Which is harder? Japanese or Korean?

In my previous post, I compared the difficulty of Japanese and (Mandarin) Chinese by looking at several aspects of the two languages. As I suspected, this drew out a large number of responses (or at least larger than what I’m used to in any case). However, I was surprised to see how civilized and thoughtful the comments turned out to be. So, I decided to do another language comparison, this time with Japanese and Korean. Before I start, I’d like to mention what I write here is strictly my observations and may not be entirely accurate.


It is often said that Japanese and Korean are very similar languages. Now this is true to some extent but you can’t forget that Japanese and Korean have completely different writing systems and more importantly, the sounds that go along with them.

With the exception of the /z/ consonant sounds (which Koreans usually can’t pronounce), the sounds in the Korean language are a superset of the sounds in Japanese. This means that in order to learn Korean, you not only have to learn most of the sounds in Japanese but also additional sounds, many whose difference I can’t even tell. This, I think, is the strongest argument for Korean being the harder language to learn. Because anytime somebody wants to try out a Korean phrase learned from a friend, I need to have it repeated about 5 or 6 six before I can tell what he is trying to say. And even then, it’s an educated guess at best.

With Japanese, though you sound like crap without the proper pitches, you can still make yourself understood with even the worst accents (most of the time).

The writing system

Now the comparison get more difficult because Koreans have invented an ingenious little writing system called hangul to cleverly handle all those different sounds in Korean.

For Japanese, you have to memorize 46 separate characters (not including the obsolete characters) for each individual sound. Since you have both hiragana and katakana, that amounts to a total of 92 characters that you have to memorize just to write 46 sounds. If you count the voiced consonants, small 「や、ゆ、よ」, etc., you only get a total of 102 sounds for learning 92 characters. That’s not a lot of mileage.

With hangul, you learn consonants and vowels separately and match them up like legos. You can combine up to a maximum of three consonants and one vowel. For example, if you learn 4 consonants and 4 vowels, you can combine each consonant to the vowel to get 4×4=16 letters. You can also add yet another consonant to each of these letters to get an additional 16×4=64 letters. You can even add yet another consonant though the possible combinations are a bit limited for the fourth consonant. If you consider the fact that hangul has a total of 19 consonants and 21 vowels, you can appreciate just how many sounds Korean has over Japanese. In fact, I don’t even know the total number of letters in hangul. Imagine what a nightmare it would be if you had to memorize a separate character for each sound!

A sample of hangul
Consonants: ㄱ(g),ㄴ(n),ㄷ(d),ㄹ(r)
Vowels:ㅏ(a), ㅓ(uh), ㅗ(o), ㅜ(u)

Possible combinations include:
나(na), 너(nuh), 노(no), 누(nu)
다(da), 더(duh), 도(do), 두(du)
라(ra), 러(ruh), 로(ro), 루(ru)
각(gag), 간(gan), 갇(gad), 갈(gar)
각(gag), 간(gan), 갇(gad), 갈(gar)
곡(gog), 곤(gohn), 곧(gohd), 골(gohr)
국(gug), 군(guhn), 굳(guhd), 굴(guhr)
낙(nag), 난(nan), 낟(nad), 날(nar)… etc.

Hangul, like the English alphabet allows you to write a lot more sounds with a smaller number of characters while still maintaining the unambiguous 1 letter = 1 sound aspect of Japanese. You may be thinking that in the end, all this means is that there are a lot more sounds and more letters to go with them. How does this make Korean easier than Japanese, which doesn’t need to deal with all these extra sounds to begin with? And my reply to that is, you don’t need hanja (kanji) in Korean.

In Japanese, due to the limited five-vowel, consonant+vowel sounds (with the only exception of 「ん」), a lot of words end up with the same pronunciation. For instance 「生」 and 「正」 are both 「せい」 in Japanese. However, the original Chinese pronunciation for 生 is “sheng” and “zheng” for 正. Similarly, in Korean 「生」 is “생” (seng) and “정” (juhng) in Korean. Japanese doesn’t even have a “uh” or “ng” sound. Let’s compare more kanji with the 「せい」 reading with the Korean version.

Kanji Japanese Korean

As you can see, out of seven characters that have the same reading in Japanese, you get a total of five different pronunciations in Korean, three of which do not even exist in Japanese. Most importantly, Korean has just one letter and one sound for each character just like Chinese. In Japanese, you often get two or even three letters because one wasn’t enough to pronounce all the consonants and vowels. What you end up in Japanese is a bunch of repeating, long, and hardly decipherable text without kanji.

I get a headache from just looking at this

Even with spaces, it’s not much improvement
しょうがく ごねんせいに しんきゅうした さいだいの メリットは、おとなの つごうで ちゅうがくせいとも こうがくねんとも よばれる ちゅうぶらりんの よねんせいから かいほうされて、どっしり こうがくねんの ざに こしを すえられることだった。

With hangul, because you have a lot more letters, the visual cues are a lot more distinct and there are fewer homophones. However, because the visual cues are not quite as clear as Chinese characters, you do have to learn where to put spaces. I think it’s a small price to pay for not having to learn 2000-3000 Chinese characters, don’t you?

You don’t need kanji/hanja in Korean because of the increased visual cues. But you do need spaces.

외모가 뛰어난 학생들이 그렇지 않은 학생들보다 학업 성적이 뛰어난 것으로 밝혀졌다고 10일 선데이 타임스, 데일리 메일 등의 언론이 이탈리아 연구팀의 연구 결과를 인용 보도했다.
(from naver.com)

I think it’s ridiculous when Japanese teachers don’t teach their students kanji or when somebody says that you don’t need to learn it. Yeah, you don’t have to learn it if you don’t mind being illiterate. Books, signs, restaurant menus, computers, everything has kanji in it and you don’t get the furigana either. But in Korea, you really don’t need to learn Chinese characters at all. Sometimes you might see it in parantheses on signs next to the hangul and newspapers may use some very simple characters such as 大 or 現 but it’s a supplement to hangul instead of the other way around. Just compare Yahoo! Korea to Yahoo! Japan. Not a single Chinese character in Yahoo! Korea. Yahoo! Japan? Too many to count.

Bottom line: In terms of simplicity in writing and reading the language, Korean wins hands down. Well-played Sejong the Great, well-played.


So far, it seems like Japanese and Korean are totally different. So what the heck was I talking about when I mentioned that they were similar? Well, why don’t we take a look at how to say, “I went to school at 7:00.”

Japanese: 私は7時に学校に行った。
Korean: 나는 7시에 학교에 갔어.

