Previously, I’ve blogged about the benefits of learning a foreign language. That’s one of the questions that I get quite a lot.
These days, I’ve received many questions about this topic.
- should I learn Japanese even though my Korean is still at a beginner stage?
- when I should I dive into a second language?
- do you think that I can manage to juggle between both languages?
- should I learn Korean and if I do, will I forget my Japanese?
The list goes on. Even though I have been ‘officially’ learning both languages since Jan 2012 (in that I mean that I decided to take on Japanese as a 4th language / 2nd foreign language then), it’s still something that I’m still experimenting with and learning about. There are no fixed answers to the above question, it all boils down to a it depends. Of course, none of us like that answer. I can’t give you a correct answer, but I can share my opinions on it.
Should I learn Japanese even though my Korean is still at a beginner stage?
From my personal experience, no. I don’t believe in short term language learning and taking on a new language is not a light commitment. I highly doubt that you can juggle both at one go, particularly two languages that are similar. Because they are similar, you get more confused instead of reaping the benefits of ‘short-cuts’. I recommend learning a 2nd language only when your first language has kinda stabilized, around a high intermediate stage. It’s not to say that you can’t try. I did and realized that it doesn’t work for me. So I only started Japanese when my Korean is already at the advanced level.
Do you think that I can manage to juggle between both languages?
This is a question that I’m asking myself too. hahaha. I think I’m doing fine, although I think both of my languages can’t progress at the same speed. I think I’m improving faster in Japanese these days. Since I’m spending a lot more formal time on it. Because I’m pretty comfortable with Korean right now, I’m starting to reap the benefits of the similarities between the 2 languages.
Should I learn Korean and if I do, will I forget my Japanese?
I don’t think language attrition is a problem if you are already of an intermediate stage and above. Personally, I can’t imagine the day I will start to forget Korean. Of course, it’s your own responsibility to ensure that you expose yourself to the language and keep immersed. With the internet, it’s really hard to find an excuse and say that just cos you are not in the country and not really speaking the language, you forget some of it. I’m not in Korea right now and I don’t speak to Korean to anyone these days. I normally spend my days in school where I don’t even hear any Korean around me. But I’m always listening to podcasts, reading Korean news, listening to Korean music etc. I think I spend too much time in front of the computer, but I think you will able to squeeze in just an hour a day or so listening to some Korean stuff ^^
For me, I’ve gotten around the problem by learning Japanese in KOREAN. Most of my Japanese learning materials are in Korean and without spending extra time on Korean, I’m actually revising and getting better in Korean ^^ It’s really up to you to come up with innovative methods to combine the two languages together in your lives.
I don’t think anyone is very interested in my private life, but I’m reaching a crossroads in my life. I have no idea what I’ll be doing next time – going out to the corporate world, staying in academia or rotting my life away. But one thing I’m sure of, this blog is here to stay (:
Before I think of my future, I should start thinking of the assignments that are piling up xD Okay, back to my readings.
If you are learning a second foreign language or just starting on your first foreign language, share your experiences! ^^