I think you guys misunderstood me when I was talking about Japanese being easier to learn than English. It's not just easier for me because I have a Chinese background. In Japanese the sentence structures and conjugation are usually very consistent, and even exceptions follow a set of rules. English and French are a hodgepodge of Latin, Norse, Greek, the Germanic languages, and whatever the rest of the languages contribute in vocabulary. Some of their aspects are downright ridiculous, like the use of capitalization. I took the course with a 3rd-generation Canadian who took Linguistics classes, and apart from the Kanji, he found it to be pretty straightforward. I didn't find the need for immersion when learning Japanese.
Haha I've learned most of my English from reading. I've read countless books from Grade 1 up until Grade 11 (I was an avid reader, and then I got into anime -_-)
I've always enjoyed reading ads (it gave me a critical eye for graphic design) and magazines, and started reading the newspaper in Grade 4.
While Japanese grammar is consistent, it is very different from most European grammar. When learning pretty much any European language the grammar is really similar in terms of structure.
Furthermore I would not at all argue that Japanese grammar is easy to learn. Once you get past the very basics, you'll see that there is some pretty tough stuff. Sure, conjugating is easy, but there are plenty of things that are quite difficult.
I found Spanish grammar a LOT more easy than Japanese, and I got pretty far in Spanish. Additionally, when learning Spanish I could import a lot of words from my English and Dutch vocabulary.
English grammar is simpler than Japanese, in my experience. Exceptions are something you can learn through regular practice, but elementary grammar is more difficult to learn this way.
Languages like English require a good memory. I recall my Grade 9 English teacher telling the class that the English vocabulary of the average Canadian is around 20,000 words, and that it was around 50,000 80 years ago (In comparison, you only need to know at most 2,000 Chinese characters for daily activities). He never mentioned his source, so...
But yeah, English is being butchered. Wish the government would step in and defend it.
Your vocabulary size depends a lot on how much you read, and what you count as 'knowing' a word, and what you count as word. For example, do you count each separate meaning of the word 'bank' as a separate word, or is it just one word? And do you count knowing a word as using it on a regular basis, being able to recall it when necessary, or being able to decipher the meaning when reading it.
If you count hononyms as separate, and only consider recognition vocabulary 50k shouldn't be too hard. It sounds like a loud of bull that vocab has decreased, with exposure to more written text from different cultures it should if anything drastically increase. It all depends on how you count the words.
And if you know 2k Chinese characters, you probably know at least 10k words to form with them. So that's not all that different from English.
Hmmm, if you guys say that Japanese is actually very straightforward, is it easy to learn?
I'm learning German right now and I must tell you that it's a terrible nightmare. There are many rules in the German language but even those rules I really can't make sense for it. Reading a German text for me takes a bloody long time because it's not a fluid and beautiful language, not like French which I'm fluent.
German is tough in terms of conjugation and use of tenses, and because of that relatively difficult to learn. But for Dutch speakers it would be a lot easier, since we share a heap of vocabulary.
As messed up as German seems to be for beginners it's at least more logical than English. At least they have a use for capitalization - to denote all nouns.
Japanese should be easier. I like how you could just change affirmation to negatives just by tacking something on at the end of the sentence. The Kanji would be a huge learning curve for you, though, as there's a stroke order that you need to learn.
I never understood why my Japanese instructor never took some time to explain the basic Kanji strokes in class. Sometimes the Chinese stroke order doesn't carry over into Japanese, even though they may use the same characters.
Stroke order is not something you need to learn at all.
First of all, when do you ever WRITE kanji?
Secondly, if you know the stroke order of 100 kanji, you'll see the patterns. I 'know' the stroke order of pretty much any kanji just by looking at it.