The willingness to learn foreign languages at the same time is very challenging; it requires a lot of focus and dedication.
But, the question is- Can you learn Japanese and Korean at the same time?
Of course, you can learn Japanese and Korean at the same time. However, it is suggested to learn them separately. Study one first, and it will make the other easier. Learning two languages at once definitely can be double as hard as learning one language.
Bear in mind that these languages are different from each other they may have language similarities, but they have language differences too. Having a firm base in one of these languages makes learning process the other language absolutely easy.
Learning Japanese and Korean at once is harder. The fact is, don’t ever study languages at the same time with the commonality of morphology or even shared more similarities, except your life is relying on it. It brings confusion and slow progression in your learning development.
If you’re in a hurry, these languages may not be perfect to go. But, if you have the perspective to extend your view give yourself a great shot of patience. With a powerful dose of patience and a follow up more dose of focus that way, you’ll be prepared in the process when the moment seems so slow.
Japanese and Korean languages are both influenced by Chinese language. From the 4th century, the Korean language was fully engrossed in Chinese script, known as hanja. Although the Korean language itself is distinct from Chinese, it is written with corresponding characters from Chinese.
On the other hand, the Japanese were influenced by Chinese as well. Their Vocabulary words and characters were borrowed from the Chinese Vocabulary too. Though they have something in common, still these two languages have language differences that set them apart from each other.
What’s the difference between Korean and Japanese?
Japanese and Korean have differences in grammar composition. Korean has diverse future tenses while Japanese more frequently depends on context instead pointing the future nature of a sentence.
Japanese uses passive grammar more often than Korean, and has four similar verb conjugations, while Korean has only one verb conjugation.
Japanese has 4 Similar Verb conjugations to express (if)
Korean has 1 Verb conjugation
Native Korean Sino Korean
Korea has two sets of the number system, namely the Native Korean and the Sino Korean; each system has its purpose. Sino Korean (from the Chinese characters) is used for expression, including dates, money, minutes, hours and seconds, etc.
The difference between the two numeral systems is very essential. Everything that can be counted will utilize only one of the two systems, but rarely both.
The Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3) or in Chinese numerals (一, 二, 三) are two ways of writing Japanese Numerals. Arabic numerals are usually used in horizontal writing, and the Chinese numerals are in vertical writing.
Do you spot the difference between these two languages? Now, you’ll know why Japanese and Korean languages aren’t suggested to be learned at once.
These two languages used a mix of native scripts and Chinese characters.
Korean mainly written in syllabic blocks known as the Hangul alphabet with the alphabetic letters arranged in two dimensions while Japanese is written with a combination of kanji (borrowed Chinese characters adapted for Japanese) and Kana (syllabic Japanese scripts), each Kana represents one sound in the Japanese language. Korean has spaces between words just like English, Japanese has none.
Korean also used traditional hanja (Chinese Characters adapted for Korean) and usually used in South Korea, but only for historical study, legal documents, newspapers, TV subtitles and so forth.
See the difference:
Obviously Japanese and Korean languages have different pronunciation, Japanese has a pitch accent (low and high) that doesn’t commonly affect the meaning of the words and its syllables stress is similar to the English word.
Korean and Japanese have differences in both vowels. Japanese has 5 vowels (a, i, e, o, u) like English vowels which sound different to each other while Koreans has tons of vowels at least 18 involving diphthongs and sound almost the same.
What are the Similarities of Japanese and Korean Languages?
Japanese and Korean languages have almost the same in typological aspects of their syntax, morphology, etc. take a look at their language similarities;
The Japanese and Chinese languages have formerly had been thought to not share any cognates (except borrowing words), for their vocabularies do not phonetically to be similar to each other. However, a recent document in 2016 proposing a similar lineage between Korean and Japanese characters marks 500 core words. The majority resembling lexicon in the research has been seen between Middle Korean age in the 15th century and ancient Japanese in the 8th century, a few example shown below;
Syntax / Sentence Structure
These two languages, both possess similar in the sentence structure subject comes first, the object is in between and a verb at the end (subject + object + verb) with particles connecting the words in a sentence.
Japanese and Modern Korean have the same system of demonstrative pronouns.
Korean and Japanese languages shared the same demonstrative pronouns (takes the place of a noun.)
They both share the particle system.
Korean and Japanese languages are one of the few existing languages in the world with topic markers. This enables words of different parts of speech to be positioned in exactly similar order if some sentences are translated from one language to another.
Japanese and Korean have lexical similarities because of the influence of the Chinese language. Chinese characters 漢字 kanji and 한자 hanja are adopted and equally words shared are pronounced the same.
They have the same System of honorifics.
Japanese and Korean have in common on their honorifics. They used honorifics (a title, phrase, or grammatical form) for bearing respect, especially when addressing a social superior.
The characters emphasize the significance of honorifics, the honorific suffixes, and honorific verbs.
One of the major common honorific suffixes is the -さん(-san) / -님(-nim) affix to the name address.
Japanese and Korean countries are close to each other geographically, and cultures are also similar. Knowing the culture of each country of your chosen language is part of the learning and it’s imperative.
One of the most noticeable similarity is the bowing culture; drinking culture, work ethic, and so forth.
Which is Easier to Learn Japanese or Korean Language?
It depends on every aspect of each language. Have a look at the comparison below:
In terms of writing; Japanese has Katakana (46), Hiragana (46) and Kanji /Chinese characters/ 2000+ while Korean has Hangul 19 basic consonants and 21 basic vowels.
Korean script was created to be more precise and clear because of King Sejong. He aimed to create Hangul and replaced Hanja. Obviously, Korean writing is easier to learn than Japanese.
Since Japanese and Korean share similar grammar structure which is Subject+ Object +Verb, they also use both particles which are connected to nouns to distinguish the Topic, Subject, Object, Place, etc.
