17 In Korean learning journey (:

Response to: ‘Does learning Korean make me a wannabe?’

I don’t know why, but there is quite a number of people googling the above phrase to get to my blog. Not sure what is happening but since it’s a valid and pretty interesting question, I’ll just like to give an answer. (:


Wannabe Korean?
I’m not sure what kind of ‘wannabe’ is being referred to, but there’s nothing wrong with liking a culture, a group of people and wanting to be associated with them. It doesn’t matter if you aspire to be like a Korean (whatever that means) and it’s perfectly alright if you feel aligned to the culture and their way of thinking. Or even if you want to dress or look like them. And learning the Korean language doesn’t have anything to do with wannabes.

Learning Korean because of the Hallyu wave

Again, there is nothing wrong. You can’t learn a language without a motivation. And liking a kpop star, drama etc is a good reason as any to start learning Korean. And it will help keep you motivated for the journey ahead. I myself kinda started learning Korean because of the drama 궁 which I found really good. Although I started liking kpop only after learning Korean ㅋㅋㅋ My love for Big Bang started only when I just so coincidentally bought their autobiography while looking for a Korean book. I have a lot of friends who started learning Korean because of the Hallyu wave and they have come so far (:

I know of a lot of friends and people around me who used to dislike Kpop etc but are now the wildest fans 😛 Kinda funny how they used to criticize kpop and roll their eyes at us but now they are so into it themselves. A little annoying at times, but nothing wrong too (: It’s nice that they are appreciating the language, culture etc. I myself used to have a lesser liking the Japanese language and all things related. But now I’m learning to really appreciate the dramas, music etc. It doesn’t make me a wannabe, does it? Although I used to have a lesser liking for Japanese, I never for once criticize anyone who is learning Japanese or those who really really love the Japanese culture. It’s just a matter of difference in interests, but I admire and respect their love for Japanese.

The only people that gets on my nerves are people who criticizes our love for Korean and the related culture. You might not find the language/culture/music nice, but there is no need to label us as ‘korean-crazy’ in a degrading sense or to think that investing our time in Korean is a stupid thing to do.

And a few of such people are starting to learn the Korean language O.o I’m always left speechless at that.

Korean is an easy language
Today I was messaging my friend and this topic came up. She was encountering such remarks and we were both annoyed.  It’s something that I’ve come across many times, but never fail to be annoyed each time I encounter it. I hate it when people just started learning Korean and then promptly declare that it’s an easy language and that they are start watching shows without subs (and understanding them) within 6 months of learning the language -.- erm.. sure? I didn’t know there are so many language geniuses around (:


All in all, learning Korean doesn’t make you any form of a wannabe. As long as you are really interested in the language/culture. (: And if you are encountering negative remarks, ignore them. Remember, there is a group of us who understands your love for the Korean language and culture ^^

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  • Reply
    18 April, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    Korean is an easy language? in what universe? (well, I guess it would be easier for other people depending on their native language)

    • Reply
      18 April, 2012 at 11:04 AM

      hahaha!! no idea? 😛 Korean is not that complicated actually but it irks me when people treat language as something ‘easy’ and it shows in their attitudes.

  • Reply
    18 April, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    I really like how you put it 🙂 At times I wanted to hide liking anything Korea because of being a so called ” wanna-be”. My attitude now is that if your passionate about something, hiding it or containing it is just hurting yourself. haha thank goodness for the group that understands!!! 😀

    • Reply
      18 April, 2012 at 11:07 AM

      Thanks! ^^ I agree with you. Why contain it and hurt yourself when it can be something to be proud of? 😀 It’s awesome to have all of you around to talk about such stuff! ^^

  • Reply
    18 April, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    It’s funny how you posted this today. This is exactly what I needed to hear. I’m Irish-American, and this boy in my class (he’s a real moron anyway) told me that I’m “not really Irish” and that I’m “trying to be Korean.” I’m proud to be Irish, I’m just really interested in the Korean language and culture. I don’t see anything with that! It really annoyed me and made me upset. Thanks for posting this, it really made me feel better. 🙂

    P.S. I find it strange that people can be learning western languages and not be called a wannabe. For example, if someone is learning Spanish, they never get called a Spanish wannabe! But when someone is learning an eastern Asian language, they get criticized and called a wannabe. What do you think of this? I find it strange.

