Learning another language, other than someone’s mother tongue is a difficult thing. It would be even worse when someone is trying to master a foreign language, perhaps spoken by a few thousands or millions of people. But that should not be so hard when one decided to learn Korean or Japanese.
Some even find it very difficult to adjust when they find out that some basic things such as vowels are very hard to read or are too many. Nonetheless, people still learn difficult complex languages.
To many people, it is hard to decide which of the two languages to study, if they had to make a choice. It is understandable why it is a difficult thing to decide.
In fact, both languages appear to be similar in many ways. It is even possible that a person who has never been taught how to speak on either language understand when the language is spoken. Well, many people who do not know how to speak Japanese can still comprehend a few basic words if they visit Tokyo.
It would be the case if a Japanese visited Seoul or any other Korean city for that matter. They would not be completely blunt thanks to the similarity between the two languages.
However, there is a lot more than one can learn from these two languages. Although they seem similar, they have great differences. One of the major differences that separate the two is the writing style or the system of writing of each language.
The other main difference between Japanese and Korean languages is that they have different sounds. With only these two main differences, it is not easy to exactly tell which of the two languages is easy to learn.
While it is not ultimately impossible to learn Korean, something makes it a very hard language to learn especially when compared to Japanese. The point here is, most sounds in the Korean language, with the exception of one, ‘z’ sound, are very hard to master. Besides, they are many of these hard-to-master sounds.
In a way, for one to know exactly what a person speaks in Korean, that person has to repeatedly speak out the word or phrase. At times, this may be repeated 5 to 6 times or even longer.
Is this the same with the Japanese language? When it comes to sound, Japanese is fair. In fact, it is not a big problem. A person speaking a word or a phrase in Japanese for the first time can be understood in their first utterance. Yes, that can be case even if the person used a worst accent.
Having said about sound, perhaps there is something worth knowing about the Japanese language. It appears that in order for one to speak like a native, the person must make good use of ‘pitches’. Yes, Japanese use a special tone or intonation when speaking or reading different letters, words, or even phrases. Nonetheless, this is not a big problem. The way one can tone up or tone down a letter, word, or phrase can greatly differ from the other yet they understand each other.
The second main difference between the Japanese and Korean languages is how to write them. Each of these two languages has a different writing system.
As already said in the above section, speaking Korean is rather hard considering the many different sounds. Nonetheless, one has to master these different sounds if they want to excel in reading Korean.
When it comes to writing Korean, there is hangul, a writing style, perhaps, an ingenious way designed by the natives. Whether knowingly or unknowingly this writing system is the only way to master the different complex sounds.
On the other hand, Japanese is not easy either. Although it is not as complex as Korean, one has also to put some effort. If a learner is not good in memorizing some funny characters, it would be a problem.
The Japanese language has about 92 characters. However, if one is able to memorize 46, a half of the total number of characters, they are good to go. These forty-six characters represent the same number of sounds. But, out of the whole 92 characters, there would be 102 different sounds thus one can be said to have a firm grip of the Japanese language.
The Korean hangul, highlighted earlier allows individuals to learn vowels and consonants separately. It is after separately learning each sect of letters that one can start to learn how to combine them to form a word or phrases of words. Although this is almost what happens on every language, those who have learnt Korean say it is not as easy as a, b, c.
Looking at the number of vowels and consonants then try to merge them to make a word would be difficult for many learners. What makes it even difficult are the possible combinations each set of vowels and consonants may produce.
Additionally, like the English language, hangul writing system allows one to use a letter or a few letters to create as many different sounds as possible. But, this is not the case with the Japanese language that limits one to the use of 1 letter for one specific sound.
From the previous parts, it might seem that it is easy to learn Korean compared to learning Japanese. But is that really the case? Before one hits a conclusion, it is import ant to learn about something else.
The Japanese language has 5 vowels. This is not a bad thing! However, considering that one has only to use one letter for one sound makes it extremely difficult for learners. This means that many words, yes, thousands of words end up having the same exact sound. Conventionally, when two or more words have the same pronunciation, it becomes inevitably difficult for a learner or a listener to know what the speaker is talking about.
It means, a better understanding of the Japanese language only comes when writing the language. It is true that even speaking one can learn from the context, but that is only meant for quick and perhaps, learners who have attained a certain level of comprehension.
At the end of the day, if one asks a learner whether to learn Korean or Japanese, most would choose Korean. This is because although there are many sounds, the hangul has made it easier to write and read the Korean language. On the other hand, the stringent 1 letter for one sound makes Japanese a hard-to-learn foreign language.