(seriously, I have no idea when I wrote this. But it seems like I did finish writing it… so hopefully it will make some sense! Busy week but will try to get some new posts out!)
Those who have no experience learning a foreign language (seriously) will not know what I’m talking about. I used to be one of those people, who thinks that learning a language is simply picking up an intricate system of grammar, vocabulary etc and the first thing I’ll buy is a phrasebook and a pocket dictionary.
Pst. I used to be fascinated by Spanish and I bought both. Plus one of those ‘Teach Yourself’ series available in at least a hundred languages.
Now that I’ve experiences with learning Korean, that’s the last thing I’ll ever buy. Phrasebooks are for the curious travelers, who is probably not going to use any of the phrases besides Hello, Thank you, How much is it?, Where is..? during the entire trip. And then chuck the phrasebook in the storeroom for the rest of his life.
And the pocket dictionary? Sure, I think you will open it less than 10 times. There is the internet. And if you are on the go, buy a electronic dictionary, or just use your smartphone.
I have nothing against a real dictionary. Just that an online dictionary offers more convenience, and loads more example sentences.
Learning a language comes with a package. You learn about a culture, a new mindset / worldview, country etc. Without having any prior interest in anything besides Korean and Korean dramas/music, I’ve expanded my knowledge to include (to different degree of know-how) Korean culture, history, music, places of interest, dialects, politics, daily news etc etc.
A stark contrast to my Japanese learning journey. I expect to learn more about the Japanese culture along the way, but so far I’m being fed only the language. At least from the resources which I’m using – which are all in Korean by the way.
Feels very strange. Most textbooks will include bits of the country’s culture etc. I barely know anything about Japan. I only know Osaka, Tokyo and a few major cities, but can’t pinpoint them on the map. I had no idea that phones can’t be used in the subway trains.
We shall see how long I can continue learning Japanese devoid of culture. And to what level I can attain.