Many people have been asking me about studying both languages at the same time, how I feel about both languages, which is easier to learn etc. It’s hard to answer these questions, seeing that I’m very much new to Japanese but it’s an interesting topic to ponder upon. There is also a growing community who is doing both languages, although most of the people I know learn Japanese first before Korean. There are a number of people learning Korean through Japanese but I don’t really know anyone who is doing the opposite (besides me..)
Advantage or disadvantage?
I don’t really know. But from my own experience, it’s better to start another language only if you are comfortable with the 1st and also that you can compartmentalize the two languages. I belong to the type that gets confused easily so I had a difficult time when I started to learn Japanese when my Korean wasn’t all that stable yet.
But right now, I see the advantages of knowing Korean. It makes things A LOT easier and I suspect Korean is responsible for my fast(er) progress in Japanese.
Never judge one language based on the other
This is a fatal mistake. It’s easy and convenient to assume that things work the same way in both languages just because they share many similarities but that’s a wrong perception. I made the mistake at times and that is why I used to be so frustrated with Japanese – cos it doesn’t fit into my mold of what I think it should be.
Studying Japanese via Korean helps a lot. The textbooks I use always caution me on mistakes that Koreans usually make and I find that I’m prone to such mistakes too.
Japanese and Korean sounds very different from each other, in terms of intonation, stress etc. My mum tells me that I speak Japanese in a Korean way (she can’t tell what I’m speaking) but she can’t tell the difference between a Japanese drama and Korean drama at times… I might record something next week and you guys can be the judge.
I don’t know how realistic it is to aim for native-like proficiency in both languages. Right now, I’m aiming for almost native-like for Korean and I don’t have any goals for Japanese. I’m only learning it for fun.
My current playlist!