Japanese word for Japan: 日本 – Pronounced “Ni-hon”

(…which, as we just discussed, is a noun, and written the same as in Chinese.)

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So, which one is the hardest language? 

That really depends on your background. Korean has the easiest writing system by far, which can be learned in a weekend. Mandarin has the easiest grammar: if you translate “I eat rice” word-for-word, your translation is correct, and there are no honorifics. Japanese has so many loaned terms from English, that helps make it easier to remember words, especially when you are just learning. Meanwhile, Korean grammar is likely the hardest, while tones in Mandarin are notoriously difficult for native English speakers to hear, and Japanese is the fastest spoken language in the world at over 7 syllables per second. However, due to the sheer volume of English speakers who want to learn Mandarin or Japanese, there are more resources for those languages. From that practical standpoint, learners might find that the hardest language to learn of the three is Korean. Whichever you choose to learn, knowing one will inevitably help you with another the same way speaking German helps you learn French – not much, but a foundation is always good to have.

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