin is much more difficult than Russian in every aspect, but the conclusion was the opposite… That was really confusing and it was hard to understand why… And all you said was assuming that one is not going to take on learning characters (which is a bit unrealistic, I wonder how many people are willing to spend tons of hours learning such a hard language tolerating they'll never be able to read anything in it…).
    Said that, congrats for your achievements in 10 years of Chinese and 2 of Russian!
    Keep it up! Cheers!

  7. Русский на самом деле сложный. Но в отличии от японского и китайских языков он имеет свои преимущества и более лёгкие моменты в изучении. (Хотя многое на самом деле сложно)
    P. S. Я – русская.

  8. Another level of complexity of Russian language is that it is very contextual language.For example, ball is red. Russian would say, мяч красный… "is" in this Russian sentence is presumed and meant as мяч есть красный… It is just one example. Russians very often omit words in the sentences because those are clear from the context of the conversation or printed text.

  9. My first language is Spanish then English. I learned when I was 13-14. So I am equality fluent in both. In college I took one semester of French and I'm able to understand with French subtitles. Two years ago I started learning Russian on my own, I'm 54 now, and I totally agree about conjugation and cases. There were times that I thought, why in the world am I doing this to myself? Spanish and French conjugate verbs as well so that was not new for me. Russian doesn't conjugate in past but we do in Spanish. Russians learning Spanish find the conjugation difficult. Plus we have in many cases several words for a single thing.

  10. 🇯🇵🇫🇷🇯🇵🇫🇷🇫🇷🇯🇵🇫🇷🇫🇷🇨🇦🇨🇦🇯🇵🇯🇵🇫🇷🇫🇷🇯🇵🇯🇵🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵🇫🇷🇫🇷🇯🇵🇨🇦🇨🇦🇯🇵🇯🇵🇫🇷🇯🇵🇫🇷🇯🇵🇨🇦🇰🇷🇫🇷🇯🇵🇨🇦🇰🇷🇫🇷🇯🇵🇨🇦🇰🇷🇫🇷🇯🇵🇨🇦🇰🇷🇫🇷🇯🇵🇨🇦🇰🇷🇫🇷🇯🇵🇨🇦🇰🇷🇫🇷🇯🇵🇨🇦🇰🇷🇫🇷🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵🇨🇦🇰🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷

  11. Imparari cinese e russo da solo o all'universita?

    I'm still learning Italian myself, sorry lol

  12. Hey i speak traditional Chinese and I want to learn Russian, who wanna exchange language and be each other’s teacher?

  13. You can communicate perfectly in Russian without using any of the declensions. Advice: learn Russian vocab! as much as possible. memorize survival phrases first, then move on to longer sentences. They will understand you if you don't add the feminine locative case in your speaking. Only study grammar if you need to pass a university exam or some such academic thing.

  14. I know Mandarin and English, which language is easier for learning Russian? I want to know because I'm thinking about buying some books to learn Russian.

  15. Russian is not that difficult. I've been studying it for 9 weeks, and I can already have a decent conversation. I am terrible at the grammar though.

  16. I’m Chinese, I can speak English and now I study in Russian, recently I perpare to pass the exam B2, so I know the difficulties of learning a foreign language

  17. russian is easy to understand and that means a lot. of course you will spent lots of time polishing it but its fine. if you speak few european languages you already know around 2000 words in russian and that counts for something. learning to read russian can take up to a week if you are slow thinker like me. so there is no comparison here. i have learned chinese for 2 month and couldn't understand much of what they were saying in the movies and stuff. maybe 2 to 5 percent. it is supper hard. i think its almost impossible speak it without making effort. Jan was it you who recommended a web page for chinese series with subtitles? thank you in advance.

  18. I'm studying both at the same time. I agree with everything you say! I realised with the chinese characters that you can learn the passively without any problems. To actively, write them down on a piece of paper is another universe. Thank god we type today so with the piying system typing on a computer, or mobil phone is easy 很方便!

  19. Clearly and unfortunately this Chinese learner is going about it the wrong way.
    With Chinese, u need good structure. If u do things randomly, yes, you'll be mega frustrated. However, if u structure it well, you'll be surprised at how doable it is to be speaking within a year.
    I've been studying 12 months and it's been going well. I strongly suggest that one mostly use good study courses with lots of AUDIO and be very thorough in grasping the sounds and tones. Keep listening and verbally repeating the words with SLOWED down audio, over and over.

    Also, try to accumulate around 1000 words of vocab then try to have easy chats and keep progressing that way. If u follow a similar approach and can devote about 2 hrs a day to study, it's very doable to have a decent intermediate spoken level of Chinese in 16 months.
    Don't ignore getting pronunciation/tones down well and you should be focused on at least 85% comprehensible audio.

    I met some American missionaries here in the U.S, working with the Chinese community and 12 months into it, they were speaking fluently at an intermediate level.

  20. I have studied both Russian and Chinese and completely agree with this. I am much better at Russian than Chinese, however it was easier to remember and say words. The grammar in Chinese is pretty easy in comparison, and they say things more simply. In Russian things are always complex.

