8 In Korean learning journey (:

Language Aptitude

Recently, I have been thinking about the issue of language aptitude. As some of you might know, I’m a linguistics major and we covered  this topic during one of our lessons not long ago. It seems like some people are better language learners than others (I’m talking about learning a language after you have acquired your native one) and that some people seem to have an aptitude for learning languages. My prof commented that I have this aptitude. and I’m secretly pleased hahahahaha 😀

So, is this language aptitude (if it does exist) general or only to specific languages? Came across a post by Suddenlykorean who talks about different aptitudes for the different languages she’s learning. Pretty interesting, and it got me thinking about my own aptitude. I had a Japanese level 1 listening test today, which was a disaster. The tape was sooooo fast and I wondered how much I’ve actually absorbed :/ None of that Jap-drama watching helped ):

On the other hand, Korean listening has always been a breeze for me and I have no trouble with materials that were supposedly my standard. I think I lack the aptitude for Japanese :/

Personally, no matter how many languages I learn, none will ever take over the place Korean has in my heart. I would never find the same passion and love for another language. I don’t know how others feel, but Korean never felt like a foreign language to me. This is especially so after I have returned back from the short trip to Korea.

That’s why I envy people like Hyunwoo Sun, who is fluent in so many languages!!! >,< I can never be a polyglot.

I’m really interested in how you view the foreign languages that you are learning right now. ^^ Do share your experiences 😀

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  • Reply
    30 November, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    I feel the exact same way! ^^
    I feel like language aptitude definitely exists.
    I started learning Korean a little over two years ago and my goal to become fluent is greater than ever.
    Then last semester I took Chinese. (they don’t offer Korean at my school).
    I noticed that I wasn’t really didn’t have the passion to learn it. And when I did, it was because I challenged myself to translate from Chinese to Korean! Haha
    Korean doesn’t seem like a foreign language anymore because of how much I listen to Korean conversations,songs and read a lot of Korean texts. But I still don’t understand it completely. Hopefully I will achieve my goal and have a third language that I have been passionate in learning since day one. ^^

    On a side note, I’m about to transfer to a different school and got into the Linguistics major! ^^
    Do you have any advice?
    *I’m a sophomore by the way*

    • Reply
      30 November, 2010 at 3:22 PM

      I’m not sure about you, but alot of people go into linguistics without really knowing what it really is. so, i suggest, reading up more and ensuring that you wont fall behind the rest since this field can get really technical at times ^^

      at the same time, congrats! ^^ I hope you have found what you liked 😀

  • Reply
    30 November, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    일본어 듣기는 엄청 빠르죠!!!! 레벨2도 그러네요. ㅠㅠ 저는 지금 “learning korean” 스테이지예요.. 한국어 문법을 이해가 되지만 새로운 문법을 말하기에는 아직 잘 못 써요. ㅜㅜ 생각 안 나요. 말할 때마다. I also wish i can be a polygot like 현우 씨. >< We still have 10 years to go. Haha. 화이팅!! Btw, can you provide some tips on how to improve on speaking skills, especially when we have no partners to practise with…

    • Reply
      30 November, 2010 at 3:25 PM

      ㅋㅋㅋ 네~ 저도 항상 같은 문법을 써요. 이게 좀 문제죠.

      i guess one method is to keep a close ear to what people say, on talk shows, dramas, video clips etc
      then you will get to learn what kind of grammatical constructions are most frequently used in speech as opposed to writing.

      I have this Korean friend who is really good in english. but somehow i find that he speaks in a very academic(?) and stiff english. things that you probably will find in formal articles but not daily speech.

  • Reply
    30 November, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    I always wanted to be a polyglot because I idolize one of the greatest polyglot and hero here in our country which is Jose Rizal. I used to take Japanese classes at my university but I don’t think I’m motivated enough to adapt the language because after a few months I forgot everything I’ve learned. I strive to learn it again but it seems like there’s no drive for me to learn it like Korean. I’m fascinated with how Japanese sounds and how it is similar with Korean in some aspects.

    I still don’t have enough confidence to say that Korean is my third language since I’m still in the process of learning though I can already understand and speak far better than I thought I can manage. I’m looking forward to taking advance Korean classes in Korea next year.

    • Reply
      30 November, 2010 at 3:26 PM

      yonsei!! 😀 😀 the classes do help alot! By the time we meet next yr (if possible), you will definitely be fluent! ^^

  • Reply
    30 November, 2010 at 4:52 PM

    For me, I think my aptitude in any language is directly related to my interest in the language. :p At least that’s what I feel. I hated Chinese from the moment I had to learn it in school. Actually I think it was hating the way it was taught in schools more than hating the language per se. So, I never really excelled in Chinese. I did enough to pass, but not splendidly, at least at the higher levels. However, recently, I have re-started subbing Korean shows and in order to improve, I study both English and Chinese subtitled shows to see how people translate things more naturally. And lo and behold, this has directly translated to a great improvement in my Chinese! If only they taught Chinese this way in our classrooms!

    That said, my aptitude in the different components of a language (speaking, listening, grammar, vocabularly, etc.) differs. Speaking has always been my weakest point for any language. I’m not sure, if it’s me being over-sensitive (thinking I sound horrible, thinking people are giving me weird glances when I try to speak Korean, for instance, etc.) or if I really lack the ability in this area.

  • Reply
    5 February, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    I have yet to find out, I guess… when I start learning Japanese.
    But I really think, a person’s interest and determination to learn is still a big factor. Though I also want to acknowledge the fact that there were indeed people who are gifted that learns a language pretty fast.

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