Can’t see the similarity? Ok, why don’t we add spaces to the Japanese, replace the Korean with hanja, and use the same style for the characters.

私は 7時に 學校に 行った。
나는 7時에 學校에 갔어.

As you can see, the sentence structure is exactly the same. Indeed, Korean and Japanese grammar has the same general ideas including particles and the main verb always being at the end of the sentence. However, that’s like saying French and English grammar are the same. Once you get into the details, you’ll find all sorts of stuff that are completely different. Let’s take a look at a few examples.


Particles in Korean are what you get if a bunch of people were to get together and say, “Hmm… Japanese particles are just too easy to understand. How do we make it harder to yet again confound those silly foreigners.” Then one of them will go, “I got it! Let’s change the particle depending on what comes before it!” Then the rest will go, “Oooh, that’s good.”

That’s basically how Korean works. The 「が」 particle in Japanese is either “가” or “이” depending on what it is attached to. The 「は」 particle is “은” or “는”, 「を」 is either “을” or “를”, and 「で」 is “로” or “으로”. Japanese students can now proceed to laugh at fellow students who chose to learn Korean instead.


Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about Korean conjugation rules to really accurately compare the two languages in this regard. However, I do know one big difference is that Korean does have a future tense unlike Japanese. Also, I give you this entertaining excerpt from this site.

Past tense is another easy verb tense. Here is the basic pattern.

1.Take the dictionary form, drop the 다
2.Add the ending 어 or 아, which makes it the casual form (everything but the 요 at the end)
3. Add ㅆ under the last syllable
4. Add 어요 on the end.

먹 + 어 – 먹어
먹어 + ㅆ – 먹었
먹었 + 어요 = 먹었어요.

마시 + 어 – 마셔
마셔 + ㅆ – 마셨
마셨 + 어요 = 마셨어요

마시 + 어 = 마셔? I mean 마시 + 어 = 마시어 makes sense but 마셔? I don’t think my math is good enough to understand that. Also, notice how it says, “Add the ending 어 or 아” but neglects to mention how to decide which one to add. I’m sorry but this doesn’t look easy to me at all. But then again, when you have Japanese conjugation tables that look like this, maybe I shouldn’t complain.


Yep, both languages have them. And yes, it’s totally confusing for both languages.


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.

In particular, that fourth consonant can get really silly. For instance, the word for chicken is “닭”, made up of ㄷ(d),ㅏ(a), ㄹ(r), ㄱ(g), and it’s supposed to sound something like “darg” but I can’t even hear the /r/ sound. And “없어” is supposed to sound like “uhbs uh” but to me, it sounds exactly the same as “uhb suh” (업서). Really, it’s just ridiculous.

However, once you master all the sounds and the basic grammar in Korean, you’re in for smoother ride the rest of the way. While Japanese students will be struggling with four different types of conditionals, looking furiously in the dictionary for the readings of 「大人」, 「仲人」, 「気質」, and 「問屋」, and trying to remember if it was 「静かな」 or 「静な」, you’ll be just sailing right by enjoying the benefits of having only one letter and reading for each Chinese character. You don’t even have to learn them, if you don’t want to.

84 thoughts on “Which is harder? Japanese or Korean?

  1. So I just had to go look at Yahoo Korea for fun. I did see one kanji (er, hanja) there: 美. Also, I wonder what the state of hanja use is in North Korea and the Korean-speaking population in China.

    At any rate, interesting article. I’m constantly tempted to learn the basics because there’s so much material for learning Korean here in Japan, and the grammar must certainly be easier for someone who’s studied Japanese.

    • Well that 美 means “beauty” ish I believe in chinese/korean.

      I am not sure about in China, I’d believe it’s the same, but 美 means the United States of America.

      with the hanja that means country – 國 – 美國 means the United States of America, which directly means “Beautiful Country”

      Basically, 美 is there to mean the United States of America.

      Because Yahoo! is an American company, I believe they had to show their copyrights and other stuff, it has nothing to do with the korean language itself. Country names such as America (美) is often written in chinese letters and it is very common and most if not all understands it.

      For example 英(Great Britain) 中(China) 獨(Germany), etc.

  2. I don’t know about North Korea I believe that South Koreans are taught hanja now. But there was a period where it wasn’t taught at all for nationalistic reasons. In any case, you don’t need to know any to get by in everyday life.

  3. I haven’t been to this site in a month or so and I was quite excited by your post. I have learned Chinese, Korean and Japanese to varying levels within the past 3 years, so I feel that while I am slightly inebriated at the moment, I can give you folks an idea of a few of the differences. This may take a while to spell out and probably won’t be as clear as it sounds in my head as I type it, but a few of you may find it interesting. Seriously, this will be a long post. If you are really into languages, read on. Really though, this will be super long! And possibly incoherent at times…sorry.

    First, some background. I have lived in Thailand for about 3 years now. I had gotten interested in languages a year or 2 before that, but I hadn’t gotten serious until I got here. I spent much of my free time (which was almost all of my time) in the beginning studying Thai. After a couple months I signed up with a friend for a 3 hours (1.5 on sat/sun) Japanese class that was supposed to be for kids. It used the “Japanese for Young People” book (same people who made J for Busy P). After about 9 months I entered a uni that had just opened an international program. I was feeling serious about Japanese and I wanted to learn in an environment that was closer to full-time. I signed up at the uni and took an exemption test to skip the first semester of Japanese and I entered Japanese II with a bunch of other international students. I was a bit ahead of the class, but I still picked up a lot that term.

    Speeding things along, the next semester, the teacher was simply amazing. Whereas Japanese II had 15 people, J III had 3. Of the 3 of us, 2 really wanted to learn. The teacher was flexible on schedule, learning styles, and anything else that we came up with. I took in so much that term. For the mid term, we had to write an essay on how we would teach the class if we were the teacher. So we wrote essays that fit our learning-styles and she incorporated a number of my ideas in later lessons.

    Fast forward – I got accepted to a study abroad prog from Thailand to Australia (I’m American). I went to Melbourne and studied every language the school had: Chinese, Arabic and Indonesian. On top of that I frequented out English clubs and Japanese clubs so I could keep up with other stuffs.

    Sorry – I just realized how long this was becoming. In Australia, I learned to read/write hangul in about 2-3 hours one day in Melbourne. It is so easy and efficient! I was singing Korean karaoke the same night! Admittedly it took a little while to learn the exceptions and the way that the last part of a ‘character’ can often carry over to the open vowel of the next… but thats nothing compared to the time involved in learning to read/write Chinese and Japanese.

