Monday, November 28

Should I Learn Korean or Japanese? A Guide to Choosing the Language to Learn

When it comes to East Asian languages, there are a few popular options: Korean, Japanese, and Chinese. But what if you’re a big fan of K-Pop and interested in learning Japanese? If so, you’re doubtful about which to choose and always ask yourself this: should I learn Korean or Japanese?

Trying to decide between Korean and Japanese can be tough. Both languages have much to offer learners, but some key differences can make the decision difficult.

Ready to get started? Let’s go!

INDEX

Korean vs. Japanese: Which Language is More Difficult?

Grammar

Vocabulary

Tips to Learn Japanese and Korean Languages Fast

Korean vs. Japanese: Which Language is More Difficult?

One common misconception about Korean and Japanese languages is that they are the same. However, this is not the case.

While both languages have their fair share of challenges, there is one language that is truly difficult for English speakers.

Let’s look at the two languages side-by-side and see.

Grammar

Korean has a relatively simple grammar system when compared to other languages like Japanese.

Take note of these grammar differences:

  • In Korean grammar, there are no conjugations or verb tenses. On the other hand, Japanese grammar has many different conjugations and verb tenses that you need to know to form sentences properly.
  • There are no articles (a, an, the) in Korean, which can make it easier to form sentences.
  • In terms of the grammar writing system, Japanese is more complex than Korean. This is because it has 3 different writing systems (kanji, hiragana, and katakana), which are mostly written in Chinese characters and have their own rules. In contrast, most Korean words are written in Hanja and Hangul.
  • Korean grammar always has to be in a specific orderSubject + Object + Verb—which can be difficult to remember at first. Unlike in the Korean language, the word order in Japanese is much more flexible. You can put words in any order as long as it sounds natural.

Vocabulary

Korean and Japanese have a lot of loanwords from English. In fact, around 60% of all words in both languages are loanwords. However, there are still plenty of words that are unique to each language.

Here are two differences between Japanese and Korean Vocabulary:

  1. Korean has many compound words made up of 2 or shorter words, while the Japanese language has fewer compound words overall.
  2. There are more homonyms in Japanese, which are pronounced the same but have different meanings. In contrast, Korean has fewer homonyms.

In the end, it depends on your perspective on whether Japanese or Korean pronunciation and writing are more difficult. If you’re looking at a sheer number of writing systems, then Korean wins. Ultimately, it’s up to you which language you want to learn!

Tips to Learn Japanese and Korean Languages Fast

If you’re looking to add a Japanese or a Korean language to your list, you’re in luck. These two languages share similarities, which means that they can be learned relatively quickly—especially if you already know another language in the same family.

Here are some tips on how to learn Korean and Japanese fast.

1. Start with the basics.

Before you start learning vocabulary or grammar rules, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the basic sounds of the language. This will help you when it comes time to start speaking and will make learning new words much easier.

For Korean, there are 24 basic consonants and 10 basic vowels. For Japanese, there are 5 basic vowel sounds.

2. Pay attention to word order.

Word order is one of the biggest differences between English and Korean/Japanese.

In English, you typically use a subject-verb-object (SVO) structure, but in Korean and Japanese, the verb comes at the end of the sentence. This can be confusing for English speakers, so paying close attention to word order is important when learning these languages.

3. Use mnemonic devices

Mnemonic devices are memory aids to help you remember information more easily. When learning Korean or Japanese, try using mnemonic devices like rhymes or visualizations to help you remember vocabulary words and grammar rules.

4. Practice regularly

Like anything else, practice makes it perfect to learn a new language. Try to find opportunities to practice speaking Korean or Japanese daily, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time.

The more exposure you have to the languages, the easier it will be to catch up. And who knows? You might even start dreaming in Korean or Japanese!

5. Find a friend or tutor who is a native speaker.

If possible, find friends or tutors who are Korean or Japanese speakers. They can help answer your grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary questions. And they can also provide valuable insights into Japanese and Korean culture, which can give you a better understanding of the language.

6. Look for online resources.

In addition, it’s recommended to supplement your learning with online resources. These can be things like podcasts, TV shows, movies, and websites like 90daykorean.com. This is a great way to expose yourself to natural Korean speech patterns and increase your listening comprehension. It’s also just a lot of fun!

Conclusion

Learning a new language is a nice way to open yourself up to different cultures and experiences—and it can also be a lot of fun!

If you want to learn Japanese and Korean languages, this guide should help you start your journey. Just keep studying and practicing, and you’ll be speaking like a native in no time!

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