Both their grammar structure is so similar that the only difficult aspect is Vocabulary building.
Speaking and Pronunciation
English speakers tend to have an easy learning in Japanese speaking and pronouncing words as it has only 5 vowels. Korean has 21 vowels which has a lot of repeating sound and very confusing for a beginner. Japanese wins for this round.
Therefore, Japanese is quite easy to grasp in the aspect of speaking and pronunciation while the Korean writing system is easier to learn than Japanese writing system. Both Japanese and Korean languages have similarities in terms of grammar, but there’s a difficulty of studying in their Vocabulary building.
This analysis proves that Korean and Japanese languages are not recommendable to learn at the same time. If you want a better outcome and efficient results on your learning do one at a time.
On the other side, learning two languages with a lot of similarities seems good to learn both at once. Basically, if two languages have a lot of commonality in every aspect, a lot of people think that it’s a good idea to take both lessons at once.
However, language tutors don’t really advise learners to take this action. If it’s happening you need powerful tips to be successful in this field.
Powerful Tips for Learning Japanese and Korean at the same Time
Pick languages that are different
When taking two languages concurrently, choose languages that are different from grammar, sentence structure and writing system to avoid confusion. This may lead you to a better understanding of each language.
Make a plan
Learning two languages at once needs time management. Set your mind to manage each language by determining which language is harder that needs time. If you think the Korean or Japanese language is tough, then invest more time into it. Do some planning ahead of time.
Select what’s your priority language
You can shoot for two languages at the same time, but know your priority language before the other to set focus and time. In the event that your preferred language is Japanese set it as your priority. Spend more hours of time learning that language as it’s your priority next to the other.
Analyze each language “Identity”
A great way of setting aside confusion is to find each language identity. Once you know its parallelism and distinctiveness help you easy to distinguish the uniqueness of the two languages which is good for learning development.
Study the same topic at the same time
Since you’re learning two languages at the same time, then take the opportunity to spot the similar topic or their differences given in both languages. In that way you can find contrast for both languages which is the best strategy in learning.
You’ll be the one to judge how you’re learning process is going. Be flexible, find means and ways how you will modify your purpose. Be alert to set your mind and be more comprehensive to every detail.
Maybe the most exciting part of learning two languages at the same time is being on the most advanced stage of language learning. People indulge in learning languages at the same time because they want to do short cut and speed up the process of learning. But the truth is, this is not the best way. All things that have done quickly has no quality only quantity. It means success is not done in a day or in an hour but, it has been a long time process “one step at a time” that needs patience, endurance, dedication and focus.
What’s the best way to learn Korean?
The best way to learn Korean is to start by studying Hangul (the alphabet and writing system) this is the easiest aspect of learning Korean.
Though Romanization (Korean language in the Latin script) is part of the language bear in mind not to touch this lesson. It will bring you into confusion. It’s a long process and there is no shortcut.
Learning Hangul is the best way to learn first and if you really want to come up to a fluent level in the language.
Next to start is the grammar. Now, grammar and speaking come together, you need one lesson first before the other as this is where the hard part begins.
Another way to advance your learning try downloading and printing different types of worksheets to aid you, enhance your Korean reading and writing. Watching YouTube videos in Korean helps as it will improve your reading comprehension and listening skills too. Don’t rely on Kpop (Korean pop songs) so much they use slang-Korean which is not really applicable in actual real-life communication.
How to Become Fluent in Speaking Japanese?
Becoming fluent in Japanese can be relied on three components:
First, you gather the essential knowledge of the languages you choose. Make research, watch tutorial videos or invest a personal tutor for you.
Second, apply and practice your knowledge by creating simple sentences on your own or speak with native speakers and allow them to listen and correct you.
Third, expose yourself to another race, experience interactions and actual communication with the native speakers. Don’t hesitate to make friends or do the chatting as it improves your knowledge of speaking fluently like a native speaker.
These are all important factors in learning the Japanese language. Follow this advice and it really helps you succeed in your endeavor.
Which is more beneficial to learn Japanese or Korean?
There is nothing to argue except for personal reasons. Nevertheless, you are aware of the purpose, maybe you are going to do this for business or for work. Perhaps you wanted to learn these languages for travel, leisure, or for migration purposes.
The core is that the majority of these countries are dealing with international business. Maybe you want to impress any of your Asian counterparts that you can deliver their language, or you wanted them to be comfortable talking with you for serious business transactions. If you are a Korean native and you wanted to learn English the capability to deal with business in the English language can be impressive for many companies. Somehow it provides them a good business standing in anywhere in the world.
So if you opt to learn some casual Japanese or Korean to talk with your friends, Japanese language is better to choose over Korean since it utilizes the Chinese characters. You’ll be learning the Korean language as they are in common uses of these Chinese borrowed characters in traditional script, however nowadays, everything is in Hangul.
Most of all, learning Japanese and Korean languages at the same time is not applicable. You may have greater reasons in learning these two languages, but try to analyze, and learn to figure out the results if you want to take the lessons at once.
Learning a language is a skill that can be developed and nothing makes you a proficient language learner than tackling two languages one at a time. If learning language at the same time advances your perspective, makes you more flexible thinker and smarter then start now.
If learning these languages at the same time benefits you more in your business, careers, and others then, go for it. Ask yourself if you’re capable of doing multitasking? Can you manage your time properly? Do you have the patience?
If not, then learn one at a time.
Don’t be hurry if you’re not in a hurry. Learn in the comfort of your time and do what is right for you.
This post provides you the awareness and the discernment of contemplating things that apply to you and equipped you into a more cohesive, proficient and well-rounded individual. Guide you to not bewilder on your decisions on learning these two languages.