    Um – Sorry again for this being so long. I just was just trying to establish some credibility.

    I speak, albeit at varying levels, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. Three years ago, I didn’t know a word of any of these languages. I haven’t studied Korean nearly as long as I’ve studied Japanese, but I have noticed a number of important points.

    First, as was mentioned in the above post, Korean is considerably harder to pronounce and therefore beging to register those foreign sounds for the listener. That took me a while. The sounds of Japanese are easy. However, reading and writing require quite a bit of time. Korean grammar is much like Japanese grammar. The order is the same. My time studying Japanese has made Korean a cinch to learn. There are exceptions, but **Wait! I am getting off my points!

    Every language is easy!!! That is what I have discovered. This is what I want to stress to you. Method is key. Everybody wastes time and money in crappy situations with crappy schools and crappy teachers. Even if one of those 3 is good, it isn’t always enough to really show you how to learn a language.

    I have never been to Japan or China, but I speak Japanese and Chinese. I wouldn’t say fluent, but I would say I could handle a number of situations to the point where I can fake fluency. Or talk myself out of a situation which also ends up faking fluency.

    I have discovered that fluency is an endless process. I feel I am fluent in Thai sometimes, but I know deep down that I’m not. The definition of fluency is pretty strict. I speak 5 languages, but I am fluent in 1. I often refer to myself as a language monkey. I am often pressed to perform as people can’t believe that I can speak all of these languages. But it is my firm belief that anyone can do as I have done (with or w/o multiple languages) in the same period of time (or less).

    Our first opponent is ourselves. That isn’t entirely true. Let me say it differently. The biggest obstacle is that it gets pounded into our minds by others in the ‘language community’ that such and such language is hard to learn. That is crap. Tonal languages for example. It will take some time to get used to the added dimension to a language, but the grammar of all tonal langauges (that I am aware of anyways..) are far less complicated in grammar than any Western language. It takes time to make up the difference, but the time required doesn’t compare to what it takes to learn to read and write Chinese characters. China, Korea and Japan…they all write/use them differently. But if you can learn one (language) the rest come easy.

    **Now I focus on Chinese and Korean as far as classes go and I am on break from Japanese classes (because I can’t find a teacher that doesn’t suck…) while I work through Heisig’s RTK Book 1 (I’m in the 700s). My Chinese teacher is decent, and my Korean teacher is great. Why? Because they listen to my suggestions. I speak Thai fairly fluently, and all the students are Thai aside from me. Since the books tend to be Eng/Chin or Eng/Korean…or Eng/Jap.. I am the guy that has to figure out how to explain how to back translate a concept from Chin/Eng to Eng/Thai or what-not.

    The Heisig method for learning kanji has been both a boon and a bane in my Chinese studies. On one hand, when I encounter a character that Japanese doesn’t use but has obvious primitives, I give the class a quick story and they all laugh and think I’m crazy, but they all remember the character. The other times are when the teacher points out some new character and asks what it means…I respond with the Heisig keyword to everyones suprise (thought not always – the meaning doesn’t always apply to Chinese). The problems arise when I try to Chinese-ify the stories from Heisig. It works often, but I feel like I reach overload status.

    On the other hand,

    Since I got back from Australia, my Uni has yet to offer a language class anywhere close to my level. I am forced to study part-time and privately to progress. But I don’t have the discipline to do it alone. Few of us do. If we can’t find the ideal learning environment, we must create it!

    I apologize for the length and general incoherence that may have arose from this post.

    I hope that somewhere in the above mess, someone noticed or was curious about where I was going with a point before it became lost in alcohol. If that is the case, please respond. I have much to say, but I am drained for now.

    Language is easy. The problem isn’t you. The problem probably isn’t your teacher or your background/education/family/whatever (but these do matter!!!). The problem comes from your methods.

    Finally, I apologize profusely for this slightly drunken post. I could go on, but I think its safer to stop here so you can rest your eyes.

    • Thank you for such an awesome post, even if it was posted eight years ago LOL. I really enjoyed it and it has given me some motivation!

    • I wish I could go back in time and tell this poster about WaniKani – the best resource for learning kanji ever! I actually find kanji very easy and have devoted much less time to grammar. It actually makes learning vocab and other things way easier because I can already see the kanji for it in my head and know what the sentence would look like. After learning about 300 kanji and lots of related vocabulary in less than 6 months, I need to spend more time on my speaking practice lol

  4. Gwindarr –
    I completely agree with what you are trying to convey. Learning a language is simple if you look past all the crap people tell you about it being difficult/impossible. What really gets to me is when a teacher tells the class “this is going to be really hard and you guys probably won’t understand this…” This kind of teaching gives the students an excuse to slack off and tell themselves that they aren’t smart enough to learn the language in the first place. Complete BS. If a teacher really wanted his or her students to succeed, he or she would encourage discipline and emphasize the need to study and begin talking with native speakers.

  5. Very interesting!

    I am curious about Korean, and this post and the comments have given me an interesting insight on the language – it seems rather easy to learn with a background in Japanese.
    In order to help improve my Japanese at the same time, I think I will research and study Korean a little, through Japanese. Unfortunately, I’m not good at searching the web in Japanese yet, so if anyone knows of any Japanese sites about learning Korean, 教えてください!

    Gwindarr – I agree with your views.
    Your post was very informative, do not apologise for the length! Short posts like mine are disappointingly informationless :p

    • Talktomeinkorean.com is a very good site to help learn korean and a lot of their material is free.

  6. i was going to try learning korean while learning japanese, then i was like, nah i like japanese better, i ll just focus there.

  7. I see no need to apologize for this post. The last was drunken in a guilty state of mind. This one is sober (so far anyways!).

    Anyways, in about 6 months with a private teacher (3 times a week for 1-2 hours) my level of Korean, in regards to conversational ability, is about the same as my Japanese after 1.5+ years. As for reading/writing and vocabulary, Japanese certainly wins out due to the sheer number of hours spent.

    I could probably argue either way whether Japanese or Korean has harder grammar, but whats the point of that? You shouldn’t study a language because other people tell you its easier or more useful. Study a language because you want to be able to speak it. Because you want to communicate in the native language of your friends, g/bfriends or it will help you progress in your particular career, lifestyle, hobbies, etc.

    The first thing I tell any of my students or anybody else who whines that learning a language is difficult is that if a Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Thai/Burmese/ Etc baby can learn the language, then so can you!

    While learning a new language, you will inevitably fine your previously confident self reduced to the babbling incoherence of an infant learning to speak. There isn’t anything wrong with that. The baby/child goes through the same process. Of course, it has no anxieties or past experiences to compare it to, nor does it have any other language to fall back on other than nonsensical sounds (unless baby-talk is a valid language anyways).

