Hold on! 2000 characters as compared with 26 characters, you mean?
How ignorant. I was going to to post a reply, but I didn't. Instead, I will write it here. Most people learning either Japanese or Chinese should know this. Sorry about my rant, if you are offended.
Chinese characters are more like roots of words. I speak Japanese as my native language and know 5000-6000 Chinese characters since we borrowed the writing system some millennium ago from China. You think thousands of characters are too much for a learner? No. Because once you get a grip of basic 2000 characters, you would automatically be able to understand technical terms that are just combinations of these 2000 characters. That is not the case in English. Science, medical jargon, legal documents,,, all those big words. I probably have memorized more than 12,000 words in English, however, I still have difficulty guessing the meaning of a word that I have never encountered. You need to know some Greek, Latin, French and old English as roots of modern English words. To me, memorizing 2000-3000 characters, each with a basic concept seems far more effective than to learn 10,000 words that are just a random mixture of a bunch of different roots. There are even research papers that state educated young people in English speaking countries have more difficulty to learn technical terms that are afar from their study area than the counterparts in Japan.
I will give you two examples.
rodents = 齧歯類 (ge-sshi-rui)
'Rodere' in Latin means to gnaw. Thus, they are called rodents. Now, I am going to break down the Japanese counterpart 齧歯類.
齧: to gnaw
Even if you didn't know the word 齧歯類, it's easy to guess what kind of creatures they are. Here's another one.
osteoporosis = 骨粗鬆症 (kotsu so shou shou)
粗: sparse (rude, untidy)
In modern English, this ailment should be called 'sparse-bone-symptom', not osteoporosis, and that is exactly how we call it in Japanese with Chinese characters.
I know that 'poro' has something to do with holes, like 'porous'. And now, checking out 'osti-' and 'oste-' in a dictionary, I learned that these prefixes imply bones, however, neither osti- or oste- are in the basic 2000 English words for learners. Japanese kids learn the character 骨 at age 11. By the time a Japanese native speaker graduates from primary school they should have learned around 1000 characters just like these.
To be honest and fair, I don't know what the hell this 鬆(shou) means. I believe this characters is only used in this word....(Now, I checked it out on the web and leaned that it's actually not so uncommon to use 鬆(su) in cooking. I knew it, sort of...)
We, Japanese, have been losing a lot of Chinese characters for the sake of ease of daily use. We limited the number of characters so everyone could read and understand newspaper. Lately, we tend to write phonetic alphabets named kana instead of Chinese characters where the use of kana seemed completely inappropriate, say 30 years ago. I believe all these effort to alleviate the difficulty in Chinese characters will have a negative impact in the future on the contrary to the intention. Young Japanese kids probably can't read 齧る(かじる: to gnaw) , since we restricted the use of the character 齧. It was a bad decision. Just like westerners might think it's difficult to learn these complicated characters, imprudent authorities have restricted these characters and we almost lost them. There are tons of examples. We could easily understand 齧歯類 once before, but now, we write this word like げっ歯類. Who in the hell could guess the sound げっ means かじる(to gnaw)? On surface, it looks easier to read(pronounce), but we are losing something really essential to the language.
Koreans abandoned Chinese characters altogether, and they also lost a lot of vocabulary used to discuss abstract notions and academic problems. I heard that university students cannot read textbooks well other than those written for their own major due to technical jargon specific to the research area. Those words used to be represented in Chinese characters. Similarly, the Japanese language can't stand still without Chinese characters. To sustain it, we can't simply eliminate Chinese characters. It is too late. Probably 1000 years too late. We had lost Japanese words (和語 wago).
Well, the discussion above does not matter. The fact that very few people from the West have this basic understanding of the characteristics of the Asian character makes me shrug. You could spend a couple hours to read a thin introductory book on either Japanese or Chinese while we spend thousands of hours on English.
This is exactly the reason why you have to "learn" foreign languages and cultures as well before dismissing something foreign to you offhand. 2000 vs 26 characters? If you spouted out this ignorant comparison in front of me, I would be totally disgusted and put a bunch of Chineses character stamps into your mouth to shut you up.
I'm not saying learning 2000 characters is easy. I'm just saying that stating that English is easier just because there are only 26 characters is nonsensical.