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The ’I Hate Korean’ Thread

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131 messages over 17 pages: 1 2 35 6 7 ... 4 ... 16 17 Next >>
Bao
Diglot
Senior Member
Germany
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Joined 3876 days ago

2256 posts - 4045 votes 
Speaks: German*, English
Studies: French, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin

 
 Message 25 of 131
01 July 2011 at 11:30pm | IP Logged 
ScottScheule wrote:
Hmm. It doesn't sound that much more difficult than Spanish or German or French sandhi. E.g., for Spanish, "b" between vowels is an approximant, but after m n and at the beginning of utterance a full voiced stop, "d" is a fricative except when it comes after "n" "l" or at the beginning of an utterance.

If you actually read my posting, you might have read the sentence "I can tell apart and produce m, b, p' and bb, but to me that's a four way distinction of sounds that do not match the phoneme inventory of any of my other languages, neither in their boundaries nor in their interaction."
I mean it.
It's not that Korean is particularly nasty, or anything. Its phonology makes sense, in an entirely Korean context. The problem, however, is that there is so little overlap between Korean and any other language I've studied so far that it is very difficult to learn the Korean system, because I can't use any of my existing systems as a peg for a Korean sound. It doesn't help that, for example, a sound that is very similar to my native German long o and a sound very similar to my native German short o are different phonemes in Korean, and of the same length. (In German, their actual sound value is dictated by syllable structure, so one sound gets replaced by the other if you artificially lengthen/shorten the syllable.) Which would still be just fine - if there weren't cases in which Koreans replace one sound by the other in spoken Korean because it is easier to pronounce for them.
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schoenewaelder
Diglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 3670 days ago

759 posts - 1197 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: German, Spanish, Dutch

 
 Message 26 of 131
02 July 2011 at 2:25am | IP Logged 
Hmmm, I think I might do Korean for my 6WC. That should break the back of it.
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Lucky Charms
Diglot
Senior Member
Japan
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Joined 5059 days ago

752 posts - 1710 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: German, Spanish

 
 Message 27 of 131
02 July 2011 at 3:58am | IP Logged 
Kitchen.Sink wrote:
I am highly amused by how you not only cherry pick my words and phrases to conveniently
leave out the ends of my sentences, the part where I state that Korean is not difficult for those reasons though they might seem to be to the
outsider, but I am also highly amused by how pedantic your tone is without even having studied Korean yourself.


What do you mean, "conveniently"? What kind of agenda do you think I have? Like I said in my original post, I'm interested in learning Korean so I
honestly want to know your perspective. If Korean is really as difficult as you say, I want to know why, and if you were exaggerating some parts
for dramatic effect (who doesn't enjoy a good whine once in a while?) then I want to know that, too. The parts I quoted were not in the interest of
making you look bad, but in the interest of keeping my post brief because those are the only points I wanted to address. Everyone here has probably
read your original post and understands the disclaimers you have made.

Kitchen.Sink wrote:
Lucky Charms wrote:

I disagree. What makes you think so?


Pardon me, a native English speaking man.


I don't doubt that you are a native English speaker, but again, I'm interested in knowing why you say that. As others have mentioned, French is not
exactly known for having clear word boundaries, and I have heard the opposite opinion from learners of French whose English is just as native as
yours, and I'm not aware of any phonological features that make word boundaries easy to find in French (such as sounds that only appear word-
initially or word-finally), so that's why I asked.


Kitchen.Sink wrote:
I have never encountered a language where I can listen to a sentence two
dozen times and still not be entirely sure of the fundamental sounds that were spoken.
It's bizarre, and it's something you cannot understand until you try to learn Korean
for yourself.


This is the kind of experience I'm intrested in knowing about. I don't disbelieve you, but as a Japanese learner who is used to hearing a lot of
scare stories and exaggerations about how "impossible" the language is, you must understand my tendency toward skepticism until I hear a plausible
explanation. Bao's comments about how sounds change is the first such explanations I've heard so far, so I think I'm
starting to understand.

Edited by Lucky Charms on 02 July 2011 at 4:19am

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Kitchen.Sink
Newbie
United States
Joined 4290 days ago

20 posts - 67 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese, Korean

 
 Message 28 of 131
02 July 2011 at 4:59am | IP Logged 
Lucky Charms wrote:

I don't doubt that you are a native English speaker, but again, I'm interested in
knowing why you say that. As others have mentioned, French is not
exactly known for having clear word boundaries, and I have heard the opposite opinion
from learners of French whose English is just as native as
yours, and I'm not aware of any phonological features that make word boundaries easy to
find in French (such as sounds that only appear word-
initially or word-finally), so that's why I asked.


In hindsight, French was not the best example to use. French word borders are
significantly easier to identify than Korean's, but to keep the comparison simple, I
probably should have used Spanish or Italian -- languages with a fairly regular tempo.


Lucky Charms wrote:

This is the kind of experience I'm intrested in knowing about. I don't disbelieve you,
but as a Japanese learner who is used to hearing a lot of
scare stories and exaggerations about how "impossible" the language is, you must
understand my tendency toward skepticism until I hear a plausible
explanation. Bao's comments about how sounds change is the first such explanations I've
heard so far, so I think I'm
starting to understand.


I'll try to explain what I mean, then. This will also tie in with the French comparison
I used earlier, and maybe help it make a bit more sense. I, too, have heard about how
"impossible" Japanese and Chinese are, and to be honest, I found them quite a bit
easier to speak than several European languages. They both have simple grammars and an
easy flow of words, ones that the native English-speaking ear can pick up on quickly.