    The second thing I point out is that no language is truly difficult. No matter which one you learn, it will take a while. It will take forever. You will probably die before coming anywhere close to a native speaker in terms of fluency. But is that really enough to stop you? You don’t need to be the best. In fact, you can’t! With all the time I spend on these other languages in a country where the level of English tends to be a bit below par to say the least (Thailand), I know that I can never equal to a native speaker. But the rewards for even covering a fraction of that distance are immense.

    Which of the following is most important in learning a language?
    -perfect pronunciation
    -perfect grammar
    -mastery of vocabulary

    None of those of course. Communication is the key. If I understand what you are trying to say, then you are already on your way. You can fix up your inabilty to sound native over time.

    If you can’t find your own way, then try everybody elses until you find something that works. Once you’ve learned a 2nd language, the rest come much easier. All your previous mistakes become clear.

  8. Hi Tae Kim,

    Great article again.

    I couldn’t agree with you that you don’t need to learn any hanja to learn korean.

    Frankly speaking the visual cue in a pure hangul Korean article is so much less than any average Japanese article. The reason for this is obviously the kanji or hanja. Due the kanji, I can immediate have a clue about the article at a glance without attentively reading it. However, for Korean, I got less clue with just a glance, I have to put in more attention to get the same amount of information. Conclusion, if the koreans have used a mixed of hangul and hanja, it will be so much easier to read. This is the case, when I read korean articles with hangul and hanja mixed together, it is really fantastic, really, I love it. We can’t deny the fact that hanja give a lot of visual cue. Having said that, does chinese langauge with a bunch of hanzi give me more visual cue? The answer is no, it probably give me the same amount of visual cue as japanese. Because visual cue usually come from the gist of the article, and if those gist words are written in kanji, than the rest of it are not so important. Whether or not it is written in kanji is no longer important.

    Why do we need to learn hanja if we learn korean, here is one example: 배, this is pronounced as “pae”, nearly the same as the english pronouciation of “pear”, and it means pear also. However, it can mean “ship”, “x times(倍)”, “cup(杯)”,”embryo(胚)”, without the hanja, 배 is just so ambigious and more importantly, there is no visual cue.

    Another reason to learn hanja, if you go to korea, you will see a lot of hanja here and there on those ancient buildings, without learning it you will not know the meaning of it . Also to have a good grasp of korean language and history, you better know hanja.

    Sorry to say this, but Korean nationalism can be extremely annoying sometime. Japanese language uses kanji don’t make it less Japanese, it is still 100% Japanese. However, it seems that a lot of nationalistic korean people don’t see it this way.

    • I am sorry but please stop talking with so much arrogance and ignorance.

      The reason for Koreans not using isn’t – at least purely – because they are anti-China and they have great nationalism.

      It’s because the whole point of Sejong the Great making a whole new language for the people of Joseon (Name of the kingdom before the creation of the new Republic of Korea) was because the grand and vague Chinese language, Hanja was way too difficult. You have to understand that many people in China who aren’t educated enough are lot of times illiterate because Hanja is way too complicated.

      Sejong created a brand new writing system – Hangul – for the commoners, despite the fact that people of the Korean peninsula has been using the Chinese language system – Hanja for THOUSANDS of years. (Beginning from the creation of Hanja from the Han Dynasty through the Koguryo, Bakjae, Shilla – three kingdom period – Koryo kingdom – Joseon kingdom) Yet, until the late 1800’s many Korean nobles were still using Hanja. Hangul was only commonly used among the commoners.

      Well, I went off track, but basically, the nonusage of the Hanja isn’t because Koreans are so nationalistic and they are anti-China so they deny to use anything related to them, alright? It was through long periods of history and with rightful reasons that the Koreans decided to only, majorly use Hangul. Still, many books and newspapers use Hanja anyways.

      As a Korean, and if you were one too, those “배” problems are really nothing. You would know what they are talking about when you are talking about them. It’s like the french’s imperfects and passe composes.

      So please don’t go around and say “Oh, Koreans are so nationalistic that they don’t even use a great mechanism blah blah blah” if you really do not know and understand nothing.

      • at being said, studying hanja does help with Korean, the same way that Latin roots help in learning English. For example, based on the kanji for volcano: 火山 (かざん), I was able to figure out the Korean word for volcano: 화산, based off the fact that 火=화 and 山=산. Because of the hanja/kanji, I’m able to make a generally accurate guess for the Korean equivalent of a Japanese word.

  9. I agree that learning hanja can be very helpful for learning Korean especially if you already know them from Japanese or Chinese. However, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s not absolutely essential. Sure maybe you won’t be able to read hanja on ancient buildings but I think it’s a sharp contrast to Japanese, where you can’t read a simple menu or a map.

    While you make some valid points on the advantages of hanja over hangul, that doesn’t change the fact that almost everything is currently written in hangul in S. Korea. Unless that changes, hanja is simply not necessary to learn Korean.

    After all, the same things can be said about English. It’s not as easy to scan and the visual cues are not as strong but people still use it. And you can get better at scanning with practice, speed reading techiniques, etc.

  10. Hi Tae Kim,

    You are right. Almost everything is written in hangul now. One can really get away with it without any knowledege of hanja.

    Sometimes, I feel sad for Korean people, because a lot younger Korean people couldn’t read hanja effectively. This makes them unable to understand and appreciate their own culture effectively.

    Here is one example. One time, I saw a Chinese caligraphy in my Korean friend house. I thought it was from China. So I asked him if he got it from China. But he told me he got it from Korea. The next thing he said was what really struck me. He said those words there have no meaning, and are simply created for the sake of writing it only. I was shocked when he said this. I told him that every words there has a meaning to it, and every words there is really a hanja. He seems to feel embarassed and shocked when I said this. So I took sometime and explain every words there for him.

    When he told me that caligraphy was from Korea, I was actually expecting him to explain it to me in the Korean context, from the Korean point of view. Unfortunately, it was the other way round. That is why I feel sad.

  11. In response to an email I received, I’d like to clarify that at no point do I claim that Korean comes from Japanese. I was joking about people getting together, taking Japanese particles, and making them harder for Korean. Of course, nobody got together to invent particles for Korean. And I didn’t mean to imply that the additional Korean sounds were built on top of Japanese. In all likelihood, the additional sounds are probably more related to Chinese and the sounds in Japanese were probably simplified. I am, in no way, a linguistic historian however so my opinion is as good as anybody else’s.

