8 In Korean learning journey (:

‘Korean is a easier language’… really? ^^

A few days ago, I was in school and overheard a group of girls discussing language electives offered by our school. And they were debating on which is an easier language: Japanese or Korean.

One girl commented that the Hangul alphabet is easier to learn while another one was saying how Japanese pronunciation is easier since you can just read the romaji. And the list goes on.

Kind of interesting 😀

Looking from a point of view of selecting a school elective, there is no wrong in trying to find an ‘easier elective’. I myself will never take a French module because Romance languages doesn’t square with me and I never liked the complicated gender system and verb conjugations.

But looking at it from a language learner’s point of view, I don’t believe that there is such a thing as a hard / easy language. A language can only be as hard or as easy as the level of interest, our passions, motivation and love for the language.

I have friends who are passionate about French telling me that it’s an absolutely beautiful language and not that hard to learn and I myself will tell other people that Korean is very easy. ㅎㅎ

Most of you would know that my interest in Japanese is nowhere near my love for Korean and I always feel exceedingly awkward in my Japanese classes where everyone is talking about their fav anime, their interest in Japanese while I listen and nod my head awkwardly. When my classmates found out that I learn Korean, they will always marvel at how I manage to learn such a difficult language while I applaud them for being able to pick up Japanese.

Okay. I’m being long-winded.

All I want to say is that there is no such thing as a difficult or easy language and all languages are complex systems with their own difficulties etc. And the more interest we have in a language and its culture, the easier we will find the language ^^

I am trying to keep up the practice of blogging everyday 😀

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  • Reply
    7 February, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    I was shocked and kinda upset when I learned that according to the FBI (or CIA – one of the 2) Korean is the 2nd hardest language for Americans to learn. Finnish is the hardest.
    My thought was “what have I gotten myself into?” I’m not really sure why Korean is considered so difficult because I thought Chinese/Japanese had the same type of syntax issues (which I figured would be the hardest).
    On the plus side, reading Korean (not necessarily understanding) has to be easier then Japanese.

  • Reply
    Xing Wei Poh
    7 February, 2012 at 10:07 PM


  • Reply
    7 February, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    Learning a language with love, passion and commitment makes it easier.

  • Reply
    7 February, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    I totally agree with you! I’m learning Japanese & Korean and Spanish at school.
    Funny thing is Spanish is the most difficult one to me. I once told my teacher and she was totaly stunned and somehow impressed.

    But I think there are two or three expections from what I know:
    – Chinese
    – Latin
    – Russian

    If you think of it objectivily they are the most complicated ones (from what I know). Maybe also Arabic… ?

  • Reply
    8 February, 2012 at 2:33 AM

    I am Turkish and Korean structure is very similar to Turkish. Although alphabets are different(Turkish has latin alphabet), grammar rules are similar so it is easy for me to learn Korean. However sources for learning Korean are limited in Turkish and i began to learn Korean over English. This makes the learning process a bit harder. Of course with love and passion, you can learn anything you want:) I know English but i think English is harder than Korean.

  • Reply
    8 February, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    Yes I do think that Korean is a very easy language [if not, easiest] to pick up!~ 🙂

    First of all Korean has a very basic minimalistic straight-forwardness of putting across something, even the Hangul alphabets [both individually and when joined] are very clear. Opposed to others like Chinese or Arabic [as mentioned by Ealiah above] which looks very compact and like there’s many things going on especially when combined.

    In terms of speaking I guess it depends from where one comes from?. For a non-Asian person speaking an Asian-sounding language might not be as natural?. Agree with what you mentioned too, about how it depends on the person, like in your case French language.

    Not a pro in the language, but I really do think Korean is one of the simplest to pick up, even without much initial interest. To master, is another story though.


  • Reply
    9 February, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    This is nice! 🙂 We, university students, often talk this way when selecting electives.

    Language family is an important factor. If languages came from the same family then they would share similarities that can make it easier to learn (But it didn’t work for me. Since I’ve been learning Korean for quite some time, many people think that learning Japanese would be easy for me because of the closeness of its structure to Korean. But that closeness actually annoys me and makes me all the more confuse.). Culture plays a big part too. Say a westerner learning and an asian learning an asian language both foreign to them, the westerner may find kinship terms and honorifics complicated, while an asian who might have shared the same concept on his native language would not fret over it. In our language we only have a handful terms for colors, while English have tons of color terms. Does that make our language easier to learn? Well, we have a complicated verb system and we turn our verbs “upside down” and “inside out” by affixation.

    I’ve read somewhere that the easiest language to learn is the one that you are most motivated to learn. Yes motivation plays a big role, but I don’t think it follows that it’s going to be easy/it’s gonna make the language learning easy. Maybe it would make the learning process more enjoyable or fun but not easy. I’d rather rephrase it to “The most difficult language to learn is the one that you are least motivated to learn.” (Me. Japanese. Is all.) Because I don’t think there’s an easy language to learn for, as what Shanna have said, language is a complex system.

  • Reply
    10 February, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Hey I wanted to recommend this to further your japanese studies though i’m not sure how helpful it’ll be since you already the know chinese, and lots of korean.

    It basicaly tells you how kanji sounds in korean “convert” to japanese. or vice versa.

    So I learned JApanese =first, then now I’m working on korean so i found it really helpful ( saved me lots of time… ) .

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