East Asian (Con)Fusion

A while back, I ordered a few books off of Etsy.  My primary aim was a Japanese-English Bible, but it also came with the following other two books, so I figured I'd take the opportunity to try my hand at Japanese.  Unfortunately, that didn't last too long.
For one thing, I got sidetracked when this Japanese stuff renewed my interest in Korean, so I added a bunch of Korean-learning apps to my tablet (added a bunch of Japanese too of course), and even spent some time learning Hangul, then I came to my senses - deleted those apps, tore out the sheet I had written the Hangul on and decided to calm down.  I'm already either learning or dabbling in so many other languages as it is - and many of them fairly difficult (several Slavic languages and Lithuanian, for instance) that it seemed silly to add more, especially ones as complex as Japanese and Korean.

My short stint in Japanese and Korean wasn't all in vain, because I did learn a few things.  The Korean alphabet is called Hangul in South Korea.  There's also Hanji, which are Chinese characters used in Korean, but apparantly you can get by without learning them, unlike in Japanese, where you have to learn kanji if you want to get past a child's level in the language.  In fact, I've heard that if you only stuck with hiragana and katakana (Japanese has three alphabets - or "scripts" to be more accurate), you'd pretty much be limited to things like children's books.  That would be fine with me.  I'd feel pretty accomplished if I could even just read children's books in Japanese + I'm sure Japanese children's books are pretty cute.

I can at least wrap my head around written Korean somewhat better than Japanese script.  The letters/characters are arranged in nice little boxes or blocks - never got around to figuring out how that works, but I do like the look of printed Korean better than Japanese.  Also helped that the Korean language pack on my computer actually worked, unlike the one for Japanese.

Japanese is definitely more phonetic, making it easier to pronounce than Korean.  When seeing Japanese transliterated into Latin letters (known as romanji), the connection between what's spoken and written is much clearer than in transliterated Korean.  It's obvious that more time must be spent learning Korean pronunciation, as well as the fact Korean words look to be a lot lengthier than Japanese.

I don't know about the grammar.  I've been under the impression that Japanese is one of the hardest languages to learn (for pretty much anybody), but I've seen similar said about Korean.  I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume neither are exactly a breeze.  

Another thing I will always remember is that questions in Japanese end in desu ka?  I also like Japanese classical music (really Oriental classical music in general), some of which I added to my Spotify.  And who knows, maybe I will at least learn how to say certain phrases in Japanese and Korean.  Finally, a little over ten years ago, I had a gerbil who I gave the Japanese name Sumiko.  Her companion was named Antoinette. :)


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