  12. I think Korean is easier to learn, since i AM south korean. but, korean and japanese has VERY similar pronounciations, and i know cuz my mom whose s.korean took japanese for five years. but i think writing korean is way easier to write than japanese and chinese, cuz korean, it’s just circles, squares, and just sticks. my american friends can copy my korean very well(like a first grader, but, hey, its their first try!)

  13. haha, you’re article made me laugh xD
    I took 4 Japanese classes before starting on Korean, and I agree hands down on your point on comparing particles hahaha
    Whenever I learn a new one in class, I’ll go “oh, this is like で” but noo I scroll down the page and it changes with the consonant/vowel! D:.o

    The other thing that bothers me in Korean is reading. You can sorta scan something with a buncha kanji, but with hangul you sorta gotta READ it. But, it’ll all come in time =) just like the English language scanning ^.-

    I’m also intersted in taking up Chinese too so, I’m gonna go read your Chinese comparison now. Thank you for blogging, Tae Kim! =D

  14. I can sort of explain the past tense conjugation. If you a verb stem ending in ㅗ or ㅏ, then 아 is added. For everything else, 어 is added. For the verb 하다, 여 is added. Now the tricky part: If the verb stems ends with a consonant, like 읽다, you simply add the 어 and it becomes 읽었어요. But if the verb stem ends in a mono-vowel, like 마시다, you fuse the vowel sound of 어 with the 시. Notice that if you say these vowel sounds in succession really fast (shi-o, shio, shyo), it turns into the shyo sound, or 셔. Therefore, its 머셨어요. Hope this helps!

  15. Thanks Ben for the effort, but I still don’t get it.

    For 하다, why does the vowel change to ㅐ? -> 했어요
    Or why is the past tense of 보다 become 봤어요? Is this a fusing of ㅗ and ㅏ? All this fusing of vowel sounds is confusing.

    By the way, I think you meant to write 마셨어요.

  16. Actually there 3 verb types ,

    Type 1 verbs – ㅏ and ㅗ
    Type 2 verbs – all other vowels
    Type 3 verbs – ㅎ(해)

    Simple present tense of these verbs

    Type 1 Simple present tense

    가다 = to go
    when you add 아요 , it makes the verb present tense

    (drop the 다) 가+아요 = 가아요 which CONTRACTS to 가요 because there are 2 ㅏ vowel sounds

    Korean is very logical and so easy to learn

    살다=to live

    (drop the 다) 살+아요 = 살아요

    It doesnt not CONTRACT to 살요 because there is a final consonant( ㄹ ) . It makes the sentence sound like music and smooth . That is why everything is modified because Hangul wants you to enjoy the sounds , so this is music .

    (o da)오다=to come

    (drop the 다) 오+아요=오아요 which contracts to 와요 ( see the two vowels that you can put together~? )

    (오+아=와 )
    and 와 is a COMPOUND vowel in Hangul~!! so its sound is WAH.

    So its Wah yo .

    type 2 simple present tense

    배우다= to learn

    ( drop the 다 ) 배우+어요=배워요 ( 우+어=워 )

    워 is a COMPUND VOWEL so its sound is Weo( wuh )

    마시다=to drink

    ( drop the 다 ) 마시+어요=마셔요

    시 sounds like Shi
    어 sounds like Eo ( uh )
    셔 sounds like Sheo ( shuh )

    so 마셔요

    다니다=to attend

    (drop 다) 다니+어요=다녀요

    니 sounds like Ni
    어 sounds like Eo ( uh )
    녀 sounds like Nyeo ( Nyuh )

    so 다녀요

    Type 3 verb simple present tense

    Anything that ends with the consonant ㅎ whether it be 하호혀혜

    it changes to 해

    공부하다= to study

    공부해요= studying,study,studys


  17. Da jia hao. Great articles ne. It looks like everyone is a linguistic! I was so surprised you guys making comparisons between chinese, japanese and korean in [[english]]!Amazing! Mr.Gwindarr, your articles make a lot sense. I wonder what is the next step I mean your goal of the languages you are learning. Yes, there is no limit of learning a extra language.But when it comes to you have no place to use them (except you move to the country which speaking that language you want to master), what is the thing (reason, purpose)to stimulate you to carry on? I’ve been living and studying in Japan for 6 years and working at a company where i can rarely speak chinese (my native language) and english. Wait a minute, i forgot my point… Um, my point is to learn a foreign language is easy but to keep on attracted to it is TOO difficult. I may sound ‘xi xin yan jiu’, but can any body tell me the 秘訣 of learning a foreign language?
    For me, personally i think japanese language is very easy but it also depends on what level you want to be. The reason is japanese is a mixed language. It has kanji(漢字)(imitated chinese character), katakana(カタカナ)(imitated the pronunciation from english), only hiragana(ひらがな)is original… Wait, I dont mean to take a critical attitude toward  日本語, im just trying to say it is easy to learn for a person from 漢字圏…sorry, 何を言いたかったか忘れた。I’m lost again…

  18. When I watch a Korean movie I find it much easier to understand what they’re saying than when I watch a Japanese movie. Sometimes I wonder why this is…

  19. Knowledge of 漢字 is essential to really understand spoken and written Korean, and the gradual ‘abolition’ of 漢字 in Korea is calamitous.

  20. About Japanese advantage

    I think Japanese language is easy to get the infomation from the book.
    there are meny gairaigo.
    for example 電脳 in chinese.
    it is easy to change it the katakana.
    so i think it is difficult to study ultra-fine field in chinese and korean.
    hangul does not have a concept like kanji.
    they must read the sound because of phonetic symbol

    that is why i think there is a Japan’s success for modernization.

    It is easy for Japanese language to get the chinese and western concept.