For instance, take the Japanese phrase, "Yoroshiku onegaishimasu". In spoken Japanese,
it tends to sound more like "yoroshku onegaishmas". The emphasis tends to be on the
second or third syllables. The point is that it is not so different each time the
Japanese say that phrase that your brain has a hard time recognizing that phrase for
what it is.

To use another example, in English we might say, "He gestured through the window." The
emphasis, provided that the speaker isn't angry or being sarcastic, would sound
something like this, "He GESTured THROUGH the WINdow." This leads to a fairly regular
pace, so much so, that the brain can pick up on certain cues, the "win" in "window" and
the "gest" in "gestured" tend to always take emphasis and thus the brain can easily
pick out those words, even if the others are sketchy. Since verbs and nouns in English
tend to follow this pattern, you will be able to pick out the most important parts of
spoken English. Over time, through exposure, the brain will begin to fill in the blanks
for the less important parts, such as adverbs and pronouns, naturally. It's all part of
the process of language acquisition.

With Korean, however, the mind has no foundation to settle on. For instance, the phrase
"jaedongeul arabwa" can be emphasized in a seemingly endless number of ways, especially
as one word bleeds into another without the slightest shift in emphasis or tone.

JAEdongeularabwa
jaedongEULaraBWA
jaedoneularaBWA

To make this even more frustrating, keep in mind that Korean, like Chinese and
Japanese, has a very limited amount of total sounds that it can make. Korean has more
than the other two, but it pales in comparison to a Western language. This means that
"jae" alone means something very different than the "jae" of "jaedong", and that "jae
dong" is not the same as "jaedong". The Chinese have tones to deal with this
troublesome aspect. Korean, on the other hand, seems to have nothing at all.

This does not even include the inexplicable shifts in sounds that Koreans like to
perform as the whim strikes them. For instance, the "bwa" at the end of that sentence
(봐) will sometimes get pronounced as "bwa", others times as "ba" (바). There is not
necessarily a dialect that does this change consistently, there is no rule that you can
learn, it's just something Koreans do, where if it's easier for their tongue to say it
that way, they say it that way. To a native Korean speaker, the mind can intuitively
figure out the irregularity. To someone studying Korean, it's a nightmare. The Koreans
do this all the time. When women try to sound cute, they will sometimes pronounce "do"
(도), meaning "also", as "du" (두), which could mean any number of things, depending on
what came before it. They don't always do this consistently, sometimes they will even
use these different forms in the very same sentence!

This only begins to scratch the surface of why spoken Korean is so insanely difficult.

Edited by Kitchen.Sink on 02 July 2011 at 5:03am

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leosmith
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4660 days ago

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Speaks: English*
Studies: Tagalog

 
 Message 29 of 131
02 July 2011 at 6:03am | IP Logged 
Kitchen.Sink, yes that was a very nice whine. And I have never studied Korean, not even a single word. But I'm going
to go out on a limb here and say it's not more difficult than Mandarin or
Japanese for the average native English speaker. I think your difficulty could be one of several things. Some
possibilities off the top of my head:
1) You have found your own "killer" language. It's more difficult, maybe even impossible, for you for some reason
that doesn't apply to others.
2) Although you may feel like it, you haven't put nearly as much time or effort into this language as you have with
other languages that you've learned to fluency.
3) You have sabotaged yourself with your bad attitude, or some other psychological weakness that keeps you from
getting the same return per hour that you got on other languages
4) There is something wrong with your learning plan and execution.

Probably the only thing we could help you out with would be 4). But that would require you giving a detailed description of
what you've done to learn this language.

Edited by leosmith on 02 July 2011 at 7:04am

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Po-ru
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3590 days ago

173 posts - 235 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: Korean, Spanish, Norwegian, Mandarin, French

 
 Message 30 of 131
02 July 2011 at 7:34am | IP Logged 
I am not going to read all 30 messages, just the OP. Korean is undoubtedly one of the
most challenging languages for English speakers to learn. Phonetically, lexically, and
grammatically, it is drastically different.

However, with strong dedication and putting in the time, myself and others on this forum
have seen the great results. Not many Westerns get to a huge level of fluency in Korean
and there's no wonder why. However, through constant practice one will certainly pay off
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Ojorolla
Diglot
Groupie
France
Joined 3075 days ago

90 posts - 130 votes 
Speaks: French*, English

 
 Message 31 of 131
02 July 2011 at 2:01pm | IP Logged 
vientito wrote:
Then you will hit a wall because without knowledge of what the
underlying meaning and logics of these sounds you will be stuck forever at memorization
of the units, without the ability of creating meaningful units yourself.


Slightly off topic, but anyways - In principle, you can guess what a word unknown to you means with your prior knowledge of vocabulary, but not create meaningful units yourself. As in any other language, you can create groups of words or sentences with known words, but not create individual words, just because they are compound ideograms.

To the OP:
I wish you good luck learning Korean.

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ScottScheule
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
scheule.blogspot.com
Joined 3338 days ago

645 posts - 1176 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Latin, Hungarian, Biblical Hebrew, Old English, Russian, Swedish, German, Italian, French

 
 Message 32 of 131
02 July 2011 at 7:15pm | IP Logged 
Kitchen.Sink wrote:
Try to learn and listen to spoken Korean before you pop up in
threads with such haughtiness and condescension over a language you have not even
bothered to study. Indo-European languages do not compare adequately.


I'm sorry I came off as haughty and condescending. All I meant to say was that Korean
sandhi didn't sound that different from other languages to me--I'm entirely open to
learning how it's more difficult than it sounds.

Edited by ScottScheule on 02 July 2011 at 7:29pm



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