    • Reply
      18 April, 2012 at 11:13 AM

      That guy is not making sense. Learning a foreign language does not have anything to do with your roots/identity. O.o It’s the embracing of a new culture. Who says language learning is subtractive. Don’t be upset by such comments! I have also endured loads of weird or negative comments but just remember, there is a group of us who knows how to appreciate language learning ^^

      haha I agree with you. My friends who are learning the Romance languages get admired. Coming from an Asian country, some people might not think that learning a western language is ‘very practical’ but nevertheless nothing about being a wannabe.
      I guess it’s just because the Hallyu wave is so strong now. My friends who are learning Japanese don’t seem to be getting the wannabe comment often these days, but i guess they had their share when Jpop was much more popular a few years back!

  • Reply
    18 April, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    On the note of “easy” versus “hard” languages.
    I am somebody who will declare Korean “easy” to me. If I take the “it’s so hard” route, it can easily become demotivating.
    Because of my interest in Korea/Korea-related things, studying is fun and comes .. naturally to an extent. And for those reasons I can say that Korean is “easy.”
    I will say that I often watch shows without subtitles or read books without flipping open a dictionary – and did so within a year of starting to learn – however, this is just how I approach the language, and if asked, I will honestly say that I don’t fully understand everything.
    My recommendation for people who want to learn a language is to not get worked up over how “hard” it seems. I’m not sure if that means we should consider the language to be easy. But at least, I’m a proponent of keeping the language fun (like the AJATT method which I’m sure many people are familiar with).
    Although a note, I’m pretty sure because of my experiences learning Japanese before Korean, Korean came a lot more easily than had I not learned Japanese beforehand. Both because of some similarities and also just because I had learned how to somewhat more effectively self study.

    As for the wannabe thing. I’m not sure about everybody’s ethnicity, but I’m white and I found that it seemed to be okay for Asians to like other kinds of Asian things (I.e. my Chinese American friends were allowed to like Japanese things or Korean things), but because I wasn’t Asian, I was criticized for liking Asian things. That was mostly in high school and I haven’t encountered it so much now that I’m at university.

    • Reply
      19 April, 2012 at 6:35 PM

      I agree that we shouldn’t think that languages are ‘hard’. I was just referring to people who really had a bad attitude what they say Korean is ‘easy’ and people who claimed that they are able to master it within 6 months or a year. Hope you haven’t met those kinds (: Japanese comes a little easier for me in that sense too, because of Korean 😀

  • Reply
    18 April, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    I love this post haha
    Hallyu wave introduced us to know lots of things about korean and inspired to learn more about them.
    I hate when pp said that we’re crazy especially in my country…..

    • Reply
      19 April, 2012 at 6:32 PM

      thanks! 😀 just ignore those people

  • Reply
    19 April, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Thank you for this post, just thank you. TT

  • Reply
    nurul ain
    8 May, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    i get to know your blog when i searching the benefit of learning korean language & i totally agree with what you wrote about it..hehehe..anyway, nice to meet you…from your blog, i find that you’re from singapore right? i’m ain from KL..

  • Reply
    13 July, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    OMG! This will be somewhat irrelevant but when I read that you started liking Korean because of 궁, a big smile naturally formed! It’s what got me into Korean too!!

    And about learning a language making you a wannabe, I agree with you. People can learn Korean, or dress like a Korean but that doesn’t mean you’re a wannabe. Learning a language and etc is an addition to who we are, not a replacement.

    I think one can be called a wannabe once someone is so engrossed with being this and that, that they try to bury/forget who they really are, where they were originally born or where they grew up. It sounds kind of stupid but I do know some people who shut down and refuse to recognize their mother tongue or culture :/

    Anyways, I’m a new follower of your blog! So happy that I found your blog!! 🙂

    – Axile ^^

    • Reply
      13 July, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      Hi Axile!! 😀 ‘Learning a language and etc is an addition to who we are, not a replacement.’ – that’s really true! Thanks for reading my blog~! hope to chat with u often here!!

  • Reply
    Catherine Mullis
    13 December, 2016 at 9:49 PM

    I was just reading your most recent blog and came across this one. I am going through this at the moment. At the age of 44 you would think that possibly what my parents think wouldn’t bother me………..wrong 🙁 My parents, my partner, my friends and to a point my eldest daughter all think I am having some kind of mid-life crisis because I am learning Korean. My parents see it as an ‘abandoning’ my own culture ( I am from the UK). I sometimes wonder if I was learning lets say Spanish their opinion would be different, but to them Korea and learning Korean is a swear word. The culture has me fascinated and by reading and learning more I feel like I am breaking out of what has become a very restricted way of life for me. The only support I get is from my youngest daughter who everyday tells me she loves me in Korean!! and says I should follow my dreams wherever they may take me. Also I would like to thank you too Shanna, because although we have and may never meet, your blog is a huge continuing support for me. I am now going to pick up my textbook and keep going!!
    Much love

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