Japanese and Korean: Which is harder?

12 12 2006

I’m currently in my last course of Japanese and while I love this language, it is very difficult to learn. The pronounciation is simple enough as it is quite similar to Spanish pronounciation, but the grammar technicalities and complexities is just a lil’ bit difficult for me to pick up. Then again, for me, I have to try a bit harder than most people as I get easily distracted in the learning process. It doesn’t help, however, that Japanese is written in three different scripts, each with their own use and fairly even usage. One of those scripts is the Chinese script, or Kanji, which almost makes me want to forget learning the language altogether. Other than that, Japanese is a very nice language that will take time to master.

Then there is Korean. I’ve never formally taken Korean, but from what I’ve picked up from listening to Korean music, watching shows and movies, and also from my friends, it seems that the language is easier to learn just from hearing. I also learned Hangul, or the Korean script, in a matter of hours. Then is Korean easier than Japanese? Yes — and no.

Korean is definitely harder to pronounce. This is due to the more complex vowel system and also because it’s not limited in sound combinations as Japanese. Japanese is such a pain grammatically, especially the conjugation of just about everything in the language.

I  was reading this Japanese language blog written oddly enough by a Korean. An entry written about the Japanese language vs.  the Korean language gave me a better idea about their contrasting differences (and also similarities).

In terms of difficulty, I think Japanese and Korean are at about the same level. Some parts are harder for Korean while other parts are harder for Japanese. However, considering the larger number of sounds and the different particles in Korean, Japanese is definitely the easier language to start in. If you’re not good at distinguishing new sounds and pronunciations, you’re definitely going to have a hard time with Korean.

I believe him as he definitely has a way better grasp at Japanese than I do, and Korean because he’s well…Korean. I recommend reading his blog if you’re interested in both languages. He also created one of the best Japanese guides I’ve seen online here.

Well, I’ve procrastinated long enough. Back to studying for my Japanese final.

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3 responses

26 12 2009
Meriani

you are right. I have been trying to learn both japanese and korean language in like forever but i havent succeeded. The character in korean are easy to learn but the pronunciation is a pain in the butt. i love japanese language but the character is just too much. well i havent given up hope so i want to use my 2010 to learn both languages with great determination on my part.

2 03 2011
koreankoreaklan

Korean language in overall is easier then Japanese.

9 11 2011
Daisy

I learned japanese katakana and hiragana in about two months-and my friend learned hangul in one night.
Yes-that would make it seem like korean is way easier than japanese but the pronunciation is so much harder-also I think that japanese grammar is quite easy-all the verbs are only conjugated in four ways unlike languages like French and Spanish.
I’m not sure about Korean though-I’ll have to ask my friend -_-

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