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The ’I Hate Korean’ Thread

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131 messages over 17 pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 1 ... 16 17 Next >>
Kitchen.Sink
Newbie
United States
Joined 4287 days ago

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

 
 Message 1 of 131
01 July 2011 at 3:16am | IP Logged 
I apologize. This is not a thread for constructive discourse or personal betterment.
No, this is a thread for us sorry suckers who tried our hands at the Korean language
and failed. This is a thread for whiners. If you are one such person and if you have
the humility to confess to your own failures; if you have not enough stubborn pride to
plow ahead with a fruitless, perplexing language, please, post here. Let me know that I
am not the only one.

I have studied many languages to varying degrees of fluency. French, Spanish, Swedish,
Japanese, and Mandarin I have all become fairly competent in. Nothing, however,
prepared me for the enigma that is Korean.

The various verb and noun endings seem almost infinite, the combinations numbering in
the hundreds, if not thousands, but this is not the reason why Korean is hard. The
sentences are backwards, but this not the reason why Korean is hard. There are a
minimum of two words for every meaning, native Korean and Sino-Korean, oftentimes many
more than two, and using the wrong one at the wrong time will not result in awkward
speech like mixing an Anglo-Saxon or Latin-based word in English, but rather, complete
incomprehension; but even this is not the reason why I find Korean so hard.

After months of thinking about it, the reason why I find Korean so difficult is not the
complex grammar or the massive list of vocabulary -- it is how Korean is spoken.

I cannot identify word boundaries. This is a subtle point that most language learners
overlook because it comes to us naturally. "Je m'appelle Francois", to hear this spoken
in French is not difficult. Even a man who knows no French can hear the word
boundaries, and by that, I mean, even if he does not know what "je" or "m'appelle"
means, he can identify them as words.

With Korean, however, words blend into one another and sounds, very important sounds,
get stifled under the breath of speakers who can mysteriously hear through all the
mumbling. I have listened to hundreds upon hundreds of hours of Korean radio.
Literally, I am not exaggerating this claim one bit. I have been listening to Korean
news radio nearly everyday for three or four years. And even after all that time and
effort I still can only make out a few words per day. That's right, a few words. Not
sentences, not excerpts: mere words. I have listened to Japanese and Mandarin news
radio for a fraction of that amount and can occasionally pick out sentences and can get
the gist of what is being said overall. Not so with Korean. With Korean, I am almost as
clueless as the day I started learning the language, so many years ago.

Anyone else find him or herself mired in the linguistic morass that some call Korean?
Feel free to talk about it here. I suppose, too, if you have some piece of stellar
advice that will help the rest of us overcome our hurdles with Korean, feel free to
share those too. After all, we've sunk so much time into this thankless language so
far, why not continue ahead like a beaten mule?

Edited by Kitchen.Sink on 01 July 2011 at 3:24am

22 persons have voted this message useful



Minya
Newbie
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3009 days ago

22 posts - 38 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese, Korean

 
 Message 2 of 131
01 July 2011 at 3:44am | IP Logged 
I think your first problem is being so negative. What makes you think it's a thankless language?
7 persons have voted this message useful



Kitchen.Sink
Newbie
United States
Joined 4287 days ago

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

 
 Message 3 of 131
01 July 2011 at 4:07am | IP Logged 
Because, as with any endeavor, there must be both reward and effort. Without the two,
there will be an imbalance. Reward without effort leads to complacency, and effort
without reward is a sign of insanity.

I have tried many approaches to language learning, all of which work in their various
ways. The comprehensible input method, as popularized by many sites nowadays, has
worked wonders for me with conventionally difficult languages, such as Japanese and
Chinese. No technique, however, has helped me make any breakthrough with Korean.

I would not describe my attitude as negative. It is a simple, humble admission of
failure; the kind so total that there is not even a foreseeable solution. I think the
last time I felt rewarded for my effort in learning Korean was when I learned the ins
and outs of hangul, with the various rules and exceptions, and was able to start
reading newspapers online. That was one of my first steps in Korean, and that was years
ago.

I deem Korean thankless based on the very subjective burn out that has arisen from my
fruitless studies. I did not mean it to be some absolute statement about the language
as a whole.
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Minya
Newbie
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3009 days ago

22 posts - 38 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese, Korean

 
 Message 4 of 131
01 July 2011 at 4:38am | IP Logged 
Oh okay. Hmmm...well what exactly is the problem you are having with the language?
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lichtrausch
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4067 days ago

525 posts - 1071 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Japanese
Studies: Korean, Mandarin

 
 Message 5 of 131
01 July 2011 at 5:41am | IP Logged 
All this talk about how Korean is the hardest language in the galaxy is making me want to learn it.
21 persons have voted this message useful



Beysic
Diglot
Newbie
United States
Joined 3173 days ago

20 posts - 39 votes
Speaks: English*, Mandarin
Studies: Japanese, Korean

 
 Message 6 of 131
01 July 2011 at 7:37am | IP Logged 
Just think about how fine Korean men are. If speaking to them isn't a reward, what is?

On a more serious note, I don't know if listening to news radio is such a good idea if you're prone to discouragement. The speed at which newscasters tend to speak combined with relatively sophisticated/specific vocabulary they have to use makes it incredibly hard to understand even after many years of study. I just came back from a year in China and I can still only understand what's being reported on and the main points, not the entirety of the broadcast. You really need to have to right attitude when you tackle something that hard, which can probably be said for Korean in general.

Oh, and funnily enough, I ordered a Korean textbook this morning and plan on beginning the language this summer :P


Edited by Beysic on 01 July 2011 at 7:47am

4 persons have voted this message useful



Kitchen.Sink
Newbie
United States
Joined 4287 days ago

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

 
 Message 7 of 131
01 July 2011 at 8:03am | IP Logged 
Beysic wrote:
I just came back from a year in China and I can still only understand
what's being reported on and the main points, not the entirety of the broadcast.


I would be very satisfied with this level of understanding after a year of Korean
study, but that has just not been the case. I studied Mandarin for four months, a mere
fraction of how long I have studied Korean, and I am at this same level of
comprehension as you. I can listen to Mandopop and get the gist of the lyrics and
listen to BBC Chinese and get a rough understanding of the main points. Speaking
Chinese is significantly easier than reading it. With Korean news, however, I am lucky
if I can pick out four or five words a newscast.

I don't want to discourage you from learning Korean. Go right ahead. I wish you the
best of times with it. I mean that sincerely. But I do advise listening to some Korean
news radio and then trying to pick out individual words or patterns, so that you know
exactly what you're getting into. It's a much deeper sea than you'd ever expect.
2 persons have voted this message useful



Minya
Newbie
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3009 days ago

22 posts - 38 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese, Korean

 
 Message 8 of 131
01 July 2011 at 8:12am | IP Logged 
Korean mennnnnn. <333333 The sexiest of asian men.

@lichtrausch I like the way you think. ;D That's one reason I started learning it.

Difficulty. But I really like how it looks written/typed. I have the cutest korean fonts, but I need to buy those keyboard stickers because it's impossible without them.



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