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

Studying Japanese and Korean

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!

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  • Reply
    17 April, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    I went into Korean thinking “I’ll get this way easy, the grammar is just like Japanese”. Yeah, I found out they are a bit different, at least to me. Particles seem harder. I guess the leg up is I can parse a sentence in a “backward” order more naturally thanks to Japanese.

    Random question… Does korean have a bunch of different 語尾? like よ、ね、な、ぞ、等々?

    • Reply
      17 April, 2012 at 9:45 PM

      nope Korean doesn’t. which is why i find all the endings so difficult. :/ there are too many of them, especially if you include slangs. Today i just learnt the っす ending ><

      • Reply
        18 April, 2012 at 1:44 AM

        When I hear spoken Korean in dramas the first thing that pops into my mind is either …よ, or …だ.

        My main difficulty in Korean for now is the particles being so different(to me at least).

  • Reply
    19 April, 2012 at 4:37 AM

    you should totally check this site out if you haven’t already.

    or maybe you already figure out all these kanji reading patterns. I found it to be really helpful and motivating (I’m comfortable and good at japanese but i’m beginning/intermediate with korean so this really helped boost my kanji recognition with korean)


    • Reply
      19 April, 2012 at 6:30 PM

      thanks!! will check it out 😀 i can recognize kanji (because I know chinese) but the pronunciation.. xD

  • Reply
    19 April, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    お早う御座います、皆さん。Japanese is easy without the kanji and I find Korean is difficult in vocab,the words are similar but totally a different meaning (eg 방, 밥…), maybe I study (still referring now) first, I find is easier to catch up grammar in Korean, listening and speaking not a very big problem but once writing I keep doubting is my spelling correct, for the first year I studied Korean, I comfused both languages but today is rather fine already (but still sometimes)… Not many people pick up 3rd and 4th language in their entire life, frankly I am one of them that dislike Korean because I didn’t explore or know much about Korean, but…. 이제 fan있어요…. 하….I really appreciated that I have the choice to love both languages, I didn’t think of what will I benefited but now just keep learning, have more time, read a few more pages, have no time watch drama to learn new vocab. Learning is that simple…. Don’t think too much. 안녕.

    • Reply
      19 April, 2012 at 6:31 PM

      thanks for sharing your experience 😀 strangely, i don’t have a problem with things like 방, 밥 but i do get confused with the long and short sounds in Japanese! xD

  • Reply
    19 April, 2012 at 8:40 AM

    My friends also cannot recognize what language I speak, the first moment I can speak in Korean than second moment in Japanese, 하지만, my friends get used already. Some of my Japanese friends once they heard a different language and they will “ha… なに?わからない….” my hubby cannot differentiate this is a Korean or Japanese movie…. Ha….

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