  21. I have started studying Korean officially in a class now, though I studied independently for one year before that. I wanted to try to study it in Japanese, because that would kill 2 birds with one stone… while I was learning new Korean grammar, I could also improve my Japanese along with it. Since Japanese and Korean grammar ARE similar, it just made more sense to me to study Korean in Japanese. Now, don’t get me wrong, my Korean class is in English… as I AM in America, but I have bought a book called 韓国語文法辞典, which is a fairly comprehensive guide to quite a bit of Korean grammar. They explain some things in the beginning, but a good portion of the book is literally a look-up. Don’t know what ~기 means? Find it in the book and look it up, and it gives you explanations and sample sentences. It has quite a bit of grammar, and since the book is written in Japanese, you can easily see the grammatical similarities between the two languages, and if two words are similar (probably because they both have Chinese origins) you can see it right there and it might help you to remember the Korean word… like how 취미 sounds like 趣味. It’s kind of like a pnemonic device that helps you remember the word because it is similar. So I highly recommend the book. Here is a link to it: http://www.amazon.co.jp/%E9%9F%93%E5%9B%BD%E8%AA%9E%E6%96%87%E6%B3%95%E8%BE%9E%E5%85%B8-%E7%99%BD-%E5%B3%B0%E5%AD%90/dp/4384002246/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1220661279&sr=8-1  Since Amazon shipping is so expensive, I actually shipped it to my friend’s house in Japan and when she came back to America after Christmas break had her bring it back for me.
    Anyway, to get back on subject…. really, the similarity between Japanese and Korean will facilitate you either way. So how can you really judge which is harder unless from day one you learn them at exactly the same rate at the same time? I personally reckon that… like Tae Kim said, Korean is harder to start with but easier in the end, because it doesn’t use hanja so much anymore. To me at least, writing in Japanese is the one thing that makes it take so terribly long to learn, Chinese being even worse. I struggle to dickens with Korean pronunciation, but I’m sure in the end it’s going to be a small thing compared to the tradeoff of HAVING to learn all those illogical Japanese characters (don’t get me wrong, I love Japanese regardless). The one thing about Korean Tae Kim didn’t really factor into his comparison is all the politeness verb conjugations and how you always have to know which to use and whether to conjugate the honorific 세/시 directly into the verb to honor the other speaker on top of that. For a beginner it’s a lot to think about! Just another thing making Korean more difficult in the beginning… it still seems simpler than 敬語 though, because it seems like more systematic (one way to say this for this particular politeness level.. not a bunch of styles and you pick one) and it is more common than keigo since they do it all the time, so I’d think it’d be easier to remember in the end. But in the beginning it certainly complicates things. I think a lot of people doing Korean might end up shying away from it and switching to Japanese because Japanese seems easier, but ultimately in the end they would find if they DID stick it out Korean would be the easier one. I guess it all depends. All I know is I REALLY want to learn both… I just started my first year of college and I’m in Japanese 401 and Korean 101 right now… it’s gonna be a fun year, I’m sure. 🙂

  22. Here’s a great site for Korean audiobooks: Audien.com

    You can get half an audiobook for 800 won (less than a US dollar). They are high, professional quality, too.

  23. hello everybody!!!I started university last week and chose JAPANESE and CHINESE(my faculty is cultural and linguistic mediation)…Do you guys think there could be a good way to study both the two, for ex by comparing some aspects and so on…please give me advices!!!
    sorry for my bad English

  24. Great post. I grew up speaking Korean and English. Now I live in Japan and speak Japanese too. More Koreans can learn Japanese faster than Japanese learning Korean. Of course the Japanese writing system is hell. Hangul rules, but for the beginner it can be hard to pronounce certain sounds. I am glad I grew up speaking the language.

    Be checking this block more and more.

  25. The comment ‘…gradual ‘abolition’ of 漢字 in Korea is calamitous.’ seems a bit dramatic. There are no Hanja when people speak, so they’ll survive when reading. And if you’re talking about heritage, it’s not like most English-speaking people can really understand Shakespeare, or anything else written in old English any more. We may be poorer for it in some ways, but I’m sure there are benefits.

    The parts of Korean that seem to complicate things most for me are –

    – The sounds changes arising through the interplay of syllable final and starting consonants. It can be hard to know if you’re hearing a word you know with a new ending or a completely new word.
    – The lack of foreigners that have *really* learned it. When I go to a bookshop, there’s a wall of Japanese and Chinese texts. There’s a handful of Korean texts, and almost all written by Koreans. I don’t think they really approach it in a way that helps westerners pick things up as quick as they should. And a lot of the explanations are terrible.

  26. I don’t know if somebody already said this but i hope so.

    but here goes:
    Actually 없어 is supposed to sound like uhb suh.

    you see the second syllable has a ㅇ
    The pronunciation rule is the last consanant on the syallbale before it gets slided in and replaces the ㅇ sound. so in this case the ㅅ replcaes the ㅇ in the second thing.
    The resaon it’s done like this is because it makes the prounciation easier. cause you know pronouncing 없, 어 is harder than 없어

    I tihnk this is sorta similar to french, when you slide sound over from previous thing…

  27. Oh yeah and the reason the korean particles have the 2 variations is becuase it makes it easier to pronounce.
    it just is, try it.

    so for some of the stuff there is a reason and logic behind. or maytbe all of it. think about it, it’s usually because it’s EASIER.

  28. Speaking from a Chinese’s point of view, where all the current discussed languages originated, I wouldn’t say it is any easier to learn Japanese and Korean even with all the 4000-5000 characters I know of. To me, that is very disappointing, though not discouraging.
    For Westerners who know not even a grain of Chinese History, the Chinese language we (notice I used the word ‘we’, lol) currently use today stands in stark contrast compared to Olden Written Chinese. In the olden days, when paper was not as abundant as it is now, the Chinese language was forced to be compressed so that it fits. Chinese-learners might find Chinese easy to learn due to its easy grammar, but, guess what; Olden Written Chinese have absolutely no grammar! The sequence is absolutely insane, the line of difference between each group of 实词 (i.e., nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, numbers, collective nouns.) is just too fine.
    **I apologise for the usage of Simplified Chinese.
    Compare this:
    This is in Olden Chinese: 或谓惠子曰:“庄子来,欲代子相。”
    This is in Modern Chinese: 有人告诉惠子说:“庄子这次到来是想要代替你当宰相。”
    FYI, this is picked from a story written by Zhuangzi. (doubt you know who)
    The character 或 is translated (yes, the difference between both versions of Chinese is so big that the word ‘translate’ is used) into ‘someone’, which initially means ‘or’. And that is just only one!
    Remember the nouns as verbs part? Nouns can act as verbs and vise versa. It is like English in a sense that nouns can also be considered as verbs. (For instance, ‘punch’, and ‘punches’) 树 meaning tree can also mean planting, and even worse, cultivating. (For instance, 十年树木,百年树人)It was the time when every individual character is a word and not just a morpheme. A thing, a character. And any meaning related to that ‘thing’ can be directly used through that word. That was the concept of the olden days.
    Samples: 峦 means mountain range
    椰 means coconut tree
    栖 means to stay or habitat
    And since every character has more than one meaning, (though they always overlaps between other characters. But hey, which language have no synonyms?) And Japanese took that concept and further elaborated but adding Hiraganas. (Dunno why, not to say it’s bad.) Modern Chinese? Worse. They shrink the roles of individual characters, thus needing two synonyms to form a complete meaning.
    Samples: 告诉 both of the characters mean ‘to tell’ in Olden Chinese.
    想要 both of the characters mean ‘to want’
    代替 both of them mean ‘to replace’
    The examples are reused from the sample sentence given above.
    Nonetheless, Japanese preserved the Olden way of writing when they invent new characters. One thing one meaning. Good slogan to use, nevertheless abandoned by the Chinese.
    Oops, I missed my main target of writing this comment. Well, never mind, I guess I am stopping here. Sorry for making you read like mad for things you probably already know.