  21. Russian: Хочу (I want)…
    German: Gesundheit!
    Using the accusative for "to school" and a different case for "in school" Is common to several Indo-European languages, including Latin, German, and Ancient Greek as well as Russian. It is not in Modern English or Modern Greek, as the other case in both languages was the dative, which merged with the accusative in English and fell out of use in Greek.

  22. I have been learning Russian for about a year now. Russian cases and verbs' aspects are not easy to learn! Изучать русский язык очень сложно! 如果你想学好中文,必须要学会运用正确的成语!

  23. I heard that more westerners learn Mandarin for A.I robotic. Is that true ? Does Mandarin language make a choice faster based on its shorter way to express it ?

  24. My motivation for learning particular languages is often aesthetic. To me, Russian sounds poetic (Swahili, too). Despite it's difficulty, I love the Japanese writing system. I like the Korean and Japanese grammars. I like the intonation patterns when I hear Koreans speak informally. The spelling of French words fascinates me. I like the rhythm of German. And so forth.

    My problem is that I haven't discovered the beauty of Mandarin Chinese yet. Every language has it. But, oddly, the pronunciation and tones of Cantonese feel more natural to me than those of Mandarin. In one podcast episode ("#151. Why am I still a beginner?"), Olly Richards told me that I need to spend more time with the language in order to get used to it. But the more I listen (even to easy, beginner podcasts from ChineseClass101, as well as to natural, native speech on TV/movies/radio/YouTube etc.), the less I like the language. That's my struggle with Mandarin. Once I get past this problem, I'll probably find it in some ways easier to learn than the other languages. But it's a difficult problem for me now.

    My Russian was going well last year–I was close to reaching a B1 conversational level–but my various italki tutors corrected me too much and I lost confidence in my ability to learn it. So I stopped learning Russian for a year, and now I've finally got enough courage to start learning it again.

    Affective (i.e. emotional) barriers are a big factor in what I consider easy or difficult to learn. If my motivation is lost in some way, even an easy language can be really difficult.

    (deleted and posted again to eliminate argument with troll)

  25. Hi. You didn’t mention a super interesting aspect of Russian. You can put words in the sentence in almost any order. Like:
    • Я пошёл в магазин (normal academic plain variant).
    • Я в магазин пошёл.
    • Пошёл я в магазин.
    • В магазин пошёл я (a bit of Yoda style, but still correct in some cases).

    It gives your speech more colors and depth, but grammatically they all are correct.

    Super advantage)

  26. "Ты" that you pronounce on 2:57 sounds perfect as if it were pronounced by a russian native speaker. I wouldn't tell the difference, but another one on 3:00 isn't that good but still close) Sorry for my English)

  27. I agree. Russian is much harder because of its grammar, especially verb aspects. I don't have a problem with trilling Rs because of Spanish. Verb prefixes can even change the meaning of words. With Mandarin it's just 4 tones and thousands of characters, sometimes word order.

  28. maybe being Italian I wouldn't have much problems rolling the Russian R right? Probably the only advantage though

  29. Hey love your videos and really admire your resilience with languages. Ive got a bit of a language learning SOS. I have studied French and German and this year at uni Ive picked to study Mandarin and Russian to around A1 level at the same time for the first semester so 3 months. I know its maybe not the smartest idea but I want to see how far I can get! They are both taught through books and classes. If you (or anyone reading this) have any advice I would really appreciate it 🙂 good luck!!

  30. I can see why you are putting Russian higher when it comes to level of difficulty although for me it is a slightly different case. I am originally from Poland so Russian seems not to be that hard because I am used to the hard grammar rules and also it often sounds very similar to Polish so I am able to understand much of it without trying. Learning the cyrillic alphabet back in the high school years was not as hard as I thought before. With Chinese, it is a struggle for me to memorise the characters, however I am aiming to do that, not only to learn pinyin and the pronunciation. Even Hebrew feels easier for me than Chinese in terms of the letters to be honest. I have studied Chinese for about half a year with a Taiwanese teacher while living in Berlin and I feel like I know about nothing. With languages like Spanish or German after half a year I was able to say many things and be like B1 so that is a huge difference but I am not giving up. What I do not like though is choosing and waiting with the next language to learn.

  31. hello, my name is Alex, I'm from russia and am studying English. if you want to exchange the experience of learning languages, then call me
    my skype knopozka23
    my twitter https://twitter.com/AlexAlex20162
    facebook
    https://m.facebook.com/profile.php

  32. Действительно, это предложение про школу можно сказать ЧЕТЫРЬМЯ способами
    – Я хочу пойти в школу
    – Я хочу сходить в школу
    – Я хочу поехать в школу
    – Я хочу съездить в школу

  33. I did not start chinese yet but what I can say about Russian, learning it now 2 1/2 years almost daily is, that Russia doesn't get easier .. I hear often that German gets easier on a certain intermediate level.. whatsoever, as a non slavic native Russian is constantly difficult also on an intermediate/advanced level 😀

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