10 In Japanese learning journey (:/ Korean learning journey (:

Learning a foreign language – a daunting task?

it depends.

I think learning Japanese is bringing a new (and more objective) perspective of viewing foreign language learning. I’m too in love with Korean and that skews my perspective. ^^

If you think of it rationally and logically, learning a foreign language IS a daunting task. Basically you need to have a new store of vocabulary, a new set of syntax, a new cultural perspective and a new thinking process. It’s more than matching your current vocabulary word for word, the new language may use the same word for two items – basically it means different ways of categorisations and also culture-specific words etc. Add in the slang etc and you can see how huge the task is ahead.

And I think that’s what put many people off. For me, that realisation and frustration is even more evident if you try to learn words off a vocabulary list. Can you imagine the number of lists you have to go through? For each subject, each field, each situation etc.

But, that is if you think of it in that ‘logical manner’

I subscribe (somewhat) to the idea that humans are adapted and wired to learn languages. (haha I hope I’m not stepping into dangerous waters – the linguistic students will know what I mean 😛 )

Basically, I feel that languages is not something that you dissect and think of in a logical manner. It’s the process and not the end results that you should look at. It’s perfectly to have a goal, but if all you think of is mastering a language in XX amount of time, you are just making yourself very miserable.

Because I don’t have the blind love I have for Korean for Japanese, I tend to see it in a more objective way. I do get a little hesitant when I think of how much work I need to put in to attain a standard like my Korean and I wonder sometimes if I really want to put in that amount of effort. When I really want to bring my Korean to a higher level. We all have limited time, putting in more effort for Japanese ultimately means lesser time for Korean.

But I’m enjoying the learning process so much I don’t want to stop. ^^ mmm okay after going that big round I think all I want to say is If you enjoy the learning process, learning a foreign language is NOT a daunting task.

hahaha. So much so for trying to be coherent! ^^

p.s. I predict that I’ll have loads and loads of interesting content coming up, most likely from September onwards!

p.s.2. Any particular things about Korean that you want me to blog about?

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  • Reply
    28 July, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    I much prefer to learn things ‘naturally’. Whether it be by repetition or constant usage to reinforce what I’ve learnt. Grammar rules and all that are all well but somehow it doesn’t work for me. Even for English, I have no idea what a verb, noun or adverb is despite having looked it up many a time. My memory is like a sieve in that way. It rejects rational/logical formulae to language LOL.

    When I see V + (으)ㄹ 게요, I have no idea what a verb is but I know how to use + (으)ㄹ 게요. Topic / subject markers? What are those? LOL. Of course I know what those are but I don’t think from that perspective when forming sentences.

    Sometimes I think it would do me good if I could form sentences in terms of grammar rules, more often than not, I write things a certain way just because ‘it feels right’. It has served me well most of the time. Haha.

    • Reply
      30 July, 2011 at 2:02 PM

      haha we are usually more well versed in the technicalities when it comes to foreign languages compared to our native tongues.

      It’s a good skill, to know if ‘things feel right’ or not. ^^

  • Reply
    Lucie Dvorakova
    29 July, 2011 at 12:30 AM

    It is mostly children and infants that are hard wired to be able to learn a language. I so admire how easily a child learns a language. They don’t question grammar rules or why something is said in a certain way, they just repeat it. Unlike adult students who often give you the strangest questions possible about why something is said in a certain way, and why something is said like this and not like this because it doesn’t make sense to them in their native language.
    How I wish I could pick up a language like a kid does.

    • Reply
      30 July, 2011 at 2:04 PM

      haha yeah I agree. I get stumped by questions on English that some of my Korean friends asked me. It’s like I’ve never thought about English this way and it brings about a new perspective when I hear it from their point of view. Very interesting ^^

  • Reply
    31 July, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    I came across this sentence : ‘I am resembling my father more and more’
    on lang8. The writer got it from a book and it was said to be a grammatically correct sentence. His explanation for it left my head spinning. Something about how stative verbs cannot be used in a progressive sentence but there are exceptions when used with expressions such as ‘more and more’.

    While technical explanations may be useful to some, when people correct my sentences using explanations such as the above, I’m left feeling more confused than ever. Still, it’s rather interesting to see how others approach language learning.

  • Reply
    Matthew Smith
    1 December, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    I started to learn Korean after learning Japanese several years ago. Interestingly enough, I strongly relate to your emotional attachment with Korean when I think about my attachment to Japanese. I worried a little about how I partitioned my language study for both Korean and Japanese. In the early phase of learning Korean I often confused my Japanese with my Korean and would actually insert Japanese vocabulary into my Korean while talking. That curtails as your ability level increases in the target language (in your case Japanese). Ultimately study of one language will shift the focus from the other and you will have to choose which one is more important to you. My focus has become Korean as my girlfriend is Korean and speaks very little English.

    I read that you were thinking of taking a science class in Korean. I think this is an excellent idea! I did the same thing when I was in Japan and despite it being tough, it allowed me to learn far more technical vocabulary and it provided another avenue with which to connect to my fellow Japanese classmates. I even made some friends with good note-taking girls to record all the key points during the lectures^^.

    • Reply
      2 December, 2011 at 6:47 PM

      ㅋㅋ i ended up dropping that course due to timetabling difficulties. But I bought the textbook and probably I’ll self study when im back in singapore (leisure reading LOL)

      I hate to admit, but I kinda forgot my japanese. It’s not at a level that i’ll be comfortable with it even after not touching it for a whole semester. i guess i’ll have to revise everything again when im back in singapore.

  • Reply
    17 December, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    I agree. I enjoy learning Korean so much that I don’t think of it as a daunting task… i don’t even think of it as a task. I didn’t enjoy studying Japanese, thus to me IT IS A VERY DAUNTING TASK that I almost want to tear my textbook apart! XD

    • Reply
      22 December, 2011 at 9:07 PM

      i understand what you mean! I was like that for awhile. You need to find something that sparks your interest in the language. Maybe if Kim Sun Ah has a japanese drama… ^^

      • Reply
        22 December, 2011 at 9:28 PM

        Hahaha! It was exactly what my friend told me (and that friend happens to be a Singaporean too! O.O). I dunno… Kim Sun Ah is very fluent in Japanese and I even compiled all her interviews in Japanese and some small scenes from her dramas where she speaks Japanese. But maybe for many other reasons, it didn’t work (I knew it! I should have bought the book she wrote in Japanese!).

        I’m studying Mandarin now. And surprisingly I’m enjoying it. Not as much as Korean of course but I don’t feel any uhm… resent (haha!) towards it (not yet, at least! :p).

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