  29. as i grew up speaking nepalese ,english and indian .before 1 and half year ago i came to japan i can speak and write japanese and learning korean and hand language i cant speak korean a lot but i am trying for it ,because from childhood i always wanted to learn it so it became my hobby . i think korean is easier than chinese and japanese .japanese kanji [hanji] is similar to chinese but in japanese there are kanji,hirakana and katakana japanese transted chinese many years ago because of not having their own writting even though they had their languse and after some years ago japanese made their own languase called hiragana it is used after the child is about 4 years it is compulsary for japanese people from their childhood to their life it is used only for their languase eg life いのち and the next is katakana it is only used in other country languase eg.for english ,korean ,france,spain etc eg sport スポッツand at last kanji eg school 学校 it is very intersting and diffcult too.

  30. I wanna congratulate you, very nice comparison!!…
    As for me, I was in this situation… I have been setudying korean for a year, and I have learned a lot… of course, the decition was pretty difficult, cuz I like japanese too… but I ended up with korean… I don’t know why, but I don’t regret at all!!…

    I have many korean friends, and one of them is studying Japanese… it’s very common for korean people to study japanese… and he told what you said here…. both are really similar in grammar and particles… ( now I have mastered s everal particles, and IT IS NOT EASY… I study them on my own) and although it’s not necessary to learn hanjas, I have learn a lot of them… just for fun.

    Well, about the pronounciation… dealing with new sounds it’s not difficult for me since I’m a university student of english ( yeah, I’m argentinian 😀 ) and I have studied all the phonetic and phonology system…besides, my korean friends help me…

    Maybe I can learn Japanese after mastering Korean….

    Well, if you are looking for a challenging language, don’t hesitate!!… Korean or Japanese!

  31. とても良い記事だと思います。

  32. Having studied both Korean and Japanese I say Korean hands down.
    The only problem one might have with Korean over Japanese is the pronunciation but honestly if you can’t pronounce Korean you probably sound terrible in Japanese too so that doesn’t count lol.

    But i can’t really speak to that because i think both languages are really easy to pronounce and can’t understand why ppl have such problems (i always get complimented on my pronunciation)

    I’ve wanted to learn Japanese forever and only started learning Korean to help me learn Japanese. Ha! Now I’m much much better in Korean than Japanese and so much more comfortable with my Korean that Japanese has fallen to the wayside.

    I’m gonna try and behave and start trying harder with Japanese though but honestly Korean grammar, conjugation, and everything is just way easier for me. Yes superficially say the grammar structure is the same but conjugation is umpteen times easier!

    there are less exceptions with Korean. like in Japanese when you have to remember that verbs that end in mu have to be conjugated to nde ending for commands

    like yomu to yonde kudasai
    and tsu/ru to ‘tte’ matte kudasai/ suwatte kudasai
    ku to ‘ite’ as in kiite
    unless its iku cause of course u should know that iku’s special
    and remember that iru/eru goes to ‘te’ as in tabete
    unless that iru/eru happens to actually be a godan verb in which case . . . blah blah blah

    i probably messed up a rule so please forgive me @_@

    so not the case in korean just conjugate it depending on whether its 아/오, 하다, or not. You know what i mean i’m just not going into details but yeah that’s just an example.

    Not to mention that I don’t have to deal with Kanji/Hanja. Love love love hangul you can like learn it in a day whereas I still get stuck on dumb katakana characters and kanji just makes my head spin sideways *sigh* (if anyone were to tell u they’d teach u kanji in a day you’d have to run screaming in the other direction lol)

    i’d say i’m at the depressed stage for japanese
    and closer to the lazy stage for Korean based on the stages you’ve described on ur blog Tae Kim

    anyway for anyone still reading to this point in this crazy post, don’t fall into the “oh, i’ll learn japanese after i start korean trap”
    cause Korean’s so easy it’ll just make u depressed that ur not as fluent in Japanese *sigh*

    Studied both languages on my own. Ended up working harder to get an A in my first level first quarter Japanese class than I had to work in my Korean class which was 1st level 3rd quarter since I was good enough to skip 2 quarters
    not to mention that I can understand most of my kdramas (say 80-90%) whereas i flounder like a fish on land with my jdramas and jpop. sad. sad. sad.

    sorry i think this turned into a long rant hahahaha
    main point: i love boooooooooth languages but Korean is easier no contest. probably one of the easiest foreign languages i’ve ever learned.

    if you’d like to learn Korean I used arirang’s “let’s speak korean” videos, you can find them on their site or search “let’s speak korean” in youtube
    those videos were SO helpful

    Have fun studying everyone!

  33. Haha~ The thing about conjugation~ The reason 마시+어 = 마셔 instead of 마시어 is the final vowel sound is “i” (Sounds like い) and it makes a diphthong added to the vowel~ the Y sounds in Korean are literally 이 plus what ever vowel. (except 이, there isn’t a Yi sound in standard Korean)
    And the particles change according to if it follows a vowel or consonant to make pronunciation easier.
    And with 4 lettered syllable blocks followed by a vowel sound, due to liaison, the last sound is pulled over to the next Syllable block ^^
    Hope that helps anyone~~

  34. Hallo

    I read your article, about the differences in both languages, Korean and Japanese.
    Your facts are in my opinion absolutely correct, despite one small fact, that the “ng” sound is very common in Japanese. I agree with you, that in the writing it won’t appear exactly as “ng” together, but even there it does exist. For example, ありがとう has the “ng” sound. It’s like a “aringatou” if you listen closer how a Japanese speaker might pronounce it. Plus, you can trust me, since I had a lecture in Japanese phonology at University level and my professor (Japanese, mother tongue Japanese) told us, that the ng sound exist, but due to the japanese script it’s hard to write with.

    And here is a link: http://www.italki.com/question/137881?answer-sorting=3
    Altough I agree with you, in regard with the website, that the “ng” sound is vanishing in modern Japanese.

    Kind regards

  35. Nice write up. As a North American non Asian native English born and raised speaker, I studied Japanese for two years in University, then also lived in Korea learning Korean later.

    By no means am I fluent in either of these languages, but having studied both of them the distinct thing I came away with was the following:

    For Japanese the pro is that it easier to pronounce, but once you get past the hirigana and katakana and have to learn the Kanji it’s really hard. So easier to speak, hard to read. I agree with you I NEVER understood why they didn’t start giving you kanji to learn right away either…

    For Korean the pro and con were that, it’s a real easy writing system and very easy to read and Chinese characters (Hanja) are not used often. Speaking though, and the pronunciation is MUCH harder, since you really have to get the distinctions correct, for example between yo, yoh, Yahw, etc… (sorry can’t type hangul on my keyboard but that’s about as best I can describe it, it’s not the only example). Also of the two systems Korea unlike Japan (as far as I can remember someone can correct me if I am wrong) has two numbering systems which gets confusing as heck when you have to figure out how to use them (I never understood when).

    I learned Korean later, so all my Japanese has really gone out the window. Now when I see Japanese stuff I try to pronounce it in Korean… I am screwed up now…

    • oh one other thing after reading some comments. My understanding is that Hanja is banned in North Korea so that’s why it’s never used.

    • Yeah Korean has two numbering systems, Sino-Korean and Native Korean, which are used in different contexts interchangeably.

      Sino-Korean Native Korean English
      일(ir) 하나(hana) One
      이(i) 둘(dur) Two
      삼(sam) 셋(set) Three
      사(sa) 넷(net) Four
      오(oh) 다섯(ta-sot) Five
      육(yuk) 여섯(yeo-sot) Six
      칠(chir) 일굽(ir-kop) Seven
      팔(par) 여덟(yeo-teorp) Eight
      구(ku) 아홉(ah-hop) Nine
      십(sip) 열(yeor) Ten

      What’s better, is they have different systems of post-10 numeration.

      Sino-Korean numbers is similar to Roman numerals in that you take the 10x number (십(sip), 백(paek, which is 100), 천(cheon, which is 1000), etc) and say the multiplier before that number to assign the magnitude of the number. So in order to say 300 in Sino-Korean you’d say 삼백, or literally three-one-hundred; or to say 5921 you’d say 오천(5000)구백(900)사십(20)일(1), or 오천구백이십일(oh-cheon ku-paek i-sip ir).

      The Native Korean number set, on the other hand, has a separate set of numbers for the 10-90 range like English does (20, 30, etc), replacing that (x)-십 that they use in Sino-Korean with the appropriate number. Thankfully they revert to the Sino system of (x)-100, (x)-1000, etc after that.

      And, as a final kick in the pants, the first four numbers of Native Korean actually get changed (lose the final consonant) when you use them before a noun.

      For example: The child is 3 years old. = 아이가 세살 입니다.
      (a-i ga se-sar im-nida)

      The numbers really intimidated me at first but when you realise it’s just a whole bunch of rote memorization it’s not such a big deal. I will never get used to that bizarre system, though (no offense to any Koreans here).

  36. I’m just learning the ropes in all-things-Japanese. As a Korean (despite the majority of my couch-potato days spent in the States), I realized that Japanese and Korean have the identical sentence structure, as described in the blog article, that made it super easy for me (well, kinda) to grapple with. Other than the post-traumatic ordeal of stuffing your already overcrowded head with more Kanjis, which is hands down the most difficult since I’ve never learned hanja in Korea, the Japanese grammar shared many similarities with its Korean counterpart that made the learning curve a bit easier. For example, the <> in これはケータイだ (이 것은 핸드폰이다) is the same as <> in Korean; the <> in 私が is also identical to <> as in 내가.

    Be that as it may, having left Korea as a kid, my Korean is not very good. So it’s no secret I have issues with Korean grammar. One of my major gripes is their ever-so-subtle ways of distinguishing which consonant goes with which word. Mind you their are many consonants that sound alike, depending on how their structured. Consider the following words: 낫다, 낮다, 낳다. While they all sound the same, they have different meanings. Sure, english has its own quirks like “hair” and “hare”. But, damn, there seems to be so many it makes my addlebrain spin like mad (no pun intended). Then there is the so-called 쌍받침. My interpretation of this convoluted system has been that the last consonant is carried over to the beginning of the next word (did I just hear somebody yell, “that’s called an ellision, ya moron!”?). So, basically, that last consonant is pronounced by attaching it to the next word. But, really? Take 값진 인생 for instance. The <> in 값 does not carry over into 진. You hear nothing. It’s silent. Well, you might argue that there are many dead letters in the West as well (eg. “h” in Spanish and French). But I beg to differ. The “h” in Spanish remains silent, period. In Korean, that demarcation is not entirely clear. Sometimes, the consonant is pronounced; other times, they are not. On that note, I should like to add that such inconsistency only needlessly breeds confusion.

  37. Personally, I learn/speak Chinese/English since young. I started Japanese after watching animes. Unlike most other learners, kanji is definitely a plus point for me because I already have Chinese foundation. I have generally learned Japanese (casually) for about 3-4 years, and I used the grammar guide here. I never really focused on kanji. The result is that I can read and write decently but I’m not good at speaking/listening. I am thinking of starting Korean but the part of seeing characters is scaring me. Unlike Japanese, the characters are itself like kanji, formed by combining different sub characters. Therefore, what proved to be the disadvantage (kanji) for others became an advantage. Having said that, I will try to learn the pronunciation for Korean, and also the recognition of the characters. The later stages should be easier since they have similar grammar structures.

  38. Hey your very skillful in all three language i really like Japanese, Korean and Chinese. Can you teach me? How much do you charge per hour? Send your address and calling card okay. I appreciate it. Thank you.

  39. As a linguist in my heart one can never truely say one is better or more correct. But a little secret i have heard is that korean as a written language is considered to be as close to perfect as can be compared. It has the flexibility of english in allowing for foriegn words as sounds without having to sacrifice korean finesse and style. It has the consistency and simplicity of modern swedish. It can be as classical as japanese with even more levels of class distinction and politeness. But even more of an achievement is the fact that were able to retain any language at all when you consider chinese domination, mongolian disruption, foriegn interference and sadly japanese extinction. As a lover of all east asian and southeast asian culture and influence. Japan would not be japan without korean language culture and mythology. But the Japanese certainly perfected as they do all things that are introduced into something both similar and unfamiliar. Many times i will even confuse the two until hear that korean ch sound that reminds you of their rough exterior and their tough